A common phrase shared by health practitioners and dietitians alike states that “you aren’t what you eat, you are what you absorb.”

While good nutrition certainly starts with a healthy diet, your body’s ability to digest and absorb the nutrients you feed it are essential steps in the process to ensure vibrant health and peak performance.

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Return on investment

But this concept doesn’t just relate to your diet. Getting the best return from the vitamin and mineral supplements you buy from your local Dis-Chem also requires optimal digestion.

Ultimately, you can eat wholesome foods and buy the best quality nutritional supplements but if your body is unable to digest and absorb the nutrients, you won’t get the full benefit.

Supplement bioavailability (the rate at which your body can digest and absorb it) can also differ between individuals for reasons such as variable absorption and metabolic rates in the body.

While working to achieve and maintain optimal digestive health is the best way to ensure you get everything you need from your food and supplements, you can also make use of innovative developments in the supplement sector to boost your nutritional status.

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Under the tongue

For example, sublingual sprays offer an administration option that can deliver nutrients directly into the bloodstream by diffusing substances through tissues under the tongue, which is an area rich in blood vessels.

Derived from the Latin for “under the tongue”, sublingual sprays by-pass the digestive system, which means these supplements avoid the exposure to stomach acid, bile and digestive enzymes that can reduce the amount our bodies eventually absorb and use.

While supplements and nutraceuticals (as well as medicines) are designed to make it through this process, sublingual administration may offer benefits over oral administration for certain substances as it ensures more makes it into the bloodstream.

For example, in a 2015 study published in the Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy journal, researchers found that the rate of sublingual absorption was greater than that of tablets, and that the sublingual administration method offered greater bioavailability.

Furthermore, a review published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research in 2017 on sublingual sprays as a novel delivery system stated that the “absorption of drugs through sublingual route is 3-10 times larger than that presented by oral route”.

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Sidestep digestive issues

And sublingual sprays may offer additional benefits for those who suffer from digestive issues like inflammatory conditions or gut permeability.

In these instances, taking sublingual supplements could impact a person’s nutritional status by boosting absorption rates.

For example, a study published in the AACE Clinical Case Reports journal highlighted the fact that people “with malabsorptive diseases such as Crohn disease and celiac disease are more prone to lower intestinal absorption of vitamin D.”

This can become an issue because we need adequate vitamin D for numerous reasons, such as promoting calcium absorption for optimal bone health and for immune system function.

Vitamin D also regulates the expression of more than 200 human genes, and low levels are associated with a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as higher body fat, depression, breast cancer risk and adverse pregnancy outcomes in women.

Faced with these potential health issues, a sublingual spray like Biogen’s Vitamin D3 spray offers a novel and potentially more effective supplement option compared to capsules or powders because the body absorbs the substance faster through the mucosal lining beneath the tongue.

And even in the absence of any underlying health issues, a sublingual spray also offers a quick and convenient method to take your daily dose of specific vitamins, especially for anyone who struggles to swallow tablets or capsules.