Your Posture Can Determine How Your Body Absorbs Drugs

Your posture can significantly affect the way your body absorbs medication, with bad posture delaying effects of a drug by as much as an hour, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

What to know:

  • How a swallowed drug is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract depends on the medication’s ingredients, the stomach’s physiologic environment at the time it arrives in your system, and your posture.

  • When a pill reaches the stomach, the motion of the stomach walls and the flow of contents inside help determine the rate at which it dissolves.

  • Changes in posture can potentially have an up to 83% effect on the emptying rate of the dissolved active pharmaceutical ingredient into the duodenum where it is absorbed.

  • Positioning experiments show that taking pills while lying on the right side is the best option for absorption, sending pills into the deepest part of the stomach where it can dissolve in just 10 minutes; in contrast, pills could take 23 minutes to dissolve in an upright posture and over 100 minutes when lying on the left side.

  • Even small changes in stomach conditions could significantly affect dissolution — for example, when someone’s gut isn’t functioning at its best because of conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or gastroparesis.

This is a summary of the article, “Computational Modeling of Drug Dissolution in the Human Stomach: Effects of Posture and Gastroparesis on Drug Bioavailability,” published by Physics of Fluid on August 9, 2022. The full article can be found on

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