Health

What are sublingual supplements?

Water for Health shares the interesting backstory behind Frunutta, the Smaller Vitamin Company, whose sublingual tablets make it easier for those at risk of nutritional deficiencies, such as vegans, vegetarians and those with autism, to supplement their diets and stay healthy.

Many companies have an interesting backstory, and Frunutta – the Smaller Vitamin Company – is no different.

The story starts with Dr. Ali Alavi, Frunutta’s co-founder. The father to an autistic child, Dr. Alavi was understandably keen to nourish his son the best way he could. You see, nutritional deficiencies are all too common among children with autism due to abnormal eating behaviours and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Ensuring a healthy intake of nutrients is absolutely vital if proper physical and cognitive development is to be achieved. Whether it’s calcium to build bones and teeth, or iron to construct healthy blood, youngsters – and indeed adults – need these nutrients in appreciable amounts.Frunutta_VitD3_5000_1024x1024

When obtaining vitamins and minerals from food proved problematic, Dr. Alavi resorted to vitamin supplements – only to learn that his son was averse to swallowing tablets and capsules.

Though it greatly pained him to do so, Dr. Alavi was left with just one option: to inject his son with the important vitamins he required on a weekly basis. Intravenous vitamin therapy is entirely effective for correcting deficiencies, it should be said, but the process proved to be heart-wrenching for both father and son. There had to be a better way.

As Dr. Alavi investigated alternative methods, the seeds of Frunutta slowly began to bear fruit. He realised that sublingual vitamins would be cheaper and more convenient than going the intravenous route. Commonly used in hospital emergency rooms, sublingual tablets are placed under the tongue, where they quickly dissolve and enter the bloodstream.Frunutta Vitamin B12_1024x1024

Because they are not required to fight through the digestive tract and survive the harshly acidic conditions of the stomach, sublingual tablets are quite a bit smaller than traditional tablets. Take away the protective shellacs, added sugars, artificial colours, fillers and other ingredients and you’re left with – what else? – pure vitamin. Frunutta vitamins contain all of what you need and none of what you don’t.

Unlike the other methods, sublingual supplements went down a treat with Dr. Alavi’s son, and after teaming up with a small group of pioneering doctors and scientists, the Frunutta brand was born. Not only would sublingual vitamins and minerals help autistic children, but they would ensure adults avoided common nutritional deficiencies brought about by malabsorption.

Sublingual vitamins would also represent a handy alternative to tricky-to-swallow pills or capsules. After all, it can be a pain to gulp one or more daily vitamin tablets if you’re already using some form of medication. Factor in omega-3 capsules and any other natural supplement (glutathione, probiotics) and you could quite easily be consuming half a dozen pills per day; maybe more!

Along with his research and development team, Dr. Alavi built Frunutta from the ground up in the United States, intending to offer the benefits his son had experienced to as many as he could reach. Surely there was a market out there for vitamins devoid of preservatives, hydrogenated oils, PCBs, talc, sugar? Surely intravenous wasn’t the only option for those wishing to cut the digestive system out of the picture?

As it turned out, the surgeon was correct: sublingual supplements have grown in popularity in recent years, and the Frunutta range is now available in the UK exclusively from Water for Health. Eight supplements are available in total, including a high-strength sublingual vitamin D3, sublingual vitamin B12 and sublingual vitamin C.

Vitamin D3, which plays a key role in immune, skeletal and cardiovascular health, is especially important to supplement during the autumn and winter months. However, those who don’t get enough sun throughout the year are also likely to be deficient. The National Institute for Healthcare and Excellence reckons one in five adults (and one in six kids) may have low vitamin D status.

Frunutta’s sublingual Vitamin D3 provides a generous dose of 5,000 i.u. per tablet, identical to the daily amount advised by the Vitamin D Council (for adults). The same organisation recommend that infants receive 1,000 i.u. per day, and children 1,000 i.u. per 25 lbs of body weight. Helpfully, Frunutta have a second strength of supplement for youngsters which contains a 1,000 i.u. dosage.

Vitamin B12, meanwhile, is an important supplement for vegetarians and vegans, since plants neither make nor require the nutrient. The best dietary sources of B12 – which is needed for the nervous system, the brain and the immune system – are in the carnivore’s palate: foods such as meat, fish, poultry, milk, eggs and cheese.

As a consequence, those who favour a plant-based diet must rely on fortified foods, supplements or a combination of both. Frunutta’s sublingual Vitamin B12 is methylcobalamin, the most bioavailable and readily absorbed form, and each quick-absorbing tablet provides a generous 1,000 mcg dosage.

Whatever deficiency you’re trying to avoid, Frunutta’s “just vitamin” policy helps them stand out from the crowd. If you’re keen to avoid the artificial ingredients which too often creep into the diet, or if you just want to benefit from the quick absorption of sublingual tablets, give them a try.

Health

Could taking vitamins during pregnancy reduce the risk of autism?

New research has found that women who took multivitamins and folic acid either before or during pregnancy were significantly less likely to have a child who went on to develop autism spectrum disorder.
The study (featured in JAMA Psychiatry) followed 45,300 Israeli children (of which around half were girls) born in 2003-2007 and checked for a diagnosis of autism up until January 2015. During this time, 572 (1.3%) children received a diagnosis of autism.
Dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton of the Health and Food Supplements Information Service said: “The results showed a 61% reduced risk of autism when mothers had taken either a multivitamin and/or folic acid supplement prior to becoming pregnant. It was also found that mothers who took these vitamin supplements during pregnancy were 73% less likely to have a child who went on to be diagnosed as autistic.
“While this is an observational study and we need to be cautious, it is an important finding which contributes to our body of knowledge on factors linked with autism.
“Around 75% of women of childbearing age in the UK have an inadequate folate status putting their children at risk of neural tube disorders, such as spina bifida. Only a quarter of women take the recommended folic acid supplements before conception and in the first trimester of pregnancy. It is possible, given these new findings, that a lack of key nutrients may also be an issue for autism risk”.
“According to autism charities, over 695,000 people in the UK may be autistic, with a prevalence rate of 1.1% in children. Taking a daily multivitamin is a useful way of ensuring that women have the nutrients they require. If planning a pregnancy, a daily folic acid supplement of 400 micrograms should be added to this.”