In the pharmaceutical industry, several techniques are used to enclose medicines in a shell known as ‘capsule’. This process is referred to as encapsulation and allows capsules to be used as oral medications. Capsules can be hard-shelled or soft-shelled.
Traditional capsules are principally made from gelatin, which is a common ingredient in medicines and food products formed by boiling the skin and bones of cows and pigs.On the other hand, soft-shelled capsules contain supplements made up of oil, liquids or active ingredients suspended in the oil. Gelatin capsules are a smart choice for arthritis patients as the collagen in the gelatin can provide relief from joint pain. These capsules are also effective in improving hair condition, supporting weight loss and helping a patient recover from sports injury. Gelatin-based capsules are widely available in the market as they are cheap to produce.
According to FDA, the intake of gelatin in food is safe although there is no standard dosage. However, capsules made from gelatin carry some side effects too. They are reported to cause indigestion, upset and bloated stomach, hypersensitivity, exposure to toxins leading to gastric problems, and their excessive consumption can also cause kidney and liver damage. The protein from gelatin cannot be used by the body due to its incomplete form.
In order to avoid problems arising from gelatin intake, vegetarian capsules are an ideal choice as they are made by forming cellulose coming from pine instead of animal parts. Although veggie caps are costlier to produce, their popularity is increasing because they don’t hurt the religious sentiments of many people. These capsules contain two ingredients – purified water and Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC), and are completely natural carrying no negative impact on your health.
Vegetarian-based capsules can be filled with liquid, gel or powder contents and contain no preservatives, sugar, starch or any other added ingredients. They can be easily consumed by our digestive system and are generally GMO free.
Maintaining good hygiene and leading an active life can greatly help you in avoiding the intake of capsules at all. Stay fit, Stay Healthy!