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Top Tips for Swallowing Bulky Pills

2 min read

Due to the bulky nature of some of the nutrients and/or the levels required several of the supplements are large and difficult to swallow.

Here are some tips for swallowing pills:

  1. Moisten your mouth

      - by taking a few sips of water beforehand it can hydrate the throat and make it easier to swallow the pill (a dry mouth makes swallowing harder).
  2. Hold water in your mouth before inserting the pill

     - suspending the pill in water may help to flush it down. N.B Fill your mouth about 80% with water. If you overfill your mouth, you will not be able to swallow all the water at once, and the method may be less effective.
  3. Try different liquids such as a milkshake or a yogurt drink

      - thicker drinks slow down swallowing and make the pill less likely to separate from the liquid.
  4. Try carbonated beverages

     - sometimes swallowing pills with an ice-cold carbonated beverage (e.g., ginger ale, soda or sparkling water) can aid in transporting pills quickly and help with swallowing. Drink before attempting to swallow the pill.
  5. Try the two-gulp method

     - this helps to fold down the epiglottis (the flap of cartilage at the back of the throat that protects the airway during swallowing). Place the pill on the tongue then take one gulp of water and swallow it, but not the pill. Immediately take a second gulp of water and swallow the pill and the water together.
  6. Try putting your chin to your chest when swallowing

      - this will open up your windpipe and may be better for you than throwing your head back.
  7. Try using a straw

     - for some people, using a straw to drink water or a beverage helps the pill to go down better. Place the pill on the back of your tongue. Drink something through a straw and swallow the liquid and the pill. Keep drinking for a few sips after you swallow it to help the pill go down. The suction used to pull the liquid through the straw makes it easier to swallow the pill.
  8. Try chewing some food before placing the pill in your mouth

     -  then swallow the food and pill together. For example pull off a small piece of bread and chew it until you are ready to swallow. Before you swallow, take your pill and stick it in the mass of bread in your mouth. Once you close you mouth, swallow the food with the pill inside. The pill should go down smoothly. Other soft foods you could try include apple sauce, yoghurt, ice cream, pudding, or gelatin.

Please note, these tips are based on common sense, rather than scientific evidence, and may not work for everyone!

A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.