Softgel recap: the joys of gelatin
Although gelatin has a long tradition in soft capsule production, we sometimes forget the importance and flexibility of this versatile ingredient. That’s why now’s a good time to get back to basics, and look at the numerous benefits of gelatin softgels.
Let’s start with naturalness. Did you know that gelatin is an entirely natural product? True, it’s derived from animals, but it contains no chemical additives. In fact, it consists purely of protein (collagen), water and mineral salts. The manufacturing process also involves no synthetic steps, making gelatin a natural foodstuff without an E number, and one that therefore meets the growing demand for ‘clean-label’ products.
Fill protection is another important asset: Gelatin softcaps are hermetically sealed to make them airtight. This helps protect sensitive fill ingredients from oxygen, light, contamination and/or microbial growth. The ability to safely seal their contents in an easy-to-swallow dosage form makes them the preferred choice for liquid, paste-like or oil-based fills, such as fish oils. Any potentially unpleasant tastes or odours (the “fishy taste” that’s often associated with omega-3 products) are kept inside the shell. This also makes the softgel format tamper-resistant while, at the same time, providing high dose accuracy.
Gelatin’s key benefits also include fast solubility, ease of use and good mechanical strength. Plus, the availability of a wide range of versatile and tailor-made gelatins makes them suitable for a variety of soft capsule applications that work well in most environments. In addition, gelatin comprises proteins that are easily digested in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which facilitates the release and absorption of active ingredients. In general, once swallowed, gelatin soft shell capsules release their contents within 5–15 minutes.
Besides standard gelatin, we, at GELITA, have developed various grades of pharmaceutical gelatin for the production of soft capsules that fit the specific requirements of individual manufacturers — from fast fill release (e.g. for analgesics) to slow release for longer-lasting impact and delayed (enteric) release (e.g. for fish oils with an unpleasant aftertaste). We can even accommodate certain types of reactive fillings and extreme storage conditions. This means capsule manufacturers can guarantee that their products will always deliver the specified functionality and performance.
And so, even though gelatin soft capsules have been around for many decades, they still provide a modern, state-of-the-art delivery system. Furthermore, thanks to recent innovations in the world of pharmaceutical gelatins, whatever the required filling or storage conditions – there will be just the right gelatine for the job.
If you want to learn more about our portfolio of pharmaceutical gelatins or the various benefits of softgel capsules, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts today!