Vitamin Absorption

How Enteric Coating Works To Get ALL Those Expensive Ingredients Into You

Vitamin absorption
 is a CRUCIAL aspect to consider when evaluating supplements. Absorption, known technically as bioavailability, can and does vary significantly from supplement to supplement. Please keep that in mind if you are a consumer who buys according to price.

These days the term “vitamin absorption” is commonly used to refer to not only absorption 

of vitamins but of other nutrients/ingredients as well. So, I have used it in this sense in the discussion below.

If you haven’t already read bioavailability of nutritional supplements I recommend that you read it now so that today’s article makes more sense.

Enteric coating is essential for high quality supplements containing expensive and highly efficacious ingredients like L-Glutathione, enzymes, SAMe and herbal extracts. This special aqueous based coating offers an optimal delivery system ensuring higher levels of vitamin absorption.

Although enteric coating is a common technology employed with expensive pharmaceutical medications, it is rarely seen in the nutritional supplement industry!

That’s because most supplements are manufactured to a price rather than from a ‘best science’ perspective. Pharmaceuticals always work because they must be based on ‘best science’ since FDA regulations require proof that they work.

For those of you having already read through much of this site, you will know that I personally use a broad spectrum multi nutrient supplement which is enteric coated. The manufacturer (Xtend-Life) has tested it and claim over 80% absorption of the 83 ingredients. An extremely high level for a nutritional or dietary supplement.

Some experts believe that (in non enteric coated products) the bioavailability of vitamins (i.e. all the contents) is only 10-15% due to damage from gastric juices and enzymes in the stomach. This is a gray area however as there is little conclusive research available dealing with absorption rates since so many individual factors come into play from person to person.


How does it work?

The following facts come primarily from the Xtend-Life website (with permission). Locating other (supplement related) information on this topic has proven near impossible. 

Colorcon – a world leader in the manufacturer of advanced coating systems for pharmaceutical dosage forms provided a small amount of supporting data.

Enteric coating is made up of cellulose polymers which are non-reactive and are not absorbed by the body nor affect it in any way. These polymers are pH sensitive meaning they will not react to the more acidic ph levels in the stomach but will react and disintegrate in the alkaline environment in the small intestine.

The small intestine (duodenum) is where most nutrients, from the food we eat, travel to be absorbed into the bloodstream. So releasing supplement contents in the intestine is highly desirable from a bioavailability standpoint.

How can manufacturers be sure that enteric coating does what it’s supposed to? By using tests which involve placing sample tablets in fluids simulating gastric juices and the pH environment of the small intestine.

Xtend-Life performs these tests on each batch of tablets they manufacture. They report the following typical test results:

  • No disintegration of the tablet after 2 hours in a fluid simulating the stomach
  • Total disintegration of the enteric coating after 12 minutes in a buffeted pH environment simulating the duodenum
  • Total disintegration of the enteric coating within 60 minutes of entering the duodenum.

Now, manufacturers of non enteric coated supplements will always point out that some vitamins and other nutrients actually need stomach acids to become bioavailable. This is true. However by including certain additional enzymes in enteric coated tablets these nutrients will become bioavailable when released in the intestine.


Money Down The Drain!

  1. The active ingredients are released in the stomach.

  2. Stomach acids attack the ingredients and break them into smaller particles.

  3. Depending upon the active ingredient, a proportion of it (often a majority) is destroyed by the acid. Some nutrients are not damaged by stomach acid.

  4. Whilst some ingredients are in the process of being ‘attacked’ this can result in a feeling of discomfort.

  5. What is left of the remaining ingredients continue on to the small intestine where they go through the absorption process via the walls of the upper intestine.

NOTE: Low quality, mass produced tablets full of excessive amounts of cheap binding agents may only partially disintegrate (or not at all), passing through the stomach and intestine almost intact with little vitamin absorption.

Recommended Enteric Coated Supplement

Introducing 'Total Balance'

The 'state of the art' nutritional health supplement which my family and I have used continuously since 2000 is called Total Balance. It is manufactured by and sold exclusively by the 'New Zealand based specialty supplement company 'Xtend-Life.

All 7 versions within the 'Total Balance' range use enteric coated tablets because the various formulas (standard and premium) contain between 84 to 97 ingredients, many of which are expensive specialty ingredients susceptible to destruction by stomach acid.

The vitamin absorption rate for Total Balance is extremely high - that's one of the main reasons it works so well.

To learn more about Total Balance please follow this link.

To see how Total Balance dominates the other industry leading supplements please visit my best vitamin supplements comparisons.

Vitamin absorption back to bioavailability of nutritional supplements 

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Nutritional Supplement Truths!
Tons of Tips for Terrific Health

Healthy         Happy         Energized         Disease Free

Some of the articles on this site include affiliate links, (Xtend-Life), providing nutritional-supplement-truths a small commission if you make a purchase -  at no additional cost to you. Of course, you are not obligated to use these links to make a purchase, but if you do, it helps to support this site. You can read my affiliate disclosure here

Unlock the potential to 
Your Skin

Omega 3/DHA
Fish Oil Premium

Premium Omega 3 fish oil

Click Here To Learn More

Clinically Proven' Cell Rejuvenation, Age Defying Skin Care Formulations

Best skin care products

Click Here To Learn More