Softgel Concepts Demonstrate Today’s Capabilities, Firm Says


Captek Softgel showcased three softgel concepts that the company says show just how far the delivery technology has come.

Today’s softgels are meeting not only consumer needs but also preferences. At Natural Products Expo West, manufacturer Captek Softgel International (Cerritos, CA) showcased three softgel concepts that the company said show just how far the delivery technology has come.

One of the concepts is a 100-mg CoQ10 suspension in a vegetarian softgel. Tim Chiprich, vice president, product development, described the challenge of working with vegetarian softgel material. “It’s a lot harder to work with. It’s a different temperature. You have to go through a whole learning curve of trying to get it to work. It just doesn’t behave the same.” Captek’s vegetarian material comprises starch and carrageen.

Suspending powder in a softgel can be difficult, too, Chiprich said, in part because certain powders react with soft gel materials, causing leakage. Manufacturers also need to ensure that the formula is “not so thick that you can’t get it through the machinery to encapsulate it but not so thin that all the powder would settle out and then you don’t get the right amount in each capsule,” he said, adding that Captek can handle this ably.

The second concept is a probiotic softgel containing five billion CFUs of Bacillus coagulans. Chiprich said that contrary to the belief that softgels aren’t compatible with probiotics, the softgel format actually serves as a “perfect barrier” to protect the live bacteria against moisture.

“For years, people always assumed that probiotics couldn’t be made in a softgel, that the water content of the gelatin would make them all die off,” he said. “But what we’ve found is that when you make a suspension of the probiotic in the oil, it actually protects the probiotic from dying off. It’s a better moisture barrier than even a two-piece hardshell capsule in which the air itself has enough humidity in it that can affect the viability of the probiotics.”

Captek’s final Natural Products Expo West concept is a prenatal softgel containing omega-3 fatty acid DHA for fetal brain and eye development plus folate and other vitamins and minerals for maternal health.

Although the softgel format has been around for awhile, Chiprich emphasized that the delivery system is keeping up with current market trends, all while delivering benefits like tamper evidence and oxygen barrier. For instance, softgels can be used to encapsulate some of the most in-demand ingredients today, including turmeric, probiotics, and even challenging ingredients like hygroscopic phospholipids. The goal, he said, is “combining ingredients that traditionally haven’t been in softgels.”



Jennifer Grebow
Nutritional Outlook magazine


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