Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Empty hard capsules - All you need to know

Many people are unsure about the size of supplement capsules. Each size has a designated number, but which one is the smallest and which one is the largest? Why do people want to purchase empty capsules? What do they use them for? We have the answers to these questions and more.

Capsule size Chart
As you may have already found out, capsule sizes can be quite confusing. The pharma industry call these capsules “empty hard capsules”. The standard range of sizes are 5 to 000 (triple zero). This in itself gets people on the wrong track as 5 is the smallest and 000 is the largest.
Please look at our capsule size chart, showing all the available sizes 000, 000, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.

Even though there is this wide range of sizes, the most commonly used empty capsule sizes are 0 (zero), 00 (double zero) & size 4.

Capsule Colours
Empty hard capsules are available in a wide variety of colours, from black all the through to white, a total of 89 standard colour shades. Large pharmaceutical companies predominantly choose bright bold colours, also they may choose to print on the capsule the company logo or product name. A more popular choice for alternative and natural food supplements are transparent/clear capsules, these transparent capsules have the added benefit of showing the colour of the ingredients contained, they also avoid the use of colourants.

Gelatin or vegetarian empty hard capsule shells
There are two basic types of two piece empty hard capsules, empty gelatin capsules and  empty vegetarian capsules. Gelatin (often called gel caps) are made of gelatin which is obtained by partial hydrolysis of collagen acquired from the skin, white connective tissue and bones of animals, this is the same process that makes jelly and gelatin based desserts. Empty vegetarian (cellulose)  capsules, (sometimes called vcaps) are made from a substance called hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC). HPMC has great gel forming properties, highly viscous, water-soluble polymer derived from plants. Vegetarian empty hard capsules cost far more to produce but more and more people are choosing cellulose over gelatin capsules.

Why buy Empty Capsules
A growing number of people buy empty capsules to make their own supplements, using herbs, vitamins & mineral powders. They can easily be made by hand or with a small capsule machine. Both methods are cost effective, easy and can be made at home. Many top supplement manufactures use unnecessary additives like magnesium stearate, this stops the ingredients sticking to machine parts, increase flow and makes it easier to clean the machines but more importantly it is believed that such additives decrease the absorption of nutrients. So many people choose to make their own supplements so they know exactly whats in them, and they can make their own as it might not be available in the local health shop.

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