Should you take Capsuled or Powdered supplements?

A new Biohacker faces a bit of a dilemma as they begin researching Nootropics or anti-aging supplements; should you buy capsuled or powdered stuff?

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Economics

The first major difference is that powders are cheaper. Capsuling a supplement is a tricky, time-consuming process and the manufacturers pass that cost on to you. When choosing between buying capsuled or powdered you want to do a little math…

Convenience

There’s a good reason why the masses choose capsuled supplements, they are a lot more convenient to consume. Drop a capsule or two, wash it down with a glass of water and you’re done.
Consuming powdered supplements is a bit more of a process, with many supplements you need to take a specific dosage consistently so you need to measure out 300 milligrams, 500 milligrams or a gram (or whatever the clinically efficacious is dosage) with a scale. If you’re committed to rigorous accuracy in your biohacking you need to measure it out with a scale every time, which can get time-consuming but you might not be, then you can eyeball the dose after you’ve measured it out a few times.
Often powdered supplements come with a helpful little spoon that you can use to scoop out the powder you can eyeball the dose in the scoop but it’s still not quite as accurate as measuring it out every time.
If you’re taking something like the racetams which are potent (and sometimes pricy!) at even small dosages accuracy is important.
Capsules contain a consistent dose of a given ingredient, if you have more money than time and consistency of dosage is important, capsuled is better.

When it comes to organic Nutriceuticals and adaptogenic herbs, I prefer powdered over capsuled.

  • Herbal supplements are much nicer capsuled. They have a hearty, earthy taste that makes for a great Adaptogenic tea.
  • Their absorption is better when taken as a hot tea.
  • With herbs and Nutriceuticals, precision dosage is less important. You don’t need to do exactly 2.75 grams of Ashwaghanda daily.
  • With powdered herbs, you don’t need to worry that an extra 500 milligrams are going to result in overstimulation or an undesirable side effect. You can eyeball the dose, I take about a half teaspoon of Horny Goat Weed daily to naturally support my testosterone levels, but before an epic horizontal session with Mrs. Roseland, I’ll do a heaping full teaspoon. Unlike pharmaceuticals like Viagra, you don’t have to worry about an overdose of herbs resulting in a penis amputation (yikes!)

Absorption

Usually, there’s not a big difference in the absorption of the ingredient between capsuled and powdered.
But you’ll want to do a little research and find out if Biohackers (on Reddit or Longecity.org) or the scientists conducting human clinical trials (listed on Pubmed) are taking the supplement sublingually — holding the supplement under your tongue so it absorbs into the blood vessels there. If the clinical or anecdotal evidence leads you to believe that the sublingual absorption is better, you’ll want to dump the powdered ingredient under your tongue.

Stacks and Multivitamins

Around the internet, you’ll find a lot of stacks advertised; multivitamin cocktails of different vitamins, nutrients, and Nootropic ingredients combined in capsules. You actually want to be a little more skeptical of these products…

  • Often these products offer NO proof that they actually contain the advertised ingredients.
  • Worse are those one-a-day multivitamins that you see advertised on TV and sold at the grocery store. They come in these solid vitamin tablets that are infamously hard for us to digest (they often end up clogging plumbing or get stuck in our bodies and show up in X-Rays) and researchers at John Hopkins, evaluating data from large-scale clinical research, warn that multi-vitamins provide little real health benefit.
  • As a rule of thumb, before buying or consuming a stack or multivitamin, demand to see a certificate of analysis verifying the purity of the individual ingredient. There’s a couple of excellent Nootropic stacks I’ve tried, they weren’t cheap as they contained real high-end, high absorption ingredients (which they proved with COAs). But generally, I prefer and recommend single-ingredient products because when you take a stack of multiple things you can’t really draw subjective causality between an effect and an ingredient.
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Risks

A concern with powders is confusing them, as many of them look nearly identical. Insufficiently attentive Biohackers could actually kill themselves by confusing powdered Piracetam and caffeine, for example. I have NO IDEA why anyone would want to take pure powdered caffeine but apparently a handful of people kill themselves yearly this way.

Written by

Adventuring philosopher, Pompous pontificator, Writer, K-Selected Biohacker, Tantric husband, Raconteur & Smart Drug Dealer 🇺🇸

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