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Are Empty Capsules Safe? - An In Depth Review Of Australia’s Empty Capsules

By Rylee in Blogs   •   Feb 15, 2022   •   12 minute read
vector image of doctor surrounded by different capsules

Are gelatin and veggie capsules 100% safe?

When you swallow a 'capsule', it's important to understand what that really means. After all, those of you out there looking to buy empty capsules will essentially be choosing not just between different manufacturers and the various capsules sizes, but also between two fundamental choice of materials: gelatin or veggie-based. One of the questions we're most commonly asked about is if these options are completely and entirely safe, and the answer should be a relief because it's a resounding "yes".

Firstly, we should point something out: human beings are allergic to all sorts of things that, to you and me, are completely harmless. Gelatin is an example of that, but let's just press 'pause' on any suggestion that it therefore isn't "safe". Why's that? Because if you're allergic to gelatin capsules, then you already know that you're also allergic to a thousand other things containing hydrolysed animal protein, which is derived from animal collagen and present in so many common consumables. These include:

  • Cereal
  • Marshmallows
  • Lollies
  • Cheesecake
  • Soft drink
  • Ice cream
  • Yoghurt
  • Certain medicines
  • Certain cosmetics
  • Jelly

Are you allergic to those? If not, then you also don't need to worry at all about any hives, runny nostrils or anaphylaxis as a result of taking your favourite powders, supplements and other substances that you may put in your choice of empty gel capsules. That's because while gelatine capsules may attract some attention for their origin in the skin and bones of cows and pigs, they're perfectly safe not only for human consumption, but to be stored for a very long time and remain in their pure protein form - tasteless, free of genetic modification, and completely chemical and gluten-free. The purity of gelatin-based empty capsules, which in such low daily doses will not even bother the vast majority of people who may even have certain sensitivities to gelatine, enables manufacturers to dream up the perfect shapes, sizes and colours to suit all consumer needs in a global market expected to top $4 billion within the next few years.

Why is gelatine so good for making capsules?

Tiny dose: Let's say your body typically can't handle gelatin - for instance, eating jelly doesn't agree with you. You would need to eat dozens upon dozens upon dozens of capsules to even add up to a single teaspoon of jelly.

Dissolve rate: Gelatine is simply the best formulation for allowing your supplements to be absorbed by your body. With other materials, heat, humidity or the presence of aldehydes can cause what's called capsule/ingredient crosslinking.

Cost: Put simply, gelatine is cheap.

Machinability: Perfect for dissolving in your stomach but also perfect for withstanding those mechanical manufacturing processes with no need for additional ingredients.

Oxygen permeability: While the alternatives are sensitive to oxidation, gelatin has extremely good oxygen permeability.

Water permeability: Similar to the above, but this time relevant to moisture and vapour impacts.

But even if gelatin pill capsules are entirely safe for the vast, vast, vast majority of those looking for where to buy empty capsules, there is an alternative - for a very different reason. Because the protein needed for gelatin capsules is derived from water and the soft and hard tissue of animals, a major new market has opened up for capsule manufacturers and suppliers - veggie capsules.

Vegetarian capsules began to make their mark once those looking to empower their own health and wellbeing journeys split off into two camps: those comfortable with animal-derived gelatin, and those who desired a fully vegetarian and vegan solution that goes hand-in-hand with that ethical lifestyle choice. Initially, it was a challenge for the early makers of veggie capsules to come up with a totally plant or non-animal derived alternative to gelatin that was just as perfect a delivery method for your supplements. Those empty capsules still needed to be quick to dissolve, easy to swallow, easy to fill, easy to store, and still just as inexpensive and robust and viable on the commercial market - whilst keeping the vegetarians, vegans, and those seeking Kosher and Halal-compatible products happy.

The answer: cellulose.

vector images of different capsules in bottle and pack

While gelatin is a simple and pure protein, cellulose is the carbohydrate that plant cell walls is made from, with some prominent cellulose-rich examples being cotton and wood. And while you'll notice that the example we've just cited are not digestible by human beings, the cellulose used for your veggie caps is the type found in edible plants, with one form in particular - hypromellose - particularly good for mimicking the sound and reliable structural properties of gelatin.

As for whether they're safe, the answer may be even more reassuring than the good news about gelatin's safety. In the common form of Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, otherwise known as HPMC, the vegetarian caps on the market today are arguably safer than gelatin - in fact, HPMC is even used for manufacturing eye drops, and we all know how safe that has to be for our precious bodies! You'll even find the defenders of plant-derived capsules telling you that the stomach digests them even better than the traditional alternative, and entirely free of any of the irritants, allergens and preservatives that cause trouble in other consumable products. They're also free of any trace of wheat, corn, dairy, sugar and soy, making them the perfect pick not just for the hardcore vegans but also those looking for the simplest and healthiest substance to encapsulate those health products in every type of capsule size. It's just HPMC and purified water and nothing else at all - and we've certainly never heard of any adverse health effects of consuming a tiny dose of such a perfectly natural, non-toxic formulation.

So it's not just a stroke of luck that the full range of empty gelatin capsules and their vegan alternatives are completely safe - rather, it was always the design to ensure that us humans are only ever enhancing our health and wellbeing by taking them in combination with your favourite supplements and other fillers. The best news of all is that both formulations are available in all of the most common (and uncommon) empty capsules sizes, meaning that no matter where you're coming from, Buy Empty Capsules will have you covered every single time.

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