Vegetable capsules provide a convenient alternative for those who cannot eat meat or meat products. They offer all the benefits of a typical capsule without the issues associated with dietary restrictions.
Capsules are two-piece enclosures that are typically made from gelatin. The capsule contains active ingredients for medications or supplements.
Compared to tablets, capsules have several advantages. First, people can easily swallow them. Capsules also break down more quickly in the digestive system.
If you can’t swallow a tablet, consider trying a capsule. You can easily open them and empty their contents into food or beverages.
Vegetable capsules are similar to gelatin capsules with a few main differences related to their composition.
Overview of Vegetable Capsules
Today, there are many people that choose to eliminate meat from their diets.
The reasons for doing so range from environmental concerns to religious considerations and health issues.
According to a recent Gallup poll, there are millions of Americans that are vegans or vegetarians. Younger people are more likely to vegetarian than people over 50.
In fact, sales of plant-based food products increased by 8.1% in 2017. Total sales were more than $3.1 billion.
These facts demonstrate the need for plant-based alternatives to the typical capsule.
What They’re Made of
Vegetarian capsules are typically made of vegetable cellulose.
There are several different types of vegetable cellulose that make up vegetable capsules.
One of these materials is hypromellose. This type of cellulose comes from softwood trees, such as pine, spruce and fir trees.
In particular, such trees are grown in the Northern Hemisphere in temperate climates. However, they can grow in both cold and warm environments with sufficient water and quality soil.
Manufacturers use hypromellose in many commercial products. It functions as a popular alternative to animal gelatin. In addition to its use in vegetable capsules, it functions as a binder or coating in tablets.
Because of its composition, hypromellose is a suitable substance for capsules. It can delay the release of active ingredient into the digestive tract.
Advantages of Vegetable Capsules
Vegetable capsules are the perfect vegetarian alternative to regular capsules.
They provide all of the quality that comes from the gelatin tablet without the animal products.
Vegetable capsules are also tasteless. It’s hard to tell the difference between a vegetarian and a gelatin capsule.
Anyone who cannot eat gelatin made from animal products because of environmental, health or dietary restrictions should consider vegetable capsules.
Like gelatin capsules, vegetable capsules are perfect for digestion and can slowly release the active ingredients in a capsule as need. In addition, many people use vegetable capsules in both powdered and gel forms. There are no clear limitations in terms of usage.
The capsules are generally Kosher and Halal certified. Therefore, those with religious dietary restrictions prefer them.
The capsules come in many different sizes and colors.
Gelatin Capsules Compared
When it comes to capsules, gelatin is the most common type.
This is how manufacturers originally made capsules and how they have generally made them over time.
Gelatin comes from cows and pigs. To make it, you boil the hooves, skin, and bones of the animal to create a gel-like material.
This process releases collagen from the animal tissue. After boiling, the substance cools. Gelatin goes through a significant amount of processing. Therefore, it is not officially an animal product, according to some people.
However, many strict vegetarians will avoid gelatin because it originates from animals.
Advantages of Gelatin Capsules
There are several clear advantages related to gelatin capsules.
First, they are very inexpensive. You can easily purchase large quantities of these capsules at a relatively low price.
Vegetable capsules tend to be more expensive because the materials are more costly.
The capsules also come in a variety of colors and sizes. Gelatin is easy to make and shape into different forms. It is also odorless.
Gelatin itself has several health benefits, including improving skin health and digestive functions and easing joint pain.
Hard-Shelled vs. Soft-Shelled Capsules
There are two types of capsules to note. The first is known as a “hard-shelled” capsule. This type of capsule contains a dry or powdered active ingredient.
The hard-shelled capsule is composed of two halves. The “body” contains the active ingredient, and the “cap” seals the top. An automated manufacturing process allows to take place seamlessly.
With hard-shelled capsules, you can remove the cap and empty the contents of the capsule into food or beverages.
The other type of capsule is the “soft-shelled” capsule.
This is a single-piece capsule that can include liquid active ingredients. Some people might also refer to soft-shelled capsules as liquid gels.
Soft-shelled capsules are good for increasing the permeability of the drug. The drug more evenly distributes through the body.
Both hard-shelled and soft-shelled capsules are made of gelatin.
Similarities between Vegetable and Gelatin Capsules
There are clear differences between gelatin and vegetable capsules in terms of how they are made.
However, there are still some similarities between these two types of capsules.
You may also consider both types of capsules in comparison to tablets. Many people prefer capsules over tablets because they are easy to swallow.
Capsules keep for a significant amount of time without going bad. Both gelatin and vegetarian capsules store easily for long periods of time.
In addition, both of these capsules are odorless and even tasteless. There is no need to worry about medication or supplements with an unpleasant taste or smell.
Finally, both vegetable and gelatin capsules dissolve easily in the digestive system. They are much easier to swallow than tablets.
Given these similarities and differences, it’s important for each person to consider which type of capsule is better for them.
Choosing Between Capsules
Vegetable capsules are great for vegetarians, but they might not be suitable for everyone.
Gelatin capsules offer the same benefits and are available at a lower price.
Generally, if you don’t have a problem eating animal products, there is no reason to avoid gelatin capsules.
They offer great quality and can be easily absorbed by your digestive system.
Get Your Capsule Products Manufactured With SMP Nutra
With the full capability to manufacture any nutraceutical formula, we are more than qualified to manufacture for you and your brand. Check out our stock capsule products we offer.
Will is a Co-Founder of SMP Nutra, founder of GetKnownPros, and owns a handful of supplement brands. Will has extensive knowledge of trends in the nutraceutical industry after contract-manufacturing for hundreds of brands. Will has spent the last decade learning the best online marketing & brand-building techniques for supplement & vitamin brands and enjoys sharing this unique knowledge with his nutra-entrepreneur community.