Is there really a need for time-release vitamins?
There is a new craze in the marketplace for time-release vitamins. But are they really good for you, or can they be harmful?
Time-release vitamins get their origins from the pharmaceutical industry. The reason behind slow- or time-release medication is simple: a) reduce the rate of side effects associated with a rapid surge of the medication in your blood or b) reduce the need for multiple dosing of the same drug in a 24-hour interval.
To better understand how medications are better as a time-released tablet, one has to better understand their side effects.
Medications and their side effects.
Medications are needed to improve a condition that the body is suffering from; however, every medication has its own group of side effects. Imagine the medication Alfuzosin which is used to improve prostate health and urination in a man. This medication, if absorbed regularly, will cause a rapid drop in blood pressure and may cause syncope or loss of consciousness. Hence the time-release formulation, better known as Uroxatrol, causes a slow-release of the medication in your body and reduces the risk of low blood pressure while providing prostate relief over the 24 hours. The alternative would be to take the medication in multiple smaller doses, which makes compliance an issue.
Time-release and reduce dosing needs.
From the example above, imagine also that you have pain and you require pain control. A patient can now take a pain relief agent multiple times a day or take a slow-release formulation of the same medication only twice or once a day. The time-release medication can provide continued therapy over a long period of time resulting in less pain and better medical result.
Do you really need a time-release vitamin?
These days it appears that the vitamin industry has tried to copy their pharmaceutical brothers without truly understanding the reason behind time-release medications. How does a slow or time-release vitamin benefit your body? Do you really need a slow-release Biotin tablet? Unlike time-release medication, there appears to be no benefit to time-release vitamins and some studies suggest they may absorb poorly or be outright bad for you.
According to Columbia University Health Services most people do not need or benefit from constant influx of vitamins. Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University showed in one study that time-release vitamin C was less bioavailable and 50% less absorbed than a normal vitamin C pill. Another review published on time-release niacin showed possible liver toxicity from prolonged exposure.
Finally, according to Harvard University School of Public Health, time-release vitamins show no added benefit and may be more expensive than normal vitamins.
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