Capsules are an important component of day to day health management. But recently an issue came up whether the capsule you are using is of vegetarian or non-vegetarian origin. Capsule shell can be divided into vegetarian and non-vegetarian origin on the basis of their origin. Gelatin capsule shells are typical of animal origin and HPMC or starch-based shells are of vegetarian origin.
Hard-shelled capsules, which are normally used for dry, powdered ingredients or miniature pellets, Both of these classes of capsules are made from aqueous solutions of gelling agents like Animal protein mainly gelatine And Non-gelatin such as Plant polysaccharides or their derivatives like carrageenans and modified forms of starch and cellulose.
Despite the great advantages, of gelatin capsules’, gelatin has several drawbacks that limit its use for capsules:
- The animal source of gelatin can be a problem for certain consumers such as vegetarians or vegans and religious or ethnic groups (Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc.) who observe dietary laws that forbid the use of certain animal products.
- Since unmodified gelatin is prone to cross-linking when in contact with aldehydes, solubility problems might be expected with certain fill formulations.
- Transparent low-color capsules are difficult to produce owing to the effect of the intrinsic Maillard reaction on gelatin color.
- The temperature and moisture sensitivity of gelatin-based soft capsules is an issue that complicates the use of soft gelatin capsules in very hot and humid regions and requires special packaging and storage conditions to ensure product stability.
To address these concerns, there has been a great interest in the capsule industry in looking for gelatin substitutes. Indeed, several concepts based on synthetic polymers and/or plant-derived hydrocolloids have been described in the patent literature.
The non-gelatin capsule shells are made up of such as Starch, HPMC, Pullulan, Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), Alginates and Carrageenan.
Lower moisture content, low hygroscopicity, physical stability, stability in different ranges of temperature and humidity are advantages that favor the use of non gelatin capsules.
Advantages of Gelatin Capsules:
But, to keep in mind is that gelatin is an age-old technology with a proven safety record. Manufacturing easiness, easily available raw material and low cost are advantages of gelatin capsules.
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