Rajat Mittal research on posture while taking pills featured in Baltimore Sun
Rajat Mittal, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and ICM core faculty member, has newly published a study in Physics of Fluid that demonstrates the best way to take a pill. Posture can have a large impact on how your body absorbs medicine, and the wrong posture can impact absorption by as much as an hour.
“We were very surprised that posture had such an immense effect on the dissolution rate of a pill,” said Mittal, an expert in fluid dynamics. “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.”
The team developed a model, StomachSims, to mimic the stomach as it digests. The model is one of the first to conduct a realistic simulation of the human stomach. Using this model, the team determined that taking pills while lying on the right side was by far the best for digestion and absorption of the medicine. Lying on the right side sends pills into the deepest part of the stomach, whereas lying on the left side is demonstrably worse. If a pill takes 10 minutes to dissolve on the right side, it could take 23 minutes to dissolve in an upright posture and over 100 minutes when laying on the left side.
“For elderly, sedentary or bedridden people, whether they’re turning to the left or to the right can have a huge impact,” Mittal said. “Posture itself has such a huge impact, it’s equivalent to somebody’s stomach having a very significant dysfunction as far as pill dissolution is concerned.”
Mittal’s team continues to conduct innovative research on drug absorption, food processing in the stomach, and the effects of posture.