Vegetable Capsules

Vegetable Capsules: The Ultimate Guide

Vegetable capsules are all-natural ingredient-based capsules derived from all plant extracts.

Thus, they form an essential alternative for their gelatin capsules.

In this guide, we shall discuss all issues relating to Veg.

Capsules plus an overview of their possible future developments.

By the end, you should have all the information you seek.

Vegetable capsules

Vegetable capsules

Ingredients of Vegetable Capsules

The constituents aren’t much but come from pure supplements.

However, they don’t contain any traces of animal-related by-products.

Specifically, a large chunk of this capsules component material is the plant cellulose.

Consequently, the most common Vegetable cellulose material is Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC).


The HPMC is extractable from the bark of some trees, mainly pine and spruce trees.

Besides HPMC, Pullulan is another critical component.

Pullulan is a chemical compound only gotten from water extracted from fungi that grow on a starch substrate.



Though, it doesn’t contain any toxic chemical, not even added during the production.

Other notable common ingredients of the capsules include purified water, tapioca starch, organic tapioca starch, and locust bean gum.

Tapioca capsules

Tapioca capsules

Important: veg. Capsules are animal by-products free, contain no toxin, or excipients whatsoever.

Additionally, no kind of additives, even sodium lauryl sulfate is traceable from the caps’ structure.

Therefore, veg. capsules are completely pure.

How Fast Vegetarian Capsules Dissolve

Veg. capsules are indisputably famous today.

One of the main reasons attributed to this popular trend is their dissolution rate.

Vegetable capsules are easy to dissolve due to their natural outer shell material.

But first, it’s essential to know that the rate of dissolution varies by the temperature, the dissolution medium type, place of disintegration as below.

HMPC capsules

 HMPC capsules

Dissolution medium type-For a medium with a PH of 5.8 or lower, the Veg. capsules rapidly dissolve no matter the medium class.

Temperature – Additionally, the capsules dissolve quickly at temperature intervals of 10 degrees Celsius to 55 degrees Celsius.

That’s why you can even administer this kind of caps even with cold or warm drinks.

Place of disintegration-Some caps disintegrates in the stomach while others in the intestines.

Therefore, those that dissolve in the stomach work faster.

On the other hand, those meant for the intestinal tract are of substances that don’t dissolve in the stomach acidic environment but of the base solution intestinal environment.

So ideally, such intestine related capsules take longer though they’re tolerable and safe.

Nonetheless, with all the factors kept constant, most manufacturers report that the veggie capsules take approximately 25 – 45 minutes to dissolve.

Differences between Vegetarian Capsules and Gelatin Capsules

Even though both the veg capsules and gel capsules have similar physical properties; they exhibit some very distinct differences between them.

The primary distinction between the two is evident from their material, uses, and costs of purchase/ production.

Other differences vary according to some characteristics such as stability and degradation.

Gelatin capsules

Gelatin capsules

· Material Type

Like we earlier mentioned, veg caps are of plant derivatives.

Elsewhere, the gelatin capsules owe their material structure to gelatin.

Gelatin is an animal-derived extract specifically from the cattle (bovine) or pigs.

But still, bovine is the highly preferred source of gelatin by most manufacturers.

They acquire gelatin material through a boiling intensive process.

So, what’s present in the boiling concussion?

Mostlycattle parts, especially the hoofs, connective tissues, and the bones, are the significant sources of the gelatin compound.

Here is what to do; boil those cattle parts till it turns to a gel-like matter.

After that, allow the mixture to cool down, optionally you may incorporate some cooling procedures such as passing it through a cold stream of water.

In the end, you’ll get a non-flavored, scent-free, and clear material.

Now, that’s the gelatin used to make gel capsules.

· Uses

You can use veg. Capsules to fill vitamins supplements, powders, and herbs.

However, you wouldn’t wish to fill these capsules with any liquids which may dissolve its coating.

Comparably, the gel. Capsules are preferable for pharmaceutical uses and don’t have many functions except filling a couple of dry powdered materials.

Besides, they aren’t suitable for filling oils and gels that contain aldehydic group.

Gelatin capsules

Gelatin capsule

· Costs of Purchase

Extracting gelatin is quite straightforward compared to that of cellulose (HPMC), therefore, the gelatin capsules are relatively inexpensive than the veg. Capsules.

Moreover, the gel capsules are numerous and therefore floods the market compared to the somehow rare veg. Capsules.

· Stability and Dissolution

Veg capsules are highly stable owing to their lower moisture content of about 3% – 7%.

On the other hand, gelatin capsules have lower stability thanks to their higher moisture content of 13% – 15%.

They’re additionally, sensitive to extreme humidity conditions.

Vegetable capsules readily dissolve in the water at room temperature/ optimum conditions.

Meanwhile, the dissolution of the gelatin capsules decreases with a drop in temperature below 37 °C.

On some occasions, the gelatin caps fail to dissolve when the temperature falls below 30°C.

· Degradations

Several conditions may hamper the capsules; such factors are light, heat, and dissolution in water.

Veggie capsules aren’t easily degradable by light, gel caps are possibly affected.

Temperatures of 80 degrees and above degrade the vegetable capsules, whereas gelatin capsules only suffer from temperatures of above 60 degrees.

For the case of dissolution in the water at room temperature, the veggie capsule is soluble; however, gel capsule is insoluble.

The vegetarian capsules are often resistant to some manufacture related problems and cross-linking.

Elsewhere, the gelatin capsules are susceptible to crosslinking, thereby resulting in low solubility.

So, which one is better?

When you use stability as a parameter for comparison, then the vegetarian capsule takes the lead.


It has little moisture, lower hygroscopicity and highly stable in wide ranges of temperatures and humidity.

However, for solubility levels, both the capsules types dissolve well at the optimum human body.

Aside from the religion bound and dietary restrictions that may compel one to choose veg Capsules over the gel capsules, the ultimate choice remains with the consumer’s preference on a scale of parameters.

Vegetable Capsules Benefits

Remember, the vegetarian capsules are an ideal alternative to consumers who have religious, health or cultural bound preferences or restrictions.

That aside, these types of caps have got several benefits associated with them.

Some of the significant benefits include:

  • They are suited for carrying a wide variety of products, moisture susceptible, essential oils hygroscopic and liquid formulations all-inclusive.
  • Fast dissolution in the human body as well as being easily digestible.
  • Toxin-free and completely natural, therefore, the caps possess no danger to human health even when consumed over a long period.
  • Highly tolerant to heat up to 80°C and humidity.
  • Classified as suitable products for both Kosher and Halal.
  • They’re easy to fill and have various
  • Both commercial and household consumption.

Disadvantages of Vegetarian Capsules

Despite all the above advantages associated with these capsules, it exhibits its share of limitation.

The only outstanding disadvantage of the vegetable capsule is its higher price.

The costs trace back to the excessive expenses incurred during production.

It is much higher owing to the expensive ingredients in use compared to the easy to get animal byproducts.

Another disadvantage could be its highly intensive production.

Undoubtedly, the creation of vegetarian capsules requires top-level specialization together with specific equipment.

All those factors make the production intense and complicated in equal measures.

How to choose Empty Vegetable Capsules Sizes & Colors

Understanding the right capsule sizes is very vital to your business or applications.

Besides, it saves you time and money.

With the proper knowledge, you also get to perform the encapsulation process properly.

Empty vegetable capsules

Empty vegetable capsules

To correctly select a capsule, you may peg your deliberation based on some few issues.

Have a look.

i. Identify the Type of Vegetarian Capsule You Need

It’s essential to specify the capsule type you need for your application since not all of the vegetable capsules are available in all sizes.

Such kinds of caps are pullulan, enteric or herbal capsules.

ii. Know the Sizing System

Now basically you will first need a capsule size chart.

The chart introduces you to the primary properties such as fill weights, volume, external diameter,

etc. and an overview of the various capsule sizes.

You will thus note that each capsule portrays a numerical value which designates it from the rest some of the available capsule sizes are 000, 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Vegetable capsule sizes

Vegetable capsules sizes

Again, the numbering systems are very vital in helping the user identify larger or smaller ones.

That is, larger-sized capsules have lower numbers compared to the smaller ones.

Take for example; # 1 capsule is larger than # 4 caps and # 5 caps as well.

On the other hand, when capsule sizes are only traceable by “0” numbers, then it would mean that those capsules with more “0” are the larger ones compared to those of few “0” s.

In summary, a “000” capsule is the largest available size, while number five is the smallest.

iii. Determine the Formulation Density and Weight of the Fill Material

The density of a material varies by the properties of the capsule fill material,e.g. powders, liquids, etc.

Whereas, the weight of the material depends on its corresponding density.

Now knowing the density helps you determine the amount of material that a capsule can hold.

With that, you are in a position to know which caps size you require and the relative quantity that fits your application.

For example, 4.93 ml may fill approximately seven “0” sized caps and about five “00” sized caps.

Above all, if you’re not sure of the dimensions, then you may use US Customary or Metric units of measurement chart.

Afterward, use the capsule size chart to determine which size of the capsule will best accommodate your application.

Now choose if you only require one capsule or if you need several.

Try to figure out if the dosage well fits into a bigger capsule (000) or several smaller capsules(0s and 1s).

Note that bigger capsules are ideal for adults or mature animals while smaller sizes are more convenient to swallow thus suitable for children and smaller animals.

iv. Capsule colors

Similarly, to the gelatin capsules, the vegetarian capsules may be clear or colored.

On top of that, you can choose from a wide variety of colors comprising of orange, green, pink, red, blue Scarlett.

This way, they are more appealing to customers.

Additionally, you may add prints according to your preferences, such as logos and trademarks.

Types of Vegetable Capsules in the Market

Vegetable capsules may be widely classified into two groups,i.e. HPMC and Tapioca Capsules.

1. HPMC Vegetarian Capsules

Remember, HPMC is a vegetable cellulose compound, and thus the capsules are non-GMO and appropriate for vegetarians.

HMPC capsules

 HMPC Capsules

The HPMC capsules are applicable both in the pharmaceutical field to make pharma products and dietary supplements.

Moreover, these capsules have a gelling agent.

This makes them exhibit enteric properties which shield sensitive ingredients from the acidic conditions of the stomach and also enhancing full dissolution in the intestine.

Besides the typically concentrated HPMC compound, this capsule type also comprises of herbal oil, enteric and purified water.

Still, these capsules have no gelatin, nor preservatives, nor wheat, animal by-products or starch.

2. Tapioca Capsules

Tapioca capsules majorly consist of tapioca starch and purified water.

Tapioca is a plant-based material.

The tapioca capsules have a characteristic sticky and bright appearance compared to other conventional caps.

Tapioca capsules

Tapioca capsules

These capsules adhere to the minimum dietary requirements and thus offers nutritional benefits to vegetarian minded users.

They’re also available in all sizes.

Again, for this kind, no animal products, preservatives, additives, GMO or gluten is traceable in their structure, making it appear environmentally friendly and explicitly natural.

Uses of Vegetable Capsules

Vegetable capsules are inherently easy to fill with all types of powders, vitamins, herbs, and supplements by use of a capsule filling machine or another auxiliary method.

Therefore, veg capsules offer you no restrictions in terms of products to load.

For encapsulating products such as oils and powders, it’s advisable to use a capsule filling machine.

Some of these machinery incorporates a free tamping device that allows you to fill several capsules rapidly with ease.

Far from that, the veggie caps are suitable for use as suppositories for either vaginal or rectal purposes to deliver medications.

Lastly, the veggie capsules deliver nutritional supplements such as minerals, herbs, and fatty acids

Future of Vegetable Capsules

The market demands and expansion for the vegetable capsules will continuously grow due to the ever-increasing favoritism towards plant-based products.

Therefore, technical and accurate analysis of the market shifting factors such as:

  • Demand and supply
  • Distribution channel
  • Production capacity
  • Import and export regulations
  • Beliefs

Would be vital in offering business stakeholders, owners, and marketing personnel a wider edge over other enterprises operating in the same field.

However, the global market still suffers from the various dynamic changes and consumer demands mostly attributed to the financial and social fluctuations.

Therefore, stakeholders need to consider the costs, volume forecast and revenue to assist in the evaluation of growth opportunities and development extent.

Still, at present, the key players in vegetable capsule marketing are SaintyCo, Capsugel, Qualicaps, ACG Associated Capsules, Shanxi GS Capsule, CapsCanada, Suheung Capsule, and a few others.

Regardless of their numbers, market analysists projects that the figure is likely to increase in the future.

Modifications of the vegetable capsules types are also most likely to shift from the current two basic categories, ie. HPMC blended with gelling agent and HPMC without a gelling agent.

Quality Standards of Vegetable Capsules

Just as any other pharmaceutical and food products, the vegetable caps have to comply with the set regulations and guidelines set by various organizations or government agencies.

They regulate safety and quality standards.

Through these guidelines, you assure the capsules safety for human consumption.

Always, ensure that your vegetable capsules adhere to the following standards requirements:

  • KO & OU Kosher requirements.
  • Halal certification
  • Vegetarian & Vegan Action society Guidelines
  • FDA requirements
  • cGMP specifications for the best manufacturability standards of the machinery in the capsule manufacturing industrial sector.
  • WHO rules and regulations.
  • Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency.
  • European Medicines Agency.

But before considering those external tests, you need to perform internal firm related tests and supervision of your veggie capsules.

Common defects in capsules

Common defects in capsules

Such preliminary measures include weight variation, dissolution, content uniformity tests, and disintegration.

Above all, do ensure that whenever you assess the quality of your veg capsules, do focus on the ingredients together with the manufacturing procedure since those are the vulnerable segments to contamination.


Well, several factors such as stability, resistivity, high tolerance, and bioavailability make vegetable capsules outshine their counterparts.

Plus, you have to, first of all, determine the type of veggie capsule to fill before considering other issues whenever you’re choosing the right empty capsule size for your applications.

That’s it; undoubtedly, you have all the necessary information regarding the selection of veggie capsules.

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