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Delivery Methods: Types of Dietary & Nutritional Supplement Tablets

Last updated: July-9,2021

4 Types of Tablet Forms To Deliver Your Dietary & Nutritional Supplements

What do you get when you combine a well-crafted supplement formula, some specialized machinery, and a little manufacturing magic? A tablet, of course! Okay, while we maybe oversimplifying tablet manufacturing process a little, there's still no denying that tablets are one of the most popular nutraceutical delivery methods available today!

Even though nutritional tablet manufacturers consider dozens of different factors when formulating and manufacturing a supplement tablet, brand owners must understand the different types of tablets that can be manufactured and what makes each unique.

Popular Nutritional & Supplement Tablet Varieties

We've gathered up four of the of the health and wellness industry's more popular tablet varieties:

Compressed Tablet

Compressed Tablets

While almost all tablets available on the market today can be sorted under the "compressed tablet" umbrella (thanks to the fact that they're manufactured with the help of the aforementioned specialized machinery and some serious pressure), "compressed tablet" or "tablet" is often used when referring to your run of the mill, oval, capsule or round-shaped tablet.

Unlike some of the other varieties on our list, standard compressed tablets are typically meant to be swallowed without being broken, chewed, or dissolved in any way. More often than not, this type of tablet will only begin to break down once it's reached the stomach (or some other stretch of the gastrointestinal tract).

Compressed tablets have the advantage of relatively good stability and being available in multiple sized and shapes. As such, its easy to fit a broad range of dietary supplements into tablet form. For this reason, compressed tablets are popular. The disadvantage of tablets is that some people have difficulty swallowing them, whereas most people can swallow capsules.

Chewable Tablets

Chewable Tablets

From cartoon-themed children's multivitamins to Vitamin C tablets, chewable tablets – as the name suggests – are designed to be chewed before making their way into the stomach.

For those looking to manufacture chewable tablets andfor those looking to take them, there's one particularly important factor to consider: Flavor. Even if a particular dietary supplement product is capable of providing you with the specific nutrients or ingredients that you're looking for, if it doesn't taste good there's a fairly strong chance that you'll: A) Never want to take, or B) Never purchase that particular brand again.

Sublingual & Buccal Tablets

Sublingual Tablets

Generally, both sublingual (under the tongue) and buccal (in the pocket of the cheek) tablets work in a very similar way: Consumers taking the tablet place it in the designated area, at which point it's then dissolved by the saliva in their mouths.

Once again, taste and texture can play a huge role when it comes to the effectiveness and popularity of dietary supplement that chooses a sublingual or buccal tablet as its delivery method.

One significant limitation to this delivery form is that you can’t state on the label that it is “sublingual” or for “buccal” absorption. The reason for this is that the FDA has indicated that these delivery forms are for drugs only. Some dietary supplement companies that choose to use these delivery forms anyway simply give directions such as, “Allow to dissolve first in the month, and then swallow.” In this way, the terms “sublingual” or “buccal” are not mentioned.

What Are Effervescent Tablets?

Effervescent Tablets

The "fizzy lifting drink" of the supplement world, effervescent tablets include a number of different nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products including (most famously) a myriad of antacids, cold relief supplements, and minor pain relievers.

With the help of some basic chemistry, when an effervescent tablet (which will usually contain sodium bicarbonate, although potassium bicarbonate is also an option) is placed in water it starts dissolving immediately and will release carbon dioxide in the process – ultimately creating the effervescent fizz that these tablets are known for.

Like chewable tablets, flavor, taste, and texture are key factors to consider when manufacturing and purchasing a supplement in the form of an effervescent tablet.

The Takeaway

Fact: There's a lot of information worth discussing when it comes to nutraceutical tablets, much more than we've discussed here. For those looking to learn more, a conversation with your contract manufacturer is always a great place to start.

July 18th, 2016

About the Author:

Melissa DellaBartolomea

Melissa DellaBartolomea was the resident Content Marketing Specialist at NutraScience Labs from February 2016 to July 2018. Driven by a passion for the world of written, visual, and digital media, she's dedicated herself to keeping up with all things nutraceutical. From ingredient insights to the latest in contract manufacturing regulations and trends, her mission is to provide our readers (like you) with the stories and knowledge they need to fuel long-term growth and nutraceutical industry success.