Most vitamins, medications or herbal supplements are given in oral pill form. These pills can be hard capsules or gel capsules. Some people find it easier to swallow gel capsules and may have trouble swallowing hard capsules; such is the issue with small children too. Also, certain substances such as oils or liquids cannot be put into a hard capsule and must be taken in the form of a time-release gel capsule. One added benefit to taking gel capsules is it is easy on the stomach, and it readily absorbs cold water.
What is a Gel Cap?
A gel cap is a form of pill that has its contents kept in a gelatin casing. Some of these capsules are meant to be swallowed, whereas others are meant to be chewed; these are called "gummies." Gel caps are round, oblong and elliptical, and their capacities, according to Pharmpedia, range from 0.1 to 30 ml. Gel caps can also be either hard gelatin capsules or soft gelatin capsules.
Vitamin Gel Caps
Vitamins are necessary to sustain human life. Some vitamins are produced by the body, and others must be introduced to the body by eating foods that contain the vitamins, or by taking a vitamin supplement. Vitamin supplements usually contain both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins and also minerals. Because some vitamins, namely those that are fat soluble, come from oils, they may be put into a soft gel cap form. Other multivitamins can be put into what is called a hard gel capsule, which may be one solid pill or two separate pieces that are fit together as one capsule.
Gel caps contain gelatin, which is an animal by-product. If you are a vegetarian, you may look for gel cap vitamins that do not use gelatin. The capsules may not be readily available in grocery stores, so you may have to purchase them online, in a pharmacy or in a natural foods store. If you cannot find a vegetarian option, you can purchase empty gel capsules and fill them with the vitamins of your choice.
Soft Gel Caps vs. Hard Gel Capsules
Soft gelatin capsules, as stated by Pharmpedia, have been around for over a century. This form of gel cap can be used to package liquid, powders and semisolid material. Soft gel capsules are what form many vitamin E, garlic oil and other oil substances. Hard gel capsules are made from a mixture of pork gelatin, plasticizers and water. These capsules are mostly used for powder, solid and semi-solid materials.
Multivitamin gel caps can be found at health food stores, vitamin and herbal supplement stores and at some pharmacies.