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Ask the Nutritionist: Are there health supplements for people who can’t take pills?

In her weekly column, Bradford West Gwillimbury licensed nutritionist Nonie De Long shares tips for people who don’t like to take pills...
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Dear Nutritionist,

I enjoyed reading your column about how to monitor your health and I saw your column in Alive and Fit and passed it on to my neighbour. I want to make some changes to my diet to get healthier this year. I’m looking at supplements but I have a problem with swallowing pills. I find it very difficult and know I won’t follow through if I have to. Are there any ways to get vitamins and such without taking pills?



Dear Peg,

Thank you for reading and sharing my articles!  And your question is great, as well!

You’ll be happy to know there are other ways you can get extra nutrients, aside from taking pills. You can find a number of quality supplements available in liquid or chewable or powdered form and I actually favour these supplements and food based nutritional products in my practice when possible. I know of liquid B complexes, liquid vitamin D3 drops, liquid iron supplements, liquid probiotic and liquid cod liver oil suspensions. I also know of liquid multi mineral and vitamin complexes, as well as chewable vitamins and powdered minerals. Some are available as sublingual sprays or drops. There are many more. I’ve taken the time to put together a list of some of the high quality more popular supplement formulations I recommend in my online dispensary. 

I also love a few all-in-one meal replacement protein shakes. These boast a complete greens supplement within the formulas and are super nutritious. I recommend them more than any other product because they tick all the boxes and make for easy, no-fuss meals that can be made on the fly. They can be flavoured multiple ways, to make them more enjoyable, but no matter the flavour, the nutrient density is there. No other product delivers so much all at once in my opinion. And I love that they are food based. My favourites are:

Progressive VegEssential All in One

  • Vegan protein meal replacement with greens

  • Very blendable and palatable

  • 6-8 servings of veggies in each scoop

  • 27g plant protein in each scoop

  • High ORAC score (antioxidant power)

  • Over 100% of 13 vitamins and minerals in one scoop

  • Great results with this in my practice

Progressive WheyEssential All in One

  • Over 80 ingredients

  • Very blendable and palatable

  • New Zealand based whey protein, which is the cleanest

  • Contains vitamins, minerals, omega 3’s, fruit concentrates, fibres, antioxidants

  • Over 100%RDA of 13 vitamins and minerals in one scoop

  • High ORAC score (antioxidant power)

  • Only 8g carbs in one serving - suitable for keto and low carb diets


  • Vegan, non-GMO, plant based nutrition since 2004

  • The most well known vegan all in one

  • Not as blendable - bit of a gritty texture

  • Gluten-free, free of preservatives and unnatural ingredients

  • Full of incredible quality superfoods

  • Co-developed by triathlete Brendan Brazier

  • A BCorp company

  • Memberships available online to save on orders and get samples of new products

I also believe in taking a daily dose of detoxifying greens for added nutrition. My favourites are these two because I see noticeable health improvements when clients start using them and they taste great so there is no gagging when you’re trying to get it down.

Greens + Daily Detox

  • Contains a full serving of Greens +, as well as detoxifying nutrients and probiotics

  • Great tasting if you get the apple flavour

  • The #1 superfood in Canada, backed by 9 clinical studies

  • Blends easily into smoothies and drinks

  • Founder and CEO Stewart Brown hails from Toronto

  • The first natural health supplement company to become a BCorp company

  • Can get at Shoppers or in my online dispensary 

All Greens Superfood Powder

  • Contains 65 detoxifying greens, fruits, and veggies

  • Great tasting, but sweet

  • Blends easily into smoothies and drinks

  • Made by Webber Naturals

  • 100 servings per container, so great value

  • Can get at Costco or online

A few other liquid formulations I regularly recommend for health are:

Cod liver oil

  • Whole food supplement

  • High in omega 3’s

  • High in vitamins A (90% of RDI) and D (113% of RDI), in good ratio

  • Studies have shown it can reduce inflammation, improve bone health, improve joint pain and arthritis symptoms, supports eye health, may reduce heart disease risk, may help with anxiety and depression, may help heal stomach ulcers (source)

Essential fatty acids

  • Fatty acids must be gotten from diet and are often deficient

  • Essential for numerous functions in the body, including brain health

  • DHA and EPA products target different areas of need

  • We don’t typically consume enough fish or EFA rich foods to get optimal amounts

Iodine from kelp 

  • Safe, food source of iodine

  • Essential nutrient for proper metabolic function

  • Supports good thyroid health

  • Supports optimal brain development in fetus during pregnancy

  • Supports IQ early in life

  • Very high rates of deficiency today

Magnesium bisglycinate

  • Studies show almost everyone is deficient in Mg

  • Helps with focus, attention, hyperactivity, anxiety, cramping, inability to relax

  • Helps with ADD/ ADHD 

  • My go to for painful menstrual cramping

  • Easy on the tummy, unlike other Mg supplements

In addition, these food based products are highly nutritious and benefit many clients I’ve seen:

Raw apple cider vinegar 

  • Available in health food stores and most grocer’s now

  • Lowers blood sugar when you add it to your water 

  • Helps with detoxification and weight loss

  • Even a tbsp per 2 cups of water can make a difference

  • Can help with people who have acid indigestion to digest food better

Collagen peptides

  • The most abundant protein in the body

  • Multiple health benefits of supplementing

  • Important for elasticity of skin, ligaments, tendons, and muscles

  • Important for strengthening bones

  • Tasteless and extremely blendable

  • Easy to add to coffee, tea for a boost in the morning

  • anti-ageing

Extra virgin coconut oil

  • The healthiest fat for speeding up metabolism

  • Contains MCT, which aids in fat loss

  • Great to cook with, stable at high heat

  • Excellent in baked goods

  • Far superior to vegetable oils for health

These are only some of the products I recommend for improving health that don’t come in pill form, Peg. But when clients come to me with health complaints and they are unable to take supplements in pills, I work with them to create custom herbal tinctures and teas, as well as compounded vitamin formulations, as necessary. You’d be surprised how many people just can’t take pills. There’s a bit of an extra expense, but for some people it’s just an essential. I am happy to work with clients where they are to meet their specific needs.

I hope this is helpful information, Peg and you find a product or two that you like from this. As always, if readers have their own health questions, I welcome them. Just send me an email at And if you’re looking for more specific health information or my client dispensary or free newsletter, check out my website.


Nonie Nutritionista