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What Are Capsules Made Out of and Are They Safe?

Question: What are capsules made out of and are they safe?

First, there are a few different types of encapsulation techniques that are all commonly referred to as “capsules.” There are traditional capsules that are made primarily from gelatin; soft-shelled capsules that are more commonly known as softgels, which are used to contain supplements or medicines that are made up of oils, liquids or ingredients suspended in oil; and there are veggie capsules, or veggie-caps, that are produced for vegetarian consumption. As far as safety, studies have been done to verify that the extreme pH conditions of gelatin processing, along with sterilization and ion exchange, effectively eliminate any dangers or health risks. However, veggie-caps are becoming more and more popular, especially for consumers who wish to avoid all animal products, including gelatin.

There is no synthetic coating on the capsules from Swanson Health Products. The outer shell is made from gelatin, which is an animal protein. It’s the same thing as eating Jell-O or Knox gelatin, just less of it. It would take dozens of capsules to make even 1 teaspoon of Jell-O.

If you want to produce your own custom supplements, feel free to buy some empty capsules.

Question: Instead of using animal proteins/gelatins for vitamin coatings, why not use vegetarian gelatin, such as agar, or non animal products?

The cost of producing veggie caps is higher than gelatin capsules and veggie caps also tend to be more fragile with higher breakage rates.  Even though we try to provide as many vegetarian alternatives in our broad range of supplements, converting entirely to veggie caps would increase the cost of the products. We do our best to provide as many options in terms of delivery forms and cost to our customers. See our selection of Vegetarian Products (vitamins, supplements, sports nutrition, foods and more), Vegan Products and Gluten-Free Products.

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