When it comes to vitamins, most of us think about swallowing a pill or two. Or, maybe you like the fruit-flavored, chewy kind. But, have you considered a vitamin patch?
It’s the latest offering from the 4.2 trillion dollar wellness industry, and it’s appealing for a number of reasons. We’ll take a look at the way to get vitamins absorbed through your skin and the science behind the vitamin patch.
What Is a Vitamin Patch?
The fancy name for the vitamin patch is topical delivery system. Basically, that means the nutrients are delivered through the skin. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first topical patch for treating motion sickness back in 1979. Since then, the agency has approved patches to help people quit smoking and prevent pregnancy.
The vitamin patch works in similar ways. Nutrients are loaded onto the patch which is then applied to the skin, just like a sticker.
The vitamin patch allows nutrients to pass through your skin directly into your bloodstream. In this way, it bypasses the digestive system. Why is that helpful? It has everything to do with the way our bodies absorb nutrients.
The Digestive Process
The nutrients our body needs fall into two, fundamental categories, macronutrients and micronutrients.
There are five types of macronutrients:
Fats and cholesterol
There are two, basic categories of micronutrients:
Macronutrients serve as your body’s fuel sources. That’s why we need to eat a certain amount of protein and carbs to keep up our energy. Micronutrients are the elements that help release the energy in the macronutrients.
But, neither kind of nutrient will help us if our bodies don’t absorb them. That’s where our digestive system comes into play. When you eat a sandwich, it would just sit in your stomach and do virtually nothing if your digestive system didn’t process it or absorb it.
It’s the absorption process that allows your body to use the nutrients in food for fuel. Think of it this way: when you put gas in your car, the gas sits in the tank. It could sit there forever if you didn’t start the engine and allow the car to process the gas and use that fuel.
As your body digests food, it absorbs the nutrients and uses them for fuel or energy.
The Importance of Vitamins
Did you know your body needs about 30 vitamins, minerals, and dietary components but can’t make them? That’s why we need to eat the right foods and take the right vitamins and minerals through supplements.
All those nutrients help us heal, they protect our immune systems and they can defend our bones against breaks. Here are some examples of important vitamins and how they help us:
Vitamin B9, also called folic acid, helps to prevent birth defects when taken throughout pregnancy.
Vitamin B12 helps with our metabolism. It also helps build red blood cells and maintain the central nervous system.
Vitamin C helps build and maintain healthy teeth and gums. It also helps the body absorb iron.
Vitamins and other nutrients even offer some anti-aging benefits. They reduce wrinkles and minimize the risk of age-related diseases.
Vitamins Absorbed Through a Patch
The vitamin patch bypasses the digestive system to allow nutrients to flow directly into the bloodstream through the skin. There are a number of advantages to atopical delivery system compared to a pill.
For one thing, people using a patch can avoid unpleasant side effects like nausea sometimes associated with vitamins in pill form. The patch also provides a continuous delivery of the vitamins, rather than a single dose.
The patch is also helpful for the 40 percent of adults who have trouble swallowing pills. With the patch, they can simply peel and stick.
Additionally, a number of factors can affect the way our bodies obtain the nutrients we need from food, making the patch a more effective way to get our vitamins.
Factors affecting digestion can include:
Stress can cause excess stomach acid. That can lead to something called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). An over-abundance of stomach acid can interfere with digestion and make it difficult for some patients to get the vitamins and minerals their bodies need.
Some medications, even over-the-counter drugs, can interfere with the absorption of some vitamins. For example, corticosteroids can affect the way our bodies absorb calcium and vitamin D.
Anti-acids taken to relieve heartburn can also interfere with our body’s digestive process.
Alcohol can damage the lining of the stomach and prevent the body from processing food effectively. That’s why some doctors caution their patients to drink in moderation to avoid the risk of becoming nutrient-deficient.
There’s a reason the companies that make sports drinks use athletes in their commercials. Intense workouts can be dehydrating, draining the body of valuable minerals. When you sweat, you lose water and electrolytes. Sports drinks are often consumed to replace them.
How Do I Use the Vitamin Patch?
You apply the patch to clean skin anywhere on your body. Most people find that the upper arm works well, but you can apply it to your leg or even your stomach if you want.
You aren’t limited to a specific time of day, either. The important thing is to find a schedule that works for you. You can apply the patch first thing in the morning, at lunch or at bedtime.
Each patch should be replaced every eight hours. The patches typically come in a 30-day supply. Some patients wear more than one patch at a time, if they’re taking more than one vitamin. For example, a patient could use a B12 patch along with a calcium patch and wear them at the same time.
Vitamins absorbed through a patch may be the perfect solution for anyone who needs an alternative to pills or shots. It allows the user to avoid side-effects from pills, since the vitamins are absorbed through the skin. Patches are even available for children 12 and older.
We would love to talk with you about your nutritional needs and how we can help. Please contact us any time by email or phone.