Innovative HPMC capsules help protect probiotics and other acid-sensitive dietary supplement ingredients without the need for costly capsule coatings
March 7, 2011 – Capsugel, the world’s leading hard capsule manufacturer, has introduced DRcaps capsules, a vegetarian capsule with unique properties that slow down capsule opening after swallowing.
DRcaps capsules are made from hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) and disintegrate more slowly than conventional gelatin or HPMC capsules, helping protect ingredients in the capsules after swallowing from early activation caused by stomach acid, without adding synthetic chemicals, solvents, or other coating ingredients. In vitro studies show the capsule contents are protected for at least 30 minutes at a gastric pH of 1.2 and release fully at an intestinal pH of 6.8.
DRcaps capsules have the added benefit of helping to minimize the bad taste or aftertaste of some ingredients. In a consumer sensory panel commissioned by Capsugel, consumers compared an encapsulated ingredient known to have a bad aftertaste with a tablet version of the same ingredient. The majority of consumers said they did not perceive an aftertaste with the DRcaps product while two-thirds said they perceived an immediate aftertaste with the tablet version.
For many manufacturers a very compelling reason to consider DRcaps capsules is the potential to eliminate a coating step, cutting production costs and time. DRcaps capsules do not require the application of chemical coatings to protect ingredients, mask tastes, or postpone the release of active ingredients, an advantage that is also appealing to nutritional health companies whose customers often perceive coatings as ‘unnatural’.
“DRcaps capsules are a very helpful advance in capsule technology, achieved without introducing any new capsule components,” says Dr. Keith Hutchison, Vice President of Research & Development for Capsugel. “This is not an enteric capsule in the pharmaceutical sense, but it provides very effective protection for ingredients in the stomach and relief from adverse tastes as well. And while there are clearly consumers benefits, DRcaps also make it easier for our customers to launch products rapidly.”
DRcaps capsules are well suited for many probiotics, a top performing ingredient in many markets worldwide. The capsules low moisture level of 4 to 6% in 50% relative humidity compared to gelatin at 12 to 14%, helps keep the probiotics stable in the package before ingestion.
“Our customers have been asking for more innovative dosage forms with protective properties, so we created DRcaps, which is a win-win for both consumers and manufacturers,” emphasized Serge Enokian, Capsugel’s Vice President of Global Marketing. “In vitro test results suggest that the protective properties of DRcaps should help deliver live cultures and enzymes to the small intestine where they can be most effective. The fact that DRcaps can minimize the bad aftertaste of some products such as valerian root or garlic provides an added incentive for consumers to stay on their daily regimen.”
Capsugel will present DRcaps capsules at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA on March 11-13, 2011.
Capsugel is a global leader in innovative dosage forms and solutions for the healthcare industry. Offering a comprehensive array of products and services, from hard gelatin, liquid-filled, and vegetarian capsules, to innovative R&D Equipment and liquid formulations as part of its Licaps® Dosage Delivery System, Capsugel is at the forefront of drug and ingredient delivery innovation providing support to customers from formulation to final production.