What You Need To Know About Vitamin Patches

Gone are the days when a tablet was the fastest way to get your vitamin fix. From IV drips to sprays, there are now dozens of options out there – but it’s vitamin patches which are creating the real buzz. From how they work to why they could be worth a try (particularly if you suffer with a sensitive stomach), here’s what you need to know…
ISTOCK/DANIEL HEIGHTON

What’s the latest?

Vitamin patches are the newest arrival on the supplement scene, offering a convenient way to keep your health on track. A vitamin patch may seem out there, but if you already use magnesium salts in your bath and a vitamin D spray during the winter, chances are you’re already au fait with taking supplements in alternative ways. Known as transdermal application – as opposed to say, taking a capsule orally – research shows some vitamins and minerals could be better absorbed via the skin, making them more effective. For example, a study by the Nutrition Journal found vitamin absorption via oral sprays is almost three times higher compared to capsules. Plus, when you take a tablet, it must first travel through your digestive system, where a lot of its potency can be lost due to the stomach’s acidity. In short, a vitamin patch could be the health boost you’re looking for.

So, what’s on offer?

Whether you’re looking to support your energy levels, immune system or skin health, there’s a vitamin patch that can help. Ohana is one of the UK’s leading vitamin patch brands, offering different formulas for everything from joint pain to hangovers. CEO and founder Peter Love tells us there are clear advantages to using a patch over taking a capsule. “Up to 90% of the vitamins – or nutrients – are absorbed directly by the skin when using a patch as opposed to 30% when in tablet form,” he says. “Plus, patches offer a steady absorption rate as opposed to a direct hit that can come with a tablet; they are easier to remember than capsules; and there’s no bad taste and no need to swallow, making them handy for those who dislike taking capsules. Generally, they are more convenient for an on-the-go lifestyle and are useful for travelling too.” Leading acupuncturist and wellness expert Ross J Barr, meanwhile, offers patches infused with ancient herbs – his Calm and Healing patches are bestsellers on online health emporium Victoria Health. “Patches enable a controlled, focused release of nutrients in safe quantities, and you can feel the results within a couple of minutes. The Calm patches, for example, contain safflower to soothe and reduce inflammation and white peony and peach to instantly relax mind and body.”

How do you use them?

“Wear them like you would a nicotine patch,” advises Papillon Luck, founder of JetFuel and supplement expert. “Apply your patch on clean, dry skin, before body moisturiser. Certain patches can be applied to the upper chest or the upper, outer arm, while others can be placed on the lower abdomen, hip, shoulders or back. As soon as you apply the patch on your skin, the heat generated by the body activates the formula, which moves the nutrients from the patch to the capillaries beneath the skin,” she explains. Ross also recommends applying your patch directly to the area of concern or to an acupuncture point so you can support the body at a deeper physiological level. He also recommends massaging the patch from time to time to reinvigorate the herbs and nutrients within. If you have multiple concerns, you can wear more than one patch at a time, but just be sure they don’t physically overlap.

How long should you wear them for?

It depends on the brand – different brands recommend different durations, but they can generally be worn for around eight hours, through the day or night. “If you are using a patch for pain relief, this can be particularly effective in the evening,” says Peter. “Just remember to replace your patch every 24 hours. After you’ve removed the patch, some adhesive or residue may remain on the skin, but this will wash away easily with soap and warm water.”

Up to 90% of vitamins are absorbed directly by the skin when using a patch as opposed to 30% when in tablet form.

Who should try them?

As the nutrients in a patch go directly into your bloodstream and bypass your digestive system, they could be worth trying if you are prone to gut issues when taking supplements orally. “For this reason, patches can be especially useful for sensitive stomachs and those with IBS,” adds Papillon. Plus, if you’re deficient in vitamin B or looking for a vitamin C boost, it could be worth trying a patch, she says. “Patches claim to deliver nutrients slowly, instead of in one large dose, which makes it easier for your body to utilise the vitamins. This is particularly important for water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin B complex and vitamin C, as larger doses can be easily excreted in urine,” she says.

What should you be looking for when buying vitamin patches?

Like capsules and tablets, quality matters. “When buying a vitamin patch, check to see that it has been lab tested and clinically proven, and ideally made in the UK,” Peter advises. “Always buy from a reputable brand that you can trust. When starting Ohana, we did a significant amount of market research, and found a large number of patches don’t adhere properly to the skin and fall off within a short period of time, rendering them useless, so always double check that a brand is reputable and worth the money.”

The bottom line?

If you’re looking for an alternative way to boost your health, a vitamin patch could be worth a try. But, like any supplement, it’s always better to get your nutrients from real food. At the same time, experts say that however you get your vitamin fix, the future lies in high-quality formulas, regardless the method of delivery. Just be sure to always do your research, and anything that sounds too good to be true probably is. But if you often forget to take your multivitamin or have a sensitive stomach, a vitamin patch could be just what the doctor ordered.

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For more information visit OhanaPatch.co.uk, JetFuelYou.com and RossBarr.com
 
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