The Top 5 Benefits of Sublingual Vitamins vs. the Pill Form

Ongoing medical science and research continually open our eyes to so many opportunities for improving our health, maximizing our quality of life and even adding years to it through proper nutrition. Unfortunately for many of us, keeping pace with the evolving science about what’s best for our health can be extremely overwhelming as we are constantly faced with new information and decisions regarding what is best for our individual bodies. Each person has different nutritional needs based on genetics, body analysis, eating habits and exercise patterns (or lack thereof). Some of us suffer from vitamin or mineral deficiencies as well, which can negatively affect their health.

I remember back as a kid when my daily vitamin regiment consisted of a chewable multi and maybe a vitamin C pill when inflicted with a flu or cold. Today I see people roaming the lengthy aisle of vitamins, supplements, minerals and herbs, not only contemplating the abundant options to add to their daily intake, but also the dosage and which of the extensive number of brands to choose from. But wait! What about which form of vitamin to take: pill…or sublingual?

Newer to the vitamin world, sublingual supplements, in either liquid or tablet form, are made to be consumed by placing them under your tongue for absorption through the mucosal membrane that lines your mouth. In my years as a pharmacist, I’ve learned two important truths—people cant’s stand taking pills and they often don’t realize there may be a simple alternative available. With that in mind, here are five reasons why you should be taking a serious look ant replacing your pill form vitamins, medications and supplements with the sublingual form:

Better absorbency – We now know that there are different factors that affect vitamin and mineral absorbency. Some minerals are best absorbed when accompanied by other vitamins such as calcium aided by vitamins A and D. Some supplements are best absorbed when taken with food. But sublingual vitamins are altogether more effective than those that come in pill form due to a superior absorption rate into the body in terms of both speed and efficacy. The Mayo Clinic reports that an inability to absorb vitamin B12 from the intestinal tract can cause a type of anemia called pernicious anemia.


Faster results – The effects of sublingual vitamins are felt more quickly and more completely due to the liquid being absorbed immediately into the bloodstream through the mucus in the mouth rather than having to be processed through digestion first. In fact, due to a decreased absorption rate, the critical vitamins contained in pill-form supplements are often flushed out of the body through urine.

More desirable consumption – Sublingual supplements offer a pleasant alternative to pill-form vitamins both in terms of taste and ease of consumption. The most common question I have been asked as a pharmacist has been related to the size of the pills the patients are taking—not their side effects, instructions for when or how to take them, the length of time they are to take the pills, or anything else that might be deemed more medically relevant.

Save time and money – Many who simply cannot swallow or digest pill-form vitamins properly turn to intramuscular shots, such as B-12 injections, at a clinic. This can be time-consuming and costly. Sublingual vitamins come with a significant time and money savings in comparison. Furthermore, many brands of pill supplements can be extremely expensive with sublingual versions offering a more affordable alternative.

Pure ingredients – Sublingual vitamin ingredients, such as those contained in NutraGlow’s Super B, which includes Hydroxycobalamin, the most active naturally occurring form of vitamin B-12, and Super Lean, are both purer than those in pill form. Many pills contain harmful preservatives and synthetic ingredients, which our bodies do not recognize as easily as natural ingredients. With so many supplements available on the market, it can be difficult to choose which to take, how much to take and which form to take it in. A blood workup ordered by your doctor can determine if you are deficient of essential vitamins and minerals. Prevention Magazine listed vitamin B-12 as the most needed vitamin after age 40, and there are a variety of vitamins and minerals millions of us are lacking in that are vital to our health regardless of age. Considering a sublingual vitamin supplement to help offset a deficiency could lead to a significant improvement in your overall health. Speaking with a health care professional can help lead you in the right direction for your body.

Sherry Kelishadi, Pharm.D, is vice president at NutraGlow, Inc, a provider of premium sublingual vitamin supplements developed to help people maximize the benefits of vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12. She earned a Doctorate of Pharmacy from the prestigious University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in 2011. Kelishadi worked as a chief pharmacist at Rite Aid for three years before joining the team at a compounding pharmacy in Orange County and, ultimately, cofounding NutraGlow. Her passion lies in nutrition, dermatology, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and wound care. Her hobbies include traveling, dancing, sports, and spending time with her family.


Are Your Multivitamins and Supplements Providing Needed Micronutrients?


Multivitamin/mineral (MVMM) supplements are the most common dietary supplements consumed in the United States. This analysis assesses the contributions of micronutrients to usual dietary intakes as derived from MVMM supplements. Micronutrients are needed in minuscule amounts and they enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances essential for proper growth and development. While necessary in very small amounts — the consequences of their absence are severe. In this research article, the contribution of micronutrients derived from MVMM supplements is compared to the dietary reference intakes for US residents aged ≥ 4 years according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007–2010 (n = 16,444).

The analysis points out that in large proportions of the population, micronutrient sufficiency is currently not being achieved through food solutions for several essential vitamins and minerals. Results showed that 51% of Americans consumed MVMM supplements containing 9 or fewer micronutrients. Also, large portions of the population had total usual intakes (food and MVMM supplement use) below the estimated average requirement for vitamins A (35%), C (31%), D (74%), and E (67%) as well as calcium (39%) and magnesium (46%).


Nevertheless, MVMM supplements contribute to a greater number of individuals meeting their recommended intakes of almost all micronutrients measured by NHANES. Use of age- and gender-specific MVMM supplements may serve as a practical means to increase the micronutrient status in subpopulations of Americans while not increasing intakes above the tolerable upper level intake.

The research paper Multivitamin/Mineral Supplement Contribution to Micronutrient Intakes in the United States, 2007–2010 has been selected as the 2015 Ragus Award Winner as Best Article from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the official publication of the American College of Nutrition.

Full-access to the research article can be found below.

Taylor C. Wallace PhD, FACN, Michael McBurney PhD, FACN and Victor L. Fulgoni III PhD.   Volume 33, Issue 2, 2014, pages 94-102


Why Vitamin D is Vital for Overall Health

Dr. John Cuomo, Executive Director of Research and Development at USANA Health Sciences answers important questions on why vitamin D is vital:

What are the main functions of vitamin D in the body?


Vitamin D appears to have many functions in the body.  Every cell, regardless of where it is located has a vitamin D receptor.  This would indicate that vitamin D has multiple functions and the scientific evidence backs this up.  The best documentation of the importance of vitamin D is in bone health. Absorption and utilization of calcium appears to be a vitamin D controlled process. Other minerals including magnesium, boron and silicon may also depend on vitamin D to be absorbed and deposited into the bone matrix. The RDA data for vitamin D is based solely on the function for uptake and utilization of minerals for bone health.  So while bone health, and prevention of osteoporosis is an extremely important function of vitamin D, it is part of what makes vitamin D important to your health.  There are numerous studies showing that Vitamin D is also essential for overall immune system function and for muscle strength.  Epidemiological studies also show links to glucose metabolism, cell proliferation, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, impaired muscle function, infection, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, some cancers and CVD.

What are the best natural sources?

One of the best ways to get vitamin D is to expose your skin to sunlight.  15  to 30 minutes of sun exposure between the peak hours of 10am-2pm will make thousands of IU of vitamin D. Just be careful not to burn.  Dietary sources are lower.  Some product such as milk and orange juice are fortified with vitamin D, but the dose is usually low and the form is different than from sun exposure.  Some fish also have vitamin D but the amounts vary significantly.

Is the vitamin D in milk etc a chemically made version and, if so, does it differ (like vitamin e) from the natural source?

The story here is a little different than for vitamin E.  The form of vitamin D produced in skin naturally from sunlight is cholecalciferol or vitamin D3.  This is also the form used in most nutritional supplements like USANA Vitamin D tablets.  Milk is fortified with vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol.  While it is naturally derived, it is not the same as the D3 that we produce naturally from sun exposure.  In addition there are several clinical studies on supplementation with D2 vs. D3, and it looks like D3 is more bioavailable, and a better choice.

What are the best ways to take vitamin D to ensure you’ve taken enough?

Dietary sources are not sufficient.  Even though milk, orange juice and fish do contain vitamin D, all of the data we have seen indicates that the vast majority of Americans are vitamin D deficient.  The two best ways to get the vitamin D you need are to get adequate sun exposure to exposed skin (without sun block) or to take a good vitamin D supplement.  In addition, the only good way to tell if you have adequate stores of vitamin D is to have a blood test run.  If your doctor asks for this test, be sure they measure the amount of 25-hydroxy vitamin D in plasma, and the amount should be 40 – 60 ng/mL.

Does sunscreen stop us absorbing vitamin D?

Yes. To make vitamin D in the skin, UV light must hit the skin directly.  Sunscreen effectively blocks this, and almost no vitamin D will be produced if you apply sunscreen.

How often should vitamin D be taken?

A daily supplement of 2000 to 5000 IU of vitamin D.

Why is vitamin D important?

It supports healthy bones, immune function, muscle strength, glucose control, and may help prevent auto immune disease and heart disease.

John Cuomo, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of Research and Development. Dr. Cuomo’s experience in synthetic organic chemistry, manufacturing, and analytical methods make his contribution to USANA invaluable. He holds over 20 United States and European patents and is the author of numerous scientific papers.

Suggested Reading

The NY Times had an article this week on how Vitamin D may be able to fight off colon cancer that you can read here.