We all know the key to health is a balanced diet that gives our bodies a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals.
However, sometimes not everyone can eat a balanced diet.
Some people’s job doesn’t leave them enough time to eat the right foods.
Some people can’t afford to put so much time and energy into what they eat.
And some people have lifestyles that demand more than what they can provide by just eating.
Luckily for us all, there is a solution.
We can take supplements to ensure that we get the necessary vitamins and minerals our bodies need.
Supplements come in many forms: powders, drinks, pills, and capsules.
But, let’s take a closer look at capsules. Are supplement capsules safe?
Are Supplement capsules safe?
Unlike supplement pills, supplement capsules are a pill form in which the actual supplement itself is encased in a capsule.
The idea being that this capsule will dissolve in your stomach, releasing the supplement into your stomach and eventually into your body.
There are two types of capsules(1):
Gelatin capsules are collagen-derived from the skin, bones, organs, and connective tissues of various animals, usually pigs and cows.
Gelatin is an ideal material for capsules as gelatin dissolves quickly, making it suitable for supplement delivery.
Since it is made from animal by-products, gelatin is entirely natural and perfectly edible (it’s the main ingredient in jello!).
If gelatin capsules being made from all-natural materials doesn’t fully convince you of their safety, you should also know that many capsule manufacturers go out of their way to make sure the capsules are completely safe.
Some gelatin capsule manufacturers even produce kosher and halal-certified gelatin capsules (1).
Since gelatin is derived from animal by-products, it can exclude many people from ingesting them, whether for diet, religious, or ethical reasons. An alternative to gelatin capsules is vegetarian capsules.
Vegetarian capsules are a great alternative that uses Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (HPMC), which is vegetable-derived cellulose.
Food-Info states that “Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose is prepared from cellulose, the main polysaccharide and constituent of wood and all plant structures. Commercially prepared from wood and chemically modified“.
HPMC is a synthetic version of gelatin made from cellulose derived from plant fibers extracted and treated with chemicals.
You may have some doubts about vegetarian capsules even after hearing that it comes from plants, but the FDA has recognized HPMC as generally safe (2). This means that you should have no issue taking capsules made from HPMC if you do not wish to consume gelatin capsules.
Looking back at the above information, we can see that both supplements, gelatin, and vegetarian, are safe. Therefore we can conclude that, yes, supplement capsules are safe.
Are Capsules Better Than Tablets?
As mentioned before, capsules and tablets are different. Tablets are made by compressing powdered ingredients to form a solid, hard pill for consumption (3).
On the other hand, capsules have an outer shell (either hard or soft) in which the powdered or liquid ingredients are contained (3).
Some pros of tablets are that they are inexpensive, have a long shelf life, and can accommodate a higher dosage. However, some cons of tablets are that they are more likely to irritate, take longer to work, and break down inconsistently.
The pros of capsules are that they are fast-acting, tamper-resistant, and have a higher drug absorption. Some cons, however, are that capsules have a shorter shelf life, can be more expensive, and may contain animal products.
So which is better? It depends on what effect or purpose you are looking for from the pills you bought.
But in my opinion, capsules make great delivery methods for supplements as they allow your body a higher absorption, and their fast-acting nature means the supplements get to where they need to be quick.
So there you go; are supplement capsules safe? Yes. Just be sure to look out for gelatin capsules if you are vegetarian or avoid animal products for other reasons.
They are safe, and thanks to their fast-acting and high absorption nature, great ways to take supplements.
Ladies and gents, gather round, I’ve got a tale to tell. Picture this: a body that refuses to bulk up, paired with a metabolism slower than a snail’s race to the finish line. It’s a curse, I tell ya! But fear not, my friends, for I took this challenge head-on and became a scholar in all things weight loss and nutrition. And now, I’m here to share my tales of triumph (and some struggles) with you all, so you too can finally achieve that bod of your dreams! flex (just kidding, still workin’ on it).— Christian Tanobey