Tablets, gummies or sprays… what's best?

Capsules are easier to swallow than tablets
Capsules are easier to swallow than tablets

TABLETS: They have a longer shelf life than liquids or gummies but they’re not always suitable for delivering large doses, which might make them physically too big to easily swallow. However, tablets can be broken in half if a smaller dose is required.

CAPSULES: These usually have a gelatine case, which breaks down as it passes through the gut so their contents are absorbed more swiftly. They are easier to swallow than tablets – or the case can be opened and the contents scattered over food.

SPRAYS: This method ensures the nutrient is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream via the tissues and are a more convenient option for children and the elderly who find swallowing tablets difficult.

Mouth sprays also avoid potential absorption problems if you have gut issues such as IBS, Crohn’s and coeliac disease. However, they’re often a premium price for an inexpensive product.

GUMMIES: These look and taste like a sweet. ‘Gummies might be great for children who can’t swallow a tablet but they’re not great for adults. You might as well buy a packet of wine gums and a low-cost supplement,’ says pharmacist Aidan Goggins.

EFFERVESCENT TABLETS: Fizzy tablet versions of multivitamins and vitamin C are a popular alternative and claim to be easier on the stomach and rapidly absorbed (since the compound is already dissolved when you drink it). For magnesium oxide this is particularly true, says Aidan Goggins. It means you get more active ingredient in a lower dose and fewer risks of side-effects such as diarrhoea.