Unlike today’s modern gelatin capsules, in previous decades, pharmaceutical companies that produced medications for oral ingestion were only able to offer their products in tablet form. Essentially, the medication to be used in the tablet would be mixed with binding agents and hardened, producing a solid pill. These medications, although effective, often took long periods of time to digest, meaning the time needed for the medication to be absorbed was longer, and they were often hard to swallow. In 1834, however, the pharmaceutical company Mothes and Dublanc began producing a different type of capsule made using gelatin.
These new gelatin capsules were at first filled by hand using a dropper, and then sealed using a drop of gelatin. Gelatin capsules were a great leap forward in medicinal technology in that they allowed for the gelatin shell to break down quickly, meaning medication could be dispersed and absorbed at a faster rate. This single invention opened up the door for many new medicinal applications, as pharmaceutical researchers and scientists could now offer medications that were previously only available for injection purposes. Unlike tablet based medications, scientists could now offer fast acting medications that would allow for different metabolic rates.
The introduction of gelatin capsules has also helped the vitamin industry, as well as the supplement industry. As a result of gelatin capsules, vitamin suppliers could now offer their products in liquid suspension, inject it into a gelatin capsule, and consumers would be able to use these to quickly and effectively receive a dose of vitamins. For example, vitamin E capsules, which promote heart health, can now be purchased from many major retailers in gelatin capsule form. As well, gelatin capsules are also easier to swallow than traditional tablets.
And in terms of the supplement industry, things like peppermint capsules and coffee capsules are now available for people to take in gelatin form. These allow people to get the same health benefits of these supplements without having to actually ingest the raw product. This furthers the benefit of gelatin capsules, as people no longer need to eat or drink raw ingredients, which may not taste good, in order to receive a daily dose of the supplement. An example of this would be garlic capsules. Garlic, when ingested on its own, may be difficult to eat. However, by taking garlic capsules, people can experience the health benefits of taking garlic, without the harsh taste or smell.