A liquid supplement is a dietary supplement which comes in a liquid form. There are several different types of liquid supplements, and varying applications for such supplements. As a general rule, people who are able to eat independently and who are eating a balanced diet should not need nutritional supplementation. Supplementation is necessary, however, for people who are not meeting their nutritional needs, whether this is because they are eating a poor diet, because their bodies are having trouble absorbing nutrition, or because they are experiencing frequent vomiting, nausea, and other barriers to proper nutrition.
One form of liquid supplement is a liquid vitamin supplement. These supplements can be taken plain, or mixed with food or drink. The composition of the supplement can vary, ranging from a supplement which provides a specific vitamin to a blend which is intended to supplement one's overall vitamin intake. These supplements are best taken with food, if possible, because they are better absorbed when they are consumed with food.
Another type of liquid supplement is a supplement which provides a blend of vitamins and minerals in the form of a shake or drink which is intended to be consumed independently, without food. This type of supplement is designed to be used in addition to regular meals, for people who have trouble eating enough. It may also be taken with meals in some cases. Liquid supplements of this type are used by cancer patients and many other people with nutritional deficiencies, such as people recovering from eating disorders.
When using a liquid supplement, some caution is advised. It is important to read the label carefully to see what type of supplementation is being provided, and to get a doctor's recommendation about dietary needs. The time at which a supplement is taken can also impact how well the body absorbs it, which makes it important to time supplementation for optimal times of day. Supplements are also not designed to be someone's sole source of nutrition, and must be balanced with a healthy diet.
Many hospitals have liquid supplements on hand for their patients, and they can also be purchased through pharmacies and health food stores. People who need liquid supplementation should get complete directions from a doctor or nutritionist about how and when to use the supplement. Individuals who are concerned that their dietary needs are not currently being met should talk to a doctor about supplementation and dietary modifications before starting to use a liquid supplement, in case there are special precautions or concerns which may need to be observed.