There seem to be supplements for everything now, and these supplements now come in every size and shape! Whether it’s a tablet, capsule, softgel, liquid, powder, or chewable, it can be confusing trying to decipher which supplement is right for you. Each of these supplement types is designed for special purposes, whether it’s absorption, economic, or effects. In this article I’ll discuss these different forms of supplements as well as when and why you should take, say, a capsule over a powder. There are certain benefits and disadvantages to each of these medicinal vehicles, and this article will serve as an introductory guide to them.
Why Are There So Many Different Kinds?
It used to be that people would only take tablets or capsules. Now that the supplement industry has really grown, the availability of different forms also grew. Now you can get lozenges, softgels, caplets, and powders. Figuring out just what the pros and cons of each of these can sometimes be confusing. A lot of it has to do with cost, quality, and absorption rates. For instance, higher quality supplements put a lot of effort into making their capsules or tablets easily absorbed.
- Tablets –Tablets are probably the most common supplement form. This is because tablets are the cheapest to manufacturer. Of all the forms, manufacturers can pack the most nutrients into a tablet. They also remain potent for longer than capsules or powders. Tablet sizes vary based on its use. Some people find the larger tablets difficult to swallow so they prefer other methods.
- Capsules – Capsules are two-piece vehicles that are also used widely in supplements. One of their advantages is that they are easy to break down in the stomach. The other benefit of capsules is that you can take them apart and mix the contents with food or beverages. The downside to capsules is definitely cost. On average, capsules are considerably more expensive than tablets. Capsules do not last as long as tablets either because they are not airtight.
- Powders – From a dollar-per-nutrient standpoint, powders are very cost effective. While they are usually less expensive on the whole, they are less convenient to use. This is because they are usually mixed with other liquids or foods. The added ingredients also increase the cost somewhat, depending on what you’re mixing it with. Most people take protein and creatine supplements via powder. This is most practical method because these are gram-based quantities. You would have to take something like ten capsules to match a 5-gram serving of a creatine mix with water. This delivery method makes the most sense for these types of supplements.
- Protein Shake or Energy Bar? Protein shakes are the best choice for weightlifters trying to boost amino acids, which help increase muscle mass and improve recovery times. These are pretty hefty shakes, however, so it’s vital that you combine shakes with a healthy diet and exercise. Protein bars are designed more for people trying to lose weight. These people want to expend more calories but intake the same amount of protein. This is a more satisfying food to consume than a protein shake, too, so it helps with appetite control. They are also a lot more convenient to take on the go than shakes, but it’s all about what your body needs. Make sure to read nutrition information on everything to make sure you’re making the best choice for your own needs!