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Take Your Medicine: Gelatin Versus Vegetarian Capsules
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Take Your Medicine: Gelatin Versus Vegetarian Capsules

When it comes to medications and supplements, capsules are commonly the preferred method of taking them. They are fairly inexpensive, quick dissolving, and easy to fill both for home and commercial consumption. Unlike with various other methods, capsules do not involve direct adding of substances to the medication or supplement, which might compromise their efficacy.


You can find empty capsules in two distinct categories: the conventional gelatin caps and their vegetarian counterparts. It is true to say that both gelatin and vegetarian capsules can serve your needs, but it is important to know the difference between them. Understanding the benefits of each type of capsules can help you find those that better serve your needs.

Gelatin Capsules

Gelatin is the most common, original material used for capsule production. It is also the quite inexpensive and available in many forms. These capsules are available in different colours, sizes and flavours, made to suit everyone’s needs. Nevertheless, you should know that gelatin is an animal by-product that is formed from collagen, a protein obtained from connective tissues, as well as certain organs of animals, which some consumers see as a major drawback. Those with dietary or religious restrictions that forbid them from partaking of animal products won’t find it suitable to use traditional gelatin capsules, and since this population is numerous, this is a significant factor to consider. When choosing between the two types of capsules, we should also know exactly what is going to be used to fill them. The only suitable use for gelatin capsules, for instance, is with powdered medications or supplements, while liquids and other materials (such as gels) are not compatible them.

Vegetarian Capsules

One of the most obvious benefits of using vegetarian or cellulose-based capsules is that they are not made with animal byproducts. This characteristic alone makes them suitable for the people who eschew the consumption of products sourced from animals. In addition to being the obvious choice for vegetarian and vegan consumers, vegetarian capsules are acceptable for religious reasons, as well. In actual fact, they are commonly classified as Kosher and Halal products. Based on all this, they are suitable for a considerably larger customer base. These capsules are available in different colors and sizes and their application is much more flexible. Cellulose is the preferred capsule base for substances that have more of a semisolid or gel composition. Additionally, vegetarian capsules have no known potential health risks, even when consumed in a long term scenario as they are 100% natural and nontoxic. For example, biogenic Aloe Vera capsules are more soothing to the lining of your stomach and provide more smooth and efficient digestion than their gelatin counterparts filled with the same substance.


As you can see, there are different variations of both gelatin and vegetarian capsules, made to suit all your pharmaceutical and supplemental applications. Based on your preferences and living habits, you can find those suitable for practically any type of filling, from powders and semi-solids, to liquids and gels.


*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.


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