29, 2023
4 min

There’s a thriving trend for holistic self-care, with growing numbers of consumers actively seeking natural, sustainable solutions for energy levels and mental and emotional wellbeing.[1] This has led to increased interest in plant-based nootropics – botanical ingredients that help boost cognitive function. Some of the most popular include ginkgo biloba, ginseng, guarana and L-theanine, which research suggests can positively affect memory, focus, alertness and mental energy.

Fast-release softgel capsules made from gelatin are the ideal delivery format for these types of ingredients. They typically release their contents within five minutes – perfect for consumers of nootropics who desire a fast “brain boost”. As the capsules are hermetically sealed to make them airtight, this protects their sensitive contents. They are also easy to swallow, and work well for fills with a strong or unpleasant taste.

For health-conscious consumers, gelatin has the advantage of being a completely natural foodstuff. It’s made from easily digestible proteins (collagen and its lack of E numbers means it meets the growing demand for clean-label products.[2] Softgel gelatin capsules are non-allergenic and offer enhanced nutrient bioavailability, while being cost-effective and simple for manufacturers to process.

Crosslinking: the challenge when it comes to fast release

However, in certain conditions, the molecules within the gelatin can experience crosslinking, making the capsule less soluble over time. This results in longer dissolution times in the gastrointestinal tract and slower fill-release rates – which is a problem when consumers are looking for rapid effect in their body . It also adversely affects the shelf life of softgels.

Crosslinking occurs when protein molecules in the gelatin shell interact with compounds in the fill containing reactive molecules. These include aldehydes, ketones, terpenes and peroxide intermediates – all commonly found in plant extracts, including nootropic compounds. It can also be caused by oxidation or the presence of metals used as shell pigment or nutritional supplements in some capsule fill formulations. Heat and humidity drive crosslinking, so crosslinking is particularly prevalent in the very hot and humid climates like Asia-Pacific, South-America and African countries.

GELITA’s revolutionary solution

GELITA® RXL R² (Revolutionary Release) is the ideal solution. It’s part of the GELITA® RXL (reduced crosslinking) pharmaceutical grade portfolio. RXL R² uses a patented manufacturing technology to control molecular weight distribution within the gelatin. This “self-defence” mechanism makes the gelatin unavailable for self-crosslinking reactions (caused by excess heat, for example) or reactions with substances in the fill formulation.

GELITA® RXL R² takes this concept further to ensure both long-term capsule stability and up to three times faster release. Testing at the University of Heidelberg found that even after one year of storage in simulated hot and humid conditions, RXL R² offered faster fill-release rates than the related standard gelatins. As it’s made from 100% gelatin and additive-free, it also satisfies consumer demand for natural products without an E number.

Like the other innovative products in the RXL series, RXL R² offers manufacturers a quicker route to market, reducing the time spent on fine-tuning formulations to meet stability-testing requirements. It’s the perfect solution for softgel capsules where fast release is non-negotiable.


For more information, please contact us.


[1] FMCG Gurus, Top Ten Trends for 2023, November 2022

[2] 2020 Innova Market Insights 2020


Category: #AmazingGelatin