How to Choose the Best Nutrition Supplement Format

January 9, 2018 • By Sophia Smith
The estimated reading time is 4 minutes
Nutrition Supplement

Dietary supplements, which come in a variety of formats—powders, tablets, soft gels, capsules, liquids, bars, and more—provide science-backed nutrition in a concentrated form that targets specific fitness and health requirements.

While supplements in powder form have so far been the most popular, tablets, capsules and soft gels are now preferred by those looking for portable and more easily consumable formats.

The information below will help you pick out the supplement type that best aligns with your lifestyle and fitness goals. Remember that you can always combine two or more different formats for different fitness needs.


Powders and blends can be had with water, milk, or juice or mixed with food. Powder-based health supplements leave you feeling full and are therefore great as a satiating and wholesome meal replacement. Powders are also cost-effective and are known for their quick absorption. Another additional benefit is that, unlike capsules or pills, you can adjust the dosage of your powder-based supplement with much greater precision.  That powder-based supplements are available in a variety of great flavours is yet another advantage they have over capsules, tablets and the like.

Vitamin and mineral formulas, protein powders and blends, amino acid drinks, and fatty-acid-fortified formulas are some types of supplement powders available on the market.


Tablets are the compact powerhouse of hundreds of essential micronutrients packed into what many consider the most practical way to include a supplement in their daily diet.  Compared to powder and liquid forms, tablets are more portable and have a longer shelf life, which makes bulk-purchasing possible. If health optimization is what you’re looking for, a multivitamin formula that’s packed with superfood extracts, amino acids and essential enzymes are worth considering. Choose an amino-acid-rich formula if your focus is to improve overall muscle strength and muscle recovery. (1)

If you don’t have a problem swallowing, tablet supplements are your best bet to improve your physical well-being with minimum effort.


The greatest advantage of capsules is that they are easy to swallow and are known to break down more easily when consumed. Another plus is that is portable and they can be opened up and the contents can be added to food—ideal for use with children or adults who have difficulty swallowing tablets or consuming health drinks every day.

From muscle growth and recovery to general strength building to fortifying female health and fat burning, capsule supplements serve a variety of general and specific health and fitness needs. Some people like the fact that capsules can be added to food or drink. Note that capsules tend to have a shorter shelf life than tablets and can cost slightly more than the average pill-based supplement.


The general perception is that a liquid supplement will absorb faster and therefore provide better results. However, fitness experts would tell you that slower absorption works better for long-lasting health benefits, including lean muscle gain.

One particular advantage liquids have over tablets and capsules is the flexibility to adjust dosage according to changing fitness needs. At the same time, liquid supplements have a shorter shelf life compared to other forms and are better off stored in the refrigerator.

Soft Gels

Soft gels, or gelatin capsules, are easy to swallow and have better shelf life compared to most other formats. In spite of the fact that soft gels generally cost more than tablets and capsules, they are preferred by people who prefer a soft, easy-to-pop supplement that’s easy on the digestive system and provides a combination of nutrients in a sealed, concentrated form. Because gelatin has no odor or taste of its own, it masks unpleasant odors such as that of fish oil.

Soft gel encapsulation is used primarily for liquid-, paste-, and oil-based supplements such as vitamin supplements, fish oil, flaxseed oil, and certain herb-based products.

Nutrition Bars

The main reason behind the success of nutrition bars is the ease with which they can be consumed at any time of the day wherever you are. Protein bars, in particular, make for a great post-workout snack that needs no preparation (unlike powders and liquids) and is fun to have (unlike popping a pill or capsule). (2)

Moreover, nutrition bars are available in the most wonderful flavors and combinations, which only make them more desirable for all ages.

For several decades, Optimum Nutrition supplements have been a global leader in scientifically created nutrition supplements for a wide range of health and fitness needs. Their high-quality protein blends, fat-loss formulas and strength, and energy enhancers are worth a try if you’re looking for trusted health and fitness supplements that work.

Sophia Smith

She is a renowned nutritionist and freelance writer whose topics of interest include healthy living and healthy eating. She is passionate about introducing new and delicious healthy meals while balancing her time between cooking and going to the gym. Her mission is to change the life of as many people as she can and make them the best version of themselves.
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