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FAQ-Absorption/When to take supplements
General averages of rates/ratios when consuming herbs

Q-How long does a capsule take to dissolve?

A-Typically the average is up to 20 minutes, some sources have at 5-10 minutes while others say 20-30 minutes. Extracts 1 to 4 minutes

Q-What are typical absorption results?

A-For skin application- 60%

A-Liquid- 98%

A-capsule- 10-20%

Q-What is the capsule to extract ratio?

A-20 to 1, meaning it would take 20 capsules to = 1 teaspoon of extract


Q-When is the best time to take an herb?

A-In general herbs are best taken on an empty stomach

When to supplement (timing)

Hormones are released every 90 minutes, the binding of receptors takes 30-45 minutes upon activation. The process of supplementing should match that cycle (e.g. supplement every 4 hrs to correspond with the cycle rather than taking all at once, or in large dose).
Ok, understanding how your herbals diffuse might help explain why some may have a harder time with absorption. We mentioned before a few things about ways to affect the absorption, without getting too technical lets try to explain a few basics.

1) First is A.D.M.E.,
  • Absorption - the process of a substance entering the blood circulation.
  • Distribution - the dispersion or dissemination of substances throughout the fluids and tissues of the body.
  • Metabolization (or biotransformation, or inactivation) – the recognition by the organism that a foreign substance is present and the irreversible transformation of parent compounds into daughter metabolites.
  • Excretion - the removal of the substances from the body. In rare cases, some drugs irreversibly accumulate in body tissue.

The four criteria all influence the drug levels and kinetics of drug exposure to the tissues and hence influence the performance and pharmacological activity of the compound as a drug. (Obviously it herbs)

2) Pharmacokinetics describes how the body affects a specific drug after administration through the mechanisms of absorption and distribution, as well as the chemical changes of the substance in the body (e.g. by metabolic enzymes such as cytochrome P450 or glucuronosyltransferase enzymes), and the effects and routes of excretion of the metabolites of the drug.

3) Saponins- Saponins are basically phyto-chemicals which are found in most of the vegetables, beans and herbs. The well known sources of saponins are soybeans, peas. (Steroidal saponins are a steroid "building block" that are a blueprint for the body to create its own steroids.)

Saponins may improve absorption and elimination of drugs, altering the blood levels and rate of change of drug levels; strongly acid or alkaline herbs may alter absorption of drugs.

4) P450 enzyme-Cytochrome-P450 enzymes are present in most tissues of the body, and play important roles in hormone synthesis and breakdown (including estrogen and testosterone synthesis and metabolism), cholesterol synthesis, and vitamin D metabolism

Grapefruit juice and herbs that inhibit CYP enzyme system can result in much higher levels of drugs in the bloodstream, and longer persistence of the drugs.

CYPs metabolize thousands of endogenous and exogenous chemicals. Some CYPs metabolize only one (or a very few) substrates, such as CYP19 (aromatase),

5) ADMINISTRATION, (just a few for NBE)

A) Sublingual
Certain drugs are best given beneath the tongue or retained in the cheek pouch and are absorbed from these regions into the local circulation. These vascular areas are ideal for lipid-soluble drugs that would be metabolized in the gut or liver, since the blood vessels in the mouth bypass the liver (do not undergo first pass liver metabolism), and drain directly into the systemic circulation. This route is usually reserved for nitrates and certain hormones.

b) Oral
By far the most common route. The passage of drug from the gut into the blood is influenced by biologic and physicochemical factors and by the dosage form. For most drugs, two- to five-fold differences in the rate or extent of gastrointestinal absorption can occur, depending on the dosage form. These two characteristics, rate and completeness of absorption, comprise bioavailability. Generally, the bioavailability of oral drugs follows the order: solution > suspension > capsule > tablet > coated tablet.

C) Topical-
A topical medication is a medication that is applied to body surfaces such as the skin or mucous membranes to treat ailments via a large range of classes including but not limited to creams, foams, gels, lotions and ointments.

D) Rectal
The administration of suppositories is usually reserved for situations in which oral administration is difficult. This route is more frequently used in small children. The rectum is devoid of villi, thus absorption is often slow.

Everyone has different Metabolism, some slow and some fast, that's the reason for the post. We can talk about the reasons why in another thread or in this one.

Any concerns about interactions should be addressed with your physician before starting any program.
When to supplement (timing)

Typically, hormones are released every 90 minutes, the binding of receptors takes 30-45 minutes upon activation. The process of supplementing Should match that cycle (e.g. supplement every 4 hrs to correspond with the cycle rather than taking all at once, or in large dose).

For further information about timing and receptors see the following.

Receptor Regulation (how the timing of hormones work)

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