Discover the Origin of Vitamins Supplements
Where Vitamins Come From
Most vitamins are extracted from basic natural sources.
Because vitamins are natural substances found in foods, the supplements you take be they capsules, tablets, powders, or liquids—also come from food. Though many of the vitamins can be synthesized, most are extracted from basic natural sources.
For example: Vitamin A usually comes from fish liver oil. Vitamin B complex comes from yeast or liver. Vitamin C is best when derived from rose hip, the berries found on the fruit of the rose after the petals have fallen off. Vitamin E is generally extracted from soybeans, wheat germ, or corn.
Why Vitamins Come in Different Forms
Everyone’s needs are different, and for this reason manufacturers have provided many vitamins in a variety of forms.
Vitamins come in different forms because people do.
Tablets are the most common and convenient form. They’re easier to store, carry, and have a longer shelf life than powders or liquids—and they cannot be adulterated.
Caplets are capsule-shaped tablets. These can be enteric coated so that they dissolve in the intestine, not in the stomach (which is acid).
Capsules, like tablets, are convenient and easy to store, and are the usual supplement for oil-soluble vitamins such as A, D, and E. They contain fewer excipients than tablets.
Gelatin capsules are made with gelatin, an animal product. They should be stored away from light in a cool, dry area to prevent against oxidation.
Vegetable capsules are free of any animal products, starches, sugars, and other allergens. They’re made from cellulose and plant fiber from trees, which is resistant to fungal and bacterial problems. They can withstand storage in a high-temperature environment without melting or sticking together. They’re not affected by cold, dry climates that may cause gelatin caps to become brittle. Unfortunately, they can react with the ingredients in them and are therefore not used as much as gelatin capsules. They are also more expensive.
Soft gels (or gel-caps) are soft gelatin capsules that many people find easier to swallow than regular capsules. Like tablets and capsules, soft gels must be processed through the digestive system, so they’re slower acting than their liquid and powder counterparts.
Powders have the advantages of extra potency (1 tsp. of many vitamin C powders can give you as much as 4,000 mg.) and the added benefit of no fillers, binders, or additives for anyone with allergies.
Liquids are available for easy mixing with beverages and for people unable to swallow capsules or tablets.
Intra-oral sprays deliver low-dose concentrations of nutrients directly into the mouth, under the tongue. They are absorbed into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes and bypass the gastrointestinal tract, generally within fifteen minutes.
Sublingual are tablets that dissolve under the tongue. (For vitamin B12, this is my recommended form of supplement because it is better absorbed by the body.)
Patches and implants supply continuous, measured amounts of nutrients, though at this writing they are available only for a limited number of nutritional supplements and are considered drug-delivery systems in the United States.