Helpful Advice Every Supplement Taker Needs to Know

Today, we’re going over some important tips for taking supplements and safety measures everyone should know.

In the video and article below, I’ll cover:

  • The most dangerous choke hazards to avoid when taking supplements
  • How to balance your daily supplement intake 
  • Tips to make swallowing and absorbing the supplements easier
  • How to avoid getting upset stomach and diarrhea when you take multiple supplements every day


3 Most Dangerous Supplement Choke Hazards

These are the three big choke hazards you should AVOID when taking a pill or supplement.

1. Taking too many at one time. They can get lodged in your throat, so only take a couple at a time.

2. Taking a large pill or a tablet and a smaller pill or tablet at the same time. The tongue can feel the big one and it can manipulate the big one, but it loses track of the small one and that’s a choke hazard.

3. Taking a tablet and a capsule at the same time. The capsule will float and the tablet will sink. That causes a choke hazard. When you tilt your head back to swallow, the tablet sinks and the capsule rises causing a choke hazard.

Tips to Make Swallowing Capsules Easier

For some people who cannot swallow a capsule or a tablet, you can either crush a tablet or open up the capsule and pour the contents into applesauce.

I like to add additional cinnamon, mix it up right, and take it that way.

I also tell people to drink eight ounces of water with the capsules. Sometimes I add a cap full of apple cider vinegar to help break down cellulose or gelatin capsules.


One customer told us they cover their capsules in soft butter and drink with coffee to absorb them better.

I also tell people to drink additional water 15 minutes after they take the supplement.

It takes about 15 minutes for the capsule to open, so once the capsule opens, start drinking the rest of the water all day long.

You want to make sure that the content of the capsule is in solution and bedding and being able to be absorbed.

How to Avoid Upset Stomach, Diarrhea and Nausea When Taking Supplements

People often call me and tell me they’re getting an upset stomach, diarrhea, or nausea.

What’s happening is that because people are taking a lot of supplements, they’re ending up taking a lot of the same ingredients like magnesium.

For example, let’s just say you have five products and all five products have hundred percent of the amount of magnesium.

You’d be taking five times the amount of magnesium that you should take daily. That’s why people are getting an upset stomach or diarrhea.

Look carefully at all of the supplements you’re taking and look for the percentage of recommended daily allowance (RDA).


A sample supplement label. The column on the right shows how much of your recommended daily amount the supplement provides.

Herbs don’t have an RDA. Enzymes don’t have an RDA. So they’re sort of out of the mix. But you still can get an upset stomach if you’re not mindful of everything you’re taking in one day.

For instance, glucosamine, common in joint discomfort supplements, has a suggested maximum dose of 1500 milligrams.

So if you’re taking two joint products that both have glucosamine in it, you need to make sure that you’re not taking too much of one ingredient.

Write down the RDAs you need, and list what you’re taking daily.

Also, if you’re feeling nausea, you really need to choose which supplement is best for the day or time when you take it.

You can alternate one product one day, and take the other product the next day. Keep alternating them so that you’re not taking too much of any one ingredient in any one day or any one time.

About the Package Seals and Those Cotton Balls…

As far as the bottle itself, not all manufacturers put an outside seal on there.

They don’t need to use an outside seal. But if it’s not there, it’s okay.

HOWEVER there should always be a second seal under the cap. This always has to be there.

Do not take the product if the second seal is not there. The second seal comes off fairly easily.

The second seal should never be broken when you first open the bottle. If it looks like the bottle on the right, DON’T take it.

Now inside of the bottle, you will find a cotton ball.

The cotton is designed to protect the capsule so they don’t bounce around, and also absorb any excess of what’s called coverage.

When the capsules get filled with ingredients, excess will spill over to the outside of the capsule.

In some cases, what’s supposed to be inside the capsule gets on the outside. It’s not a big deal, but it doesn’t either smell very well or taste very good. So the idea is to use a cotton ball and absorb that excess.

Now there’s always going to be a little bit leftover. So one thing you can do is take the capsules that you’re about ready to take, run them under running water for five to 10 seconds and then take it that way.

That way you are:

1) lubricating the capsule for consumption

2) making sure that you’ve eliminated all overage off of the outside of the capsule so you don’t have that in your mouth or your throat or on your tongue.

Now check out these other helpful posts…

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Filed Under: General Health
Written By:  Updated:
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Steven Hefferon, CMT, PTA

Steve Hefferon is the co-founder of the Healthy Back Institute. He is a nationally recognized sports massage therapist and post-rehab specialist. Steve has helped numerous world-class athletes return to the field or track and continue to excel after an injury. He also developed the innovative Lose the Back Pain System, which has helped thousands find lasting back pain relief.

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