Close up shot of different types of capsules

An Overview of Encapsulating Liquids

Although liquids can be encapsulated in gelatin or vegetarian capsules, the process of encapsulating can be deemed both a science and an art. Which product is best will usually depend on the weight and quality of the formulation, amongst other variables.

For this reason, it is always recommended that a small quantity be ordered to determine the quality of the capsule before purchasing a bulk order.. Unless the product has already been tested, it will not be possible to determine whether or not it will be suitable for use with the formulation and the equipment to hand.

Capsule Types

Different capsules will work best for different formulations. There are four key types of capsule currently used in the industry:

  • Gelatin capsules - If you want a capsule that disintegrates fast and can be used for both powder and liquid then opt for a gelatin form. This type of capsule has been used in the industry for many years and comes in different color ranges. It is considered to be best for powder and liquid formulations, but is not ideal for oil. As it is derived from animal byproducts, it might not be suitable for some individuals.
  • Enteric capsulesThis capsule type is made of vegetarian materials and has a pH-sensitive polymer added to the shell, making it acid resistant. The capsule is therefore ideal for formulations that need to pass the stomach juice and for those that should be disintegrated in the small intestine.
  • Vegetarian capsules - Vegetarian capsules are made of 100% plant ingredients, making them suitable for most diets. Due to the rigid structure of the capsule, vegetarian capsules can easily hold liquid and oil formulations, but can also be used for powder formulation. In comparison to gelatin capsules, these capsules take longer to disintegrate..
  • Flavored capsules - Some capsules have flavorings incorporated into them, often smelling the same as the flavor indicated. These are usually gelatin-based capsules.

Gelatin or Vegetarian

Whilst liquid can be encapsulated in gelatin capsules, the process can be tricky and depends on the viscosity of the formulation; the capsule should also be banded. A vegetarian capsule on the other hand can be more tolerant. The banded form is often recommended for encapsulating oil or liquid formulations.

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