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Delivery Forms for Dietary Supplements

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As someone who’s been in the supplement and manufacturing industry for more than 30 years, I’m continually perplexed at how so many companies focus on overall product quality without also giving equal consideration to delivery within the body. What’s missing here is science and chemistry. More specifically, application of the proper delivery method required for raw materials to be most effective.

Overlooking such factors leads to powders that unwittingly harden, oxidize, taste bad, mix badly, change color or even become rancid. Following are key insights as to when certain ingredient delivery forms should be used for optimal bioavailability and shelf life.

Powders: This is best used for ingredients such as proteins. The major benefit is that even with a serving that is not exact, it won’t affect overall product benefits. Most protein powders are simple dry blends designed to go into solution, usually water, and consumed in a relatively short amount of time. Leaving a powder in water for too long will cause microbial growth, making it dangerous to consume. Materials that are not soluble, taste bad or are highly hygroscopic are not ideal for powder delivery.

Liquids: Great for ready-to-drink (RTD) products, it offers a quick, no-hassle way to consume an ingredient. However, it limits how much actual active material can be included in a serving. The saturation point of liquids depends on the bulk density of the ingredients. Additionally, water-soluble ingredients must be used, otherwise emulsification and suspension techniques need to be applied. Liquid delivery is not good for bad tasting ingredients because “masking” them properly is quite difficult. Liquid delivery products also typically require preservatives and a low-acid or aseptic production.

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