Gelatin capsules, also known as gel caps or Gelatin shells, are a popular form of oral medication and dietary supplements delivery. They are made from Gelatin, a protein derived from animal sources, typically from the collagen found in the skin, bones, and connective tissues of pigs, cows, or fish.
Gelatin capsules are available in two main types: hard Gelatin capsules and soft Gelatin capsules.
Hard Gelatin Capsules: These capsules consist of two pieces that fit together. The body of the capsule holds the medication or supplement, while the cap seals it. Hard Gelatin capsules are usually clear or transparent, allowing you to see the contents inside. They are commonly used for powdered or granulated medications.
Soft Gelatin Capsules: Soft Gelatin capsules are a one-piece capsule that is filled with liquid or semi-solid substances. The Gelatin shell is more flexible and elastic, making it easier to swallow. Soft gel capsules are commonly used for oil-based medications, vitamins, and other liquid supplements.
Gelatin capsules have several advantages:
Easy to swallow: Gelatin capsules, especially soft gel capsules, are typically easier to swallow compared to tablets or other solid dosage forms.
Taste masking: Gelatin capsules can help mask the taste and odour of medications or supplements, making them more palatable for patients.
Versatility: Gelatin capsules can be filled with a wide range of substances, including powders, granules, liquids, and semi-solid formulations.
Protection: Gelatin capsules provide a protective barrier for the medication or supplement, preventing oxidation, moisture absorption, and external contamination.
It’s important to note that Gelatin capsules are not suitable for individuals who follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, as they are derived from animal sources. In recent years, alternative capsule materials made from plant-based sources or synthetic polymers have been developed to cater to those with dietary restrictions or specific preferences.
Always consult with a healthcare professional or pharmacist for specific information about the medications or supplements you are taking and their appropriate dosage forms.