If you avoid taking vitamins because you have a hard time swallowing pills, you’re not alone. Many of my patients complain about this issue, and though they want to take a multi or other supplement, they hesitate because of the anxiety they experience when trying to swallow tablets or capsules. Most people with this issue have a have a sensitive gag reflex, or they’ve had a bad past experience where a pill became stuck in their throat. The good news is, there are some tricks you can try to make swallowing a little easier.
Blend and mix. Add vitamins and minerals to the blender when you’re making a smoothie or shake—and you can drink your supplements. Most vitamins and minerals don’t have a bad taste when combined with a banana, protein powder and water or milk and mixed well, especially when you use a powerful blender. Another option is to take vitamin/mineral powders rather than pills. Just add these already prepared blends to any beverage. Two of my favorite formulas include Vitacost Earth Blends Whole Foods Shake with vitamins, minerals and protein, and All One Nutritech Multiple Vitamin Mineral Powder.
Note that some herbs like goldenseal and reishi don’t blend well in smoothies or shakes because of their bitter taste. You’ll want to experiment with adding herbal products to drinks. If you can’t make the taste work, try one of the following tips instead.
2. Take large pills with a thick drink. Larger-sized pills may go down easier with a thick drink like a smoothie, shake or papaya juice. The thickness of the drink can help ease a sensitive gag reflex. Many people who could formerly never swallow pills find that this is a superb way to get supplements down the hatch with minimal tension.
3. Let capsules float, then swallow. If all you have on hand is a watery liquid, not a thick shake, try this tip for getting down capsules. Because capsules float, it ‘ best to put them in your mouth and then take a big gulp of water (don’t swallow yet!). Tip your chin down (not up, like you might normally do) so that the capsule floats to the back of your mouth. Then hen swallow the pill with the gulp of water.
4. Place tablets toward the back of your throat. Again, if all you have is a watery liquid to get down pills, try the following solution. Because tablets are typically heavier than water and don’t float, put the tablet in the back of your mouth and take a big gulp of water, then tip your chin up to wash it down.
5. Take tricky-to-swallow supplements with a bite of banana. Another great way to get down pills is to take a bite of a banana and chew it so that you have a mash in your mouth. Next put the pill in your mouth, in the middle of the banana mash, then take a big gulp of water and swallow down the pill.This is a very effective way to bypass a sensitive gag reflex.
Do you have other tried-and-true methods for taking pills? Share them with us in the comments below!