Do You Have Difficulty Swallowing Pills?

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Nutritional Support, Q&As
Last Reviewed 04/21/2014

I have difficulty swallowing pills, such as supplements. I consistently feel like I’m going to gag. Do you have any suggestions?

Do You Have Difficulty Swallowing Pills?

It is estimated that nearly 40 percent of Americans have difficulty swallowing pills. For most, this stems from an over-sensitive gag reflex. The key to making your supplements easier to swallow is to fool that reflex.

The next time you take your vitamins, try drinking from a soda or water bottle. Keep your lips pursed and attached to the bottle at all times and use a sucking action to drink. This will trigger an automatic opening of the throat and the natural urge to swallow, allowing the pills to go down smoothly.

Here’s another technique that sounds a bit odd, but it really works to ease the difficulty of swallowing pills. Since most supplements are in capsule form, they are light and buoyant in liquids. Put one or more capsules in your mouth along with a mouthful of water and bend your head forward. (Your instinct is to tilt your head back, but that constricts your throat.) More often than not, the pills will float to the back of your throat and swallowing them will be a breeze.

If you have difficulty swallowing pills, I also suggest taking several sips of water prior to taking your pills to get your throat wet. Then swish some water along with your supplements around in your mouth. This will assure that everything is moistened, making it easier for them to go down. Make sure you take your supplements with room temperature or cold water. Washing them down with a steaming-hot latte or another warm beverage can dissolve the capsules before they leave your mouth.

If you still have difficulty swallowing pills,  look for a powdered version that you can mix with your favorite beverage. That way you can avoid the pill-popping dilemma altogether.

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