GELITA® EC: A sustainable approach to enteric capsules
Enteric capsules have been around for quite a while now. Their development was necessary because standard capsules cannot survive the acidic environment of the stomach due to pH-instability, which means the active ingredient will not – or only partially – reach the small intestine, where it’s destined to do its work. Another advantage of enteric capsules is that they help avoid the unpleasant aftertaste often associated with fish oil capsules. Such capsules contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential in supplement format for those who eat little or no fish. But many people avoid them because of their unpleasant fishy aftertaste. With enteric capsules, however, there’s no aftertaste as the fish oil is released in the small intestine rather than the stomach.
So far, so good, but then we asked ourselves: ‘How can enteric capsules for dietary supplements or pharmaceuticals be produced more sustainably and efficiently?’ And that’s how we came up with GELITA® EC – the first commercially available gelatin product that allows for one-step-production of truly enteric capsules.
Using higher amounts of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) to compensate for those which are lost in gastric acid is quite common practice in the soft capsule industry. In fact, in standard capsules, up to 90 per cent of probiotics do not survive the gastric passage, which is why the capsules have to be ‘overdosed’. This is obviously a huge waste of resources, as larger capsules – or an increased number of capsules – are needed to ensure sufficient absorption of active content. However, enteric capsules manufactured with GELITA® EC are far more cost effective, as they withstand the acidic milieu and enter the small intestine intact, where the capsules can then release their fill. As a result, the dose can be optimally adjusted and the product packaging downsized. This not only slashes expenditure on resources but also makes the whole production process more efficient. And there’s even more good news, as the finished product is more convenient for consumers due to a smaller capsule size or a reduction in the number of capsules required, which leads to improved acceptance.
Enteric capsules are usually manufactured in a two-step process, in which the freshly produced capsule receives an acid-insoluble coating layer. This is frequently done by a third-party manufacturer, as opposed to in-house by the capsule manufacturer. Enteric capsules with GELITA® EC, however, are created in a single step, thus eliminating the second production step. This means additional resources, such as transport CO2 emissions and packaging, are minimised, making the manufacturing process of enteric capsules with GELITA® EC far more efficient. Additionally, GELITA® EC is manufactured exclusively from natural biopolymers, while the coating layer is often made of mineral oil-based synthetics.
Not only do we manufacture GELITA® EC, but can also advise on application possibilities for your products. With our long-standing global pharmaceutical experience and knowledge, we can support you with our R&D, regulatory, marketing and innovation expertise, from the first step of development to the market-ready end product.
Keen to find out more about GELITA® EC? Then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts or check out our Release Profile ebook.