You’re doing your best to take care of your health—exercising, eating a balanced diet, drinking water and taking supplements… well, kind of. That last one can be challenging if you hate swallowing pills. It’s not your fault; it’s a real struggle for many of us. But before you decide to throw in the towel, there are some tricks out there that can help you out.
Here are 5 that we recommend:
1) Drink (lots of) water
Start with a few swigs of water before taking your supplements. It might sound a little silly, but it gives your body a few practice runs while also lubricating your throat. When your mouth is dry, it’s harder to swallow and it raises the chance of feeling the pills go down. Make sure to have another few gulps after taking your supplements, so they reach your stomach without any discomfort.
2) Try thick liquids
You might have better success with drinks that have a thicker consistency. We’re often told only to take our supplements with water, but switching to liquids that have a higher viscosity like smoothies, milk or pulp juice can make a world of difference. Thick liquids slow down your swallowing process and help prevent the pills and liquid from separating, making it easier to swallow. Their gooeyness also helps mask the feeling of pills in your mouth—and some of these drinks can even give your supplements a leg up to improve absorption.
3) Hide it in food
Sometimes it’s our head that gets in the way. We think too much about it. Normally, when we eat or drink, we’re able to swallow without any thought, but when it comes to pills, we’re suddenly very aware of what we’re doing. We think about swallowing and every step that goes into it. And the more we think about it, the harder it gets.
If this is your struggle, tricking yourself into thinking you’re eating something else can help. Hide your supplements in food, such as applesauce, a banana or yogurt. You may find that you’re able to swallow your pills without thinking—out of sight, out of mind.
Heads up: It might be tempting to open the capsules or crush the pills when mixing it with food but it’s best to avoid this. The taste can be off-putting and may just increase your aversion to pills. More importantly, many supplements are time released with a special coating. Changing their form can reduce their effectiveness.
4) First, water
If your issue is that you don’t like the feeling of pills in your mouth before you wash them down, a simple solution might be tweaking your steps. Instead of putting the supplements in your mouth first, start with water. Take a sip, hold the water in your mouth, then plop the pill in and swallow.
5) Separate your floats from your non-floats
Use your body to help you out. You’ll notice some supplements are capsules that float in water, while others are heavier tablets that sink. There’s a special movement for swallowing each of these pill types that may make it easier:
For the capsules that float in water, use the lean-forward method: Start by placing the supplements on your tongue, take a sip of water and as you swallow, slowly tilt your head down toward your chest and lean forward.
For the non-floats, try the pop bottle method: You’ll first need a water bottle with a narrow opening. Start by placing the tablets on your tongue, then close your lips around the opening, tilt your head back slightly, and swallow.
If you don’t have success with these the first time, don’t stress. Like anything, it can take a few practice rounds to find what works best for you. In the end, if nothing else works, there are other ways of supplementing your diet, like with powders and gummies. But when considering these pill alternatives, make sure they’re not packed with fillers or sugar. Persona’s foundation multivitamin powder and gummy packs are great options (if you don’t mind me saying… 😊).
Gabby is a nutritionist with a master’s degree in strategic communications. She loves using her nutrition-fluency with storytelling to encourage positive change. Before Persona, she worked at a mental health clinic helping clients manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues through diet.
Gabby is just one of Persona’s team of qualified nutritionists. Do you have questions about nutrition? Reach out. Our experts would love to help.