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August 20, 2022

Optimal Proper Pill Popping Posture!

By: Cathy Peterson

pill in hand, glass of water in other hand

Everyone has likely had to swallow medication at some point in their lives. It’s a common necessity since many drugs need to be taken orally. Extract the pill from the bottle, pour your glass of water, and down the hatch. Not so fast. According to a new study published by the journal, Physics of Fluids (1) your posture and body positioning can greatly impact how fast a pill dissolves and how quickly it will start to work.

woman about to take a pill

The right side is the right side

If you need to take a pill, do so lying down, but make sure you’re on your right side. When studying how body positioning affects the absorption of pills, researchers found that when a person was lying on their right side it allowed the pill to travel to the deepest part of the stomach closer to the opening of the small intestine. They determined the pill dissolved 2.3 times faster than if the person was standing upright. (2) In simpler terms of math, your headache tablet will take 10 minutes to dissolve while laying on your right side, compared to 23 minutes if you remain standing. (3) If you take your meds lying on your left side, deemed the worst position, it could take 10 times as long to dissolve compared to your right side. Back to the math: it takes 10 minutes to dissolve when lying down on your right side, 23 minutes to dissolve from an upright standing position, and an alarming 100 minutes to dissolve from lying on your left side. (4)

woman laying down on right side

We've been doing it all wrong

Researchers used a state-of-the-art “StomachSim” based on the anatomy of the human stomach to understand how effective oral medicines can be. “The findings were somewhat of a surprise for us,” noted Rajat Mittal, a Johns Hopkins computational fluid dynamicist and engineer. “The degree of difference that we found in these different postures was certainly something that we did not expect.”

older woman about to take her pills with her coffee

An odd discovery that will help you feel better faster

Senior Author Mittal continued, “I never thought about whether I was doing it right or wrong but now I’ll definitely think about it every time I take a pill.” (5) This can be a game changer for the elderly and bedridden patients, who simply need to tweak their positioning to get relief more quickly. So whenever you’re taking medication, keep in mind that your positioning will greatly affect when it kicks in. Need to feel better faster, roll to the right!