Gelatin Capsules

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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One of the many commercial uses for gelatin is the manufacture of gelatin capsules. Gelatin capsules are used by the pharmaceutical and health food industries to store individual dosages of nutritional supplements, prescription drugs, and vitamins. The natural properties of gelatin make it a perfect choice to fulfill the requirements of an edible capsule.

Gelatin is made from collagen, a protein substance found in the bones, skin, and connective tissues of animals. Some common traditional sources of gelatin are horse and cow hooves, though gelatin can also be produced from fish and many other animals. Once separated from the connected tissues, the resulting gelatin is colorless and tasteless, and can absorb five times its weight of cold water, though it dissolves quickly in hot water.

Those properties make gelatin remarkably suitable for the manufacture of capsules. Gelatin capsules are odorless and tasteless, adding no harsh flavors or disagreeable aftertastes to the contents of dietary or pharmaceutical pills. They are also easily digested, contain collagen and other amino acids, and may contain some protein value.

Alternatives to Gelatin Capsules

There are alternatives to gelatin capsules for vegetarians or people allergic to gelatin (especially bovine gelatin). Agar is a vegetable-based gelatin substitute that is produced from some kinds of eastern Asian seaweed. Like gelatin, agar is also used in other industries such as in the microbiological industry, which uses agar plates extensively.

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