From vitamins to painkillers, many everyday remedies now come as dissolving tablets – but do they work? Two pharmacists assess some of the latest products to find out 

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Not long ago, the only effervescent tablet you’d find in the medicine cabinet was Alka-Seltzer, first made in the 1930s.

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But now there are all kinds of remedies that ‘fizz’ – they produce carbon dioxide gas when mixed with water, which helps them dissolve faster ‘so the drug is available more quickly when you swallow it’ If you take a tablet, it dissolves in the stomach,’ explains Hampshire-based pharmacist Sultan Djani.

The format allows you to fit in larger doses of active ingredients than a traditional-sized tablet, says Aidan Goggins, a pharmacist based in London.

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But are fizzy tablets better? We asked both pharmacists to rate some of the latest products we then rated.

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Pepto Soda Effervescent Tablets, £7.90 for 20 tablets, goodwillpharma.co.uk

Indigestion

Pepto Soda Effervescent Tablets, £7.90 for 20 tablets, goodwillpharma.co.uk

Claim: A lemon flavored drink with sodium bicarbonate for use ‘on the go’ to ease acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion.

Expert’s verdict: ‘When sodium bicarbonate’ [baking powder] Enters the stomach, it neutralizes the acid, turning it into water and carbon dioxide gas,’ says Sultan Djani.

‘This will relieve the discomfort, but the newly made gas can make you burp. Fizzing does not provide any additional benefits.

‘Nor in my opinion is it as helpful as rival products like Gaviscon, which contains sodium bicarbonate as well as an ingredient that forms a protective layer over the sensitive esophagus lining, preventing pain if stomach acid backs up. Is.’ 2/10

Vitabiotics Feroglobin Fizz, £5.99 for 20, hollandandbarrett.com

Vitabiotics Feroglobin Fizz, £5.99 for 20, hollandandbarrett.com

low iron

Vitabiotics Feroglobin Fizz, £5.99 for 20, hollandandbarrett.com

Claim: They contain 17mg of iron, and vitamins B6, B12 and C, plus zinc. His ‘unique formula’ has been described as ‘gentle on the stomach’.

Expert’s verdict: ‘The problem with most iron pills is that they contain the solid ferrous [iron] Salts that are difficult to absorb. Side-effects include diarrhea, constipation, and nausea, as any iron not being absorbed will irritate the lining of the intestine,’ says Aiden Goggins.

‘The fizzy format is useful because dissolving the iron will ensure it is better absorbed by the gut, so you experience fewer side effects.

‘B vitamins contribute to healthy red blood cells and vitamin C helps the body absorb iron.

‘But studies show that zinc and iron in liquid form compete to be absorbed by the same cells. So if you need iron, look for a product without zinc. 3/10

Boots Paracetamol 500mg Effervescent Tablets, £3.49 for 24, boots.com

Boots Paracetamol 500mg Effervescent Tablets, £3.49 for 24, boots.com

pain relief

Boots Paracetamol 500mg Effervescent Tablets, £3.49 for 24, boot.com

Claim: A soluble version of this pain reliever.

Expert’s verdict: ‘It’s great for people who can’t swallow pills,’ says Sultan Djani. Plus, effervescent formulations are a faster way for medications to get into your system – handy for pain relievers where you want relief as quickly as possible.

‘One thing to look for with effervescent pills is salt levels, which can be high because they contain sodium carbonate to help create the “fizz.” Here, each tablet contains 438 mg of sodium, which is equivalent to more than 1 gram of salt.’ 8/10

Woost Vitamin D 25ug Mixed Berry Effervescent Tablets, £5.50 for 20, boots.com

Woost Vitamin D 25ug Mixed Berry Effervescent Tablets, £5.50 for 20, boots.com

low vitamin d

Woost Vitamin D 25ug Mixed Berry Effervescent Tablets, £5.50 for 20, boot.com

Claim: It is absorbed ‘faster and more efficiently than conventional tablets’.

Expert’s verdict: Aidan Goggins says, ‘Since we make most of the vitamin D on our skin through sun exposure, the government recommends that we take 10 ounces each during the winter months.

‘But there is no need to have it in its radiant form as standard capsules are absorbed more effectively and rapidly and are often cheaper.’ 6/10

Leukovital D-mannose Urinary Tract Effervescent Tablet, £19.99 for 14, boots.com

Leukovital D-mannose Urinary Tract Effervescent Tablet, £19.99 for 14, boots.com

Healthspan Elite Active Hydrate, £11.99 for 40, healthspanelite.co.uk

Vitaboost Turmeric, £14.99 for 20, hollandandbarrett.com

Vitaboost Turmeric, £14.99 for 20, hollandandbarrett.com

cystitis

Leukovital D-mannose Urinary Tract Effervescent Tablet, £19.99 for 14, boot.com

Claim: D-Mannose is a starch that manufacturers call ‘E. coli attaches to the bacteria and prevents the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. These pills ‘E. Helps prevent recurrent urinary tract infections caused by ‘coli’.

Expert’s verdict: Sultan Dajani says, ‘It will not be my top choice. ‘I haven’t seen strong research to show that D-mannose can prevent E.coli from sticking to the bladder wall. Although E.coli is the most common bacterial cause of cystitis, it is not the only one.’ 3/10

post-exercise

Healthspan Elite Active Hydrate, £11.99 for 40, healthspanelite.co.uk

Claim: These citrus-flavored tablets dissolve to form a beverage containing sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium to ‘rehydrate and replenish essential minerals lost during exercise’.

Expert’s verdict: ‘Exercise – such as illness and overheating – can dehydrate our bodies, as we sweat out water and mineral salts known as electrolytes, which help keep our bodies hydrated,’ says Sultan Djani. It also controls nerve and muscle function.

‘There’s no real difference between these fizzy tablets or a traditional dissolvable powder – both get into the system quickly, but the tablets make for a nice-tasting drink.’ 9/10

joint health

Vitaboost Turmeric, £14.99 for 20, hollandandbarrett.com

Claim: Each tablet contains 212.5 mg of curcuminoids (the active compound in turmeric) and black pepper to ‘maximize absorption’ and ‘support joint health’.

Expert’s verdict: ‘This effervescent form of turmeric will absorb better than many pills,’ says Aidan Goggins.

‘The main problem with curcuminoid is that it doesn’t break down properly, so it’s difficult for the gut to absorb enough for real benefit.

‘This form has been modified to be highly soluble, so when the tablet is dissolved in water it…

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