What You Need to Know about Sublingual Vitamins
These clean efficient vitamins offer many nutritional benefits.
Posted Oct 08, 2018 | Reviewed by Abigail Fagan
Vitamins are designed to keep our bodies healthy, but sometimes they don’t do their job as well as they should.
When we take them orally in tablet or capsule form, the digestive system has to work hard to digest them. Oftentimes, the stomach breaks vitamins down before they can make it to the liver for filtration and then enter the bloodstream.
But there are some newer formulations of vitamins that are digested differently, and perhaps more efficiently, than the traditional tablet or capsule. Sublingual vitamins, which are meant to be taken by dissolving the tab under your tongue, are growing in popularity. They work because the nutrient is absorbed under the tongue and enters the bloodstream directly without having to go through the gastrointestinal tract.
Sublingual vitamins have many other benefits. Since they are absorbed through the tongue, they are quickly released into the body and their nutrients aren’t broken down by stomach acid. As a result, sublingual vitamins can be taken in smaller dosages, and they’re easier and more convenient to take than oral vitamins (some of which require having to take large pills, or multiple pills, to get a complete dose).
Did you know that when you take an oral vitamin, less than 10 percent of the nutrient is usually absorbed into the bloodstream? Seems like a waste, eh? The reason this happens is that the stomach breaks it down very quickly. In an attempt to solve this problem, vitamin makers add stronger casings and shellacs to protect the pills from stomach acids. And while these shiny, waxy coatings allow the pills to be broken down more slowly, it does make it harder for the body to dissolve it.
Further, tablets have added sweeteners to make them more palatable, but this can also block the vitamins from being absorbed into the bloodstream, making it difficult for the body to absorb the nutrients it needs.
Some oral vitamins are designed to break down more slowly for maximum absorption. When phthalates are added to vitamins, the label may contain claims like “enteric coated,” “time release,” “film coated” or “safety coated.” So, if you are keen on having the purest vitamins possible, be sure to watch out for these phrases on product labels.
The manufacturing process for oral vitamins is also an issue. Magnesium stearate, a chalk-like substance that is technically a soap, is often added to vitamins to prevent them from sticking together. This allows the machinery to run smoother and faster, which leads to cost savings for vitamin manufacturers. But as a result, we are absorbing this in our vitamins when we use them. Although it is stated to be low in toxicity, many people want to use the purest vitamins that they can, without these types of additives.
Since sublingual vitamins directly enter the bloodstream, it’s especially important for them to be free of dangerous additives. As a result, you will find sublinguals to be free of the additives that you would traditionally find in a tablet or pill. Instead, they are the purest form of the vitamin that you are trying to supplement.
Is there a downside? The only downside that I see is the taste. Because they don't have added sugars or ingredients to make them taste better and mask the taste of the vitamins they contain, you may find that some have a bit of a sour taste to them. But to me, it is worth it to know that you are consuming something that lacks the additives and fillers that our bodies don't need.