One of the things I’m passionate about is food. I really love good food, and dining. Having been a martial arts instructor for 15 years, I am also very interested in nutrition and human performance.

Ideally, people would get all the nutrients we need for our bodies to perform their best from the foods we eat. When properly fueled, the body can prevent disease and quickly heal injuries. It is an amazing machine, that with proper care and maintenance, can give us decades of active enjoyment.

Unfortunately, our diets are woefully lacking the vitamins and minerals we need to maintain optimal health. Even if with a very healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, the soil that these foods have been grown in has been nutritionally deficient for years, if not decades. Years of irresponsible farming practices, including the generous use of toxic chemicals, have stripped the soil of it’s richness. So nutritional supplementation is highly recommended.

That being said, there have been many reports from sewage treatment plants that show systems clogged by undigested pills. There are also reports from nurses who reportedly call these undigested pills “bedpan bullets”. Interestingly, I wasn’t able to find any images of these undigested pills in a sewage treatment setting, even though I recall watching a news piece on it years ago in my parent’s living room. I was able to find some images of vitamins undigested in the colon.

UndigestedVitamins

There are many reasons why a supplement wouldn’t digest in your system. In an effort to help you make a more informed choice, here are a few things to look for when choosing a supplement.

  1. First, most vitamin supplements are made from synthetic ingredients. They are cheaper to make and nearly impossible to digest. Our bodies are designed to extract nutrients from the (plant based) foods we eat. Choose a whole food based supplement instead.
  2. Choose one that will dissolve easily. Generally avoid tablets and choose capsules, powders or liquids. Tablets are made by putting the ingredients under high temperatures and pressure, which nullify their potency and increases the chances that the nutrients will be trapped inside.
    1. You can easily test your vitamin supplements by leaving them in warm water or cider vinegar for 30 minutes. If it hasn’t dissolved (and isn’t a time release version) it won’t dissolve in your stomach either and is just a waste of money.
  3. Check expiration dates. Usually, I am not a big fan of expiration dates, but that’s another story. Vitamin and mineral supplements do lose their potency after time. They don’t go “bad” or make you sick, but you won’t be getting the dosages you think you are taking.

That being said, do the best you can. Organic, whole food nutritional supplements can be expensive, so can eating healthy. Eat whole and minimally processed food whenever you can. Work within your budget. Balance healthier diet choices with the supplements that work for you.

If you have something to add, or want to ask me a question, please do it in the comments below!