Clients frequently tell me that they dislike taking supplement capsules because they gag or the pills get stuck in their throat. I have some tips for you.
If you gag on pills: If attempting to swallow capsules or pills has you gagging (or worse) there are a few techniques you can try to eliminate this issue.
1) Try taking your pills with something besides plain water. Juice has a lot of sugar in it so it isn’t a great option by itself. However a squeeze from a lemon or orange, or a splash of juice or in your glass of water can sometimes be enough flavor to eliminate the gag reflex.
2) Try NOT taking your pills first thing in the morning. There’s something about a mouthful of fish oil capsules on an empty stomach that is sure to make anyone gag. Eat some breakfast first and then start taking your supplements.
3) Consider taking a drink before you try to swallow your pill and capsule supplements. More on that below.
4) Taking just one (especially if they are large like fish oil capsules) or two capsules at a time can sometimes eliminate gagging as well.
If pills get caught in your throat or esophagus: If you’ve ever had a pill get stuck on its way to your stomach you know it is an unpleasant experience. This tends to happen more with capsules than with tablets but can happen with either. Here are a few tips on avoiding this unpleasantness.
1) Start by taking a few gulps of water (or other suitable beverage) BEFORE attempting to swallow any pills. This will wet your throat and esophagus and make it less likely for a pill to stick.
2) Consider taking your pills with room temperature or body temperature water. The warm water dissolves the capsules faster than cold or ice-cold water.
3) Wet the pills in your mouth with saliva (preferably) or with your beverage.
4) Take one or two at a time and take a sip in between each pill.
5) Follow your pill with a bite of fruit or other food to push the pills down for you.
6) Some capsules can be opened and some tablets can be crushed and mixed into applesauce.
Other tips: A wellness program might sometimes include a large number of nutritional or herbal capsules. Don’t feel that you need to take all of these pills in one sitting. Use a small dish or container and take a pill or two each time you take a drink of water (etc.) while you are going about your day. In most cases, the pills can be taken during a sizeable window (like sometime this morning, or sometime tonight). Remember, in order for your supplements and remedies to have any effect in your wellness plan you have to get them out of the bottle and into the body – how you do that is not all that important.
If all of the above fail: Ask about getting your supplements in liquid or chewable form. Be well!
Let us know how these tips worked out for you, or share your own tips in the comments! Thanks!