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Natural Foods Merchandiser
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Secret Shopper: Are liquid vitamins more efficient than pills?

The Natural Foods Merchandiser secret shopper stopped by a natural products store in the Southeast to learn about liquid vitamins. See the retailer’s response and learn more about these products.

NFM Secret Shopper: I’ve heard that liquid vitamins are more bioavailable than pills. Is this true, and should I be looking only for a liquid multi?

Store: Yes, that is true. Your body will absorb the vitamins and minerals faster because they are in liquid form. We don’t have any in stock right now, but you could try a whole-food multivitamin instead. They are also more bioavailable.    

NFM: Really? Why is that?

Store: Because they come from whole fruits and vegetables instead of being synthetic, so your body knows what to do with them.  

How did this retailer do?

Holly Lucille, N.D., R.D.N., owner of The Body Well in West Hollywood, CaliforniaOur expert educator: Holly Lucille, N.D., R.D.N., owner of The Body Well in West Hollywood, California

Bottom line, the retailer is wrong about liquid vitamins being more bioavailable than solid vitamins. They are not. Better bioavailability has been a good marketing pitch for liquid vitamins, but there is no research out there to substantiate it.

Honestly, the body reduces everything, except fiber, down to liquid before converting it to stool. So, if you ingest a properly disintegrating tablet or capsule, the vitamins will become suspended in liquid for absorption into the small intestines.

The only caveat is it is important to buy vitamins from companies that do disintegration and dissolution testing on every product. A quality manufacturer will do this, and retailers and consumers can always call companies directly to ask about these tests. 

The retailer’s second statement—that vitamins from whole foods are more bioavailable because the body “knows what to do with them”—is also incorrect.

Do you know how much crap Americans eat that are not whole foods and yet our bodies know exactly what to do with them? Our bodies have incredible digestive power to handle the many different things we consume. Whole-food vitamins are not necessarily any better than other types in terms of absorption.

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