- Revealed, my version of The Matrix… will you take the red or the blue pill… or NEITHER?
- What to do if you find a whole food supplement hard to swallow.
- 2 tricks to help swallow pills easily
In the sci-fi film The Matrix the hero, Neo (played by Keanu Reeves), suspects that something is wrong with reality.
The world is glitching like a faulty computer programme, so he tries to find out why.
In one of the most famous scenes, he is given a choice of two pills to swallow.
- The RED PILL will reveal the horrific truth, in which humankind has been enslaved in a giant computer simulation.
- The BLUE PILL will wipe out all his suspicions so that he can carry on life in the simulation without worry.
Obviously, Neo chooses the red pill.
Otherwise it would have been a very boring film!
However, I’ve come up with a different, more realistic version of The Matrix
In this version of the film, Neo cannot take EITHER of the two pills.
He just stares at them, shaking his head.
“I… I…. have trouble swallowing”, he says, nervously. “Those pills are far too large for me.”
And so there’s an awkward scene in which they have to crush the pills up and then go find some water to help him swallow them down.
But it is not as ludicrous as the plot of The Matrix to consider that someone might be alarmed at the prospect of swallowing a pill.
In fact, there is a 30%-40% chance that Keanu Reeve’s character will have had trouble doing so.
This is the estimated percentage who either have Dysphagia (the name for having difficulty swallowing large objects) or a phobia of swallowing pills.
The problem comes when the 25 pairs of muscles in our mouth and throat don’t all work together in harmony.
It can lead to choking, gagging, vomiting or that horrible phenomenon when liquid goes the wrong way and gets into your lungs. This can actually cause a form of pneumonia, so it’s not always just a matter of spluttering inconvenience.
Most GPs underestimate the number of patients who have this trouble, assuming that whatever pill they prescribe will be fine.
If you are one of them, then remember that you should never chew, break, or crush pills without consulting your doctor first.
It can change the way your medication works and even cause more side effects.
So do bring this up this issue next time you talk to your GP.
Of course, it’s not only medicine that you might need to swallow.
The problem with food supplements
Dysphagia can also mean that many people don’t get to take vitamin and mineral supplements, because they can’t face the ordeal of taking them.
Which would be a shame!
Particular for older people who sometimes need to top up those nutrients they cannot as easily get from their daily diet (and retain in their bodies.)
For example, as I mentioned in my letter last Sunday, one of the symptoms of having an iron deficiency is dysphagia.
Which can put them in an awkward position.
Because in order to top up their iron, so they can solve the dysphagia, they need to swallow a pill or capsule.
Swallowing to cure a problem with swallowing!
As I also mentioned in that letter last weekend, there are a lot of iron supplements in the supermarkets and discount stores, but these are to be avoided.
They don’t work as well because they are cheap synthetic products with bulking agents in them, so they get flushed through your body.
So you really need supplements derived from whole foods.
These capsules tend to be much larger, which is great, because they work better.
Not so great if you hate taking large pills.
If you’re one of those people, you might be interested to learn that we have two forms of whole food iron supplement in the shop.
The first, as recommended last weekend, is the Together Health supplement, which in my view is the Rolls Royce of supplements (they’re so good). You can find out more about them here.
The only downside is that it’s a large capsule…
So I thought you might like to know about our other iron supplement, True Food Easy Iron, which is still great, and comes in smaller capsule.
With ingredients sourced from wholefoods, this supplement contains added B vitamins, beta glucans and amino acids for an extra healthy boost.
You should have fewer problems with swallowing this one, so it’s worth a look: Easy to Swallow Iron Supplements
2 tricks to help swallow pills
A study at the University of Heidelberg in Germany has revealed two tricks that can help you get the pills down more easily.
- First, fill a water bottle.
- Next, put the capsule or tablet on your tongue and then close your lips around the bottle opening.
- Now suck back, without releasing your lips from the bottle or letting air get in.
Apparently this can increase the ease of swallowing by 60%.
- Put the capsule of tablet on your tongue.
- Take a sip of water but don’t swallow.
- Now tilt your chin down toward your chest.
- You should then swallow the capsule and water in this position.
This method made swallowing 89% easier in the German experiments.
So try these and see what happens!
I’ll be back with more at the weekend.