The technology of capsule and tablet manufacturing has grown and evolved; considerably more goes into making a good multivitamin capsule or tablet than simply compressing ingredients in a machine.

For example, name-brand and all reputable supplement manufacturers test and re-test their products for acceptable dissolution times and thoroughness under stomach-like conditions.

Then there’s the old wives’ tale about the worthlessness of vitamins because “they just make expensive urine” or “you just pee them out” or other variations on the theme.

It’s not hard to see where this one came from. Anytime you take a multivitamin or a B complex, you’re going to get some vitamin B2 (riboflavin) in the multivitamin. B2 markedly changes the color of urine, usually making it much yellower.

Thus, when someone visits the bathroom an hour or so after taking their supplement, it’s easy to see why they might conclude that their vitamins have been wasted and have not been absorbed.

But neither is the case. Vitamins from supplements are absorbed the same way as vitamins from food; they have the same fate. No vitamin, whether from food or supplements, can go directly from the stomach to the bladder.

The only way vitamins can change the appearance of urine is if they have been filtered from the bloodstream by the kidneys, and the only way that can occur is if the supplement has been absorbed from the digestive tract, and the only way that can occur is if the supplement breaks down easily.

So, contrary to the myth, when you see color changes in your urine associated with your supplement, it’s not evidence of it being wasted, it’s confirmation that it’s been broken down, absorbed and made available to body tissues.

One final point about absorption; faster isn’t necessarily better. Many people spend the extra money for liquid supplements based on a belief that they will absorb faster than capsules or tablets.They might, but the time difference between complete absorption of liquids versus other forms, 20-30 minutes, does not amount to a noticeable advantage or a nutritional advantage with most supplements.

In fact, where higher potencies are concerned, slower absorption may be preferable to fast, sudden absorption. This is because there are limits to how fast and how much of a given nutrient can be absorbed per unit of time. When you overwhelm these absorption pathways, you do waste nutrients.


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