Dietary supplements provide a wide range of benefits, targeting a healthier lifestyle. While consuming a supplement offers the nutrients you require on a daily basis, there are certain substances that can actually render your health at risk. For instance, did you know that gelatin capsules are bad for your health? Did you realize that veggie capsuled supplements are actually better for you? Here is why you should be switching your pill capsules.
What is gelatin?
Gelatin is a common ingredient in cosmetics, food products and medicines and is formed from the boiled bones and skin of cows and pigs. Once boiled, a gel like substance is formed and then cooled down to expand. This is then used in capsules. It has no significant taste and is either slightly yellow or colorless. Due to its nature, many vegetarians and vegans choose to avoid it, opting for vegetarian alternatives instead.
Why opt for capsules?
Many people opt for consuming capsules over other forms of supplement as they are quick and easy to digest, relatively inexpensive to purchase, and other ingredients do not need to be added which may compromise efficiency.
Why do people consume gelatin capsules?
Gelatin supplements are ideal for those with arthritis as the collagen in the gelatin aims to help with joint relief. They may also be used for weight loss, improving hair condition and for recovering after a sports injury. Furthermore, many vitamins and herbs contain gelatin in their capsules, providing some amino acids and protein. While gelatin provides little value in this form, it’s often cheap to produce, which is why its use is widespread across the supplement industry.
The risks with consuming gelatin pill capsules?
A few of the adverse reactions associated with gelatin pill capsule consumption includes
- Upset stomach
- Bloated stomach
- Allergic reaction or hypersensitivity
- Exposure to toxins – According to Dr F.C Rite, gelatin capsules may become mixed with toxins from their source, such as antibiotics or pesticides in the food given to animals. This may result in stomach issues or gastric problems*.
- As gelatin is often used as a protein supplement, excessive consumption of protein can cause strain on the liver and kidneys. Those with previous kidney or liver problems should contact their doctor before taking any supplement. Furthermore, the protein from gelatin is an incomplete form that the body cannot use.
Gelatin is considered safe when consumed in foods, according to the FDA. However, there is no standard dosage for gelatin.
Gelatin and BSE
Some experts have expressed concern that gelatin poses a risk of contamination of animal diseases, such as BSE. First noted in the UK in the 1980’s, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy is commonly known as mad cow disease due to the effects it has on a cattle’s brain. Many consumers have voiced their worry due to the disease being able to spread to humans and the long incubation period (around 15 to 20 years) that it has. Though far more common in the UK than in the US, the disease is spread via food contaminated with an infected animal. By mid-June 2014, there had been over 200 reported deaths worldwide. **However, a study into BSE and gelatin suggests that there is only a small risk involved***. The FDA has also stated (since 1992) that manufacturers and distributors of supplements should take steps to ensure that no ingredients are used from countries where BSE is known or where unsatisfactory controls are in place. There are further restrictions on import procedures involving countries known to have BSE and restrictions placed by the USDA over the use of particular cattle and their tissue. Despite these limitations, there is still a risk, though currently there are no reported cases of BSE from gelatin in the US.
Gelatin versus veggie based capsules
Capsules are normally available in two forms; gelatin and vegetarian. Gelatin is essentially used in the forming of the capsule shell itself instead of a binding agent being used, as is the case with supplements in tablet form. Alternatively, vegetarian based capsules are produced using cellulose, a naturally derived substance from plants. These are ideal for those who don’t want to consume gelatin for moral or religious reasons, as well as opting for a healthier alternative to gelatin capsules.
Both can be stored without the risk of bacteria growing, though gelatin struggles to hold up in hot environments. Furthermore, gelatin capsules can only be filled with a supplement in powder form due to compatibility issues, whereas veggie based capsules can be filled with powder, liquid or gel.
Why are veggie capsules healthier for you?
Unlike gelatin capsules, there are no negative risks to your health, meaning they’re completely safe for consumption. Vegetarian capsules only contain two ingredients; purified water and HPMC (Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose). This is formed from the breakdown of vegetable cellulose, which normally comes from pine or similar varieties.
- Vegetarian based capsules are 100% natural, containing no preservatives, starch, sugar, artificial colors, dairy or other added ingredients
- They are normally GMO free
- They can filled with liquid, powder or gel contents
- Vegetarian capsules are generally better consumed by the digestive system
- They can be filled depending on the requirements of consumers, such as halal
- No risk of allergies, hypersensitivity or stomach issues
- No risks of BSE or other health concerns
To ensure that you purchase high quality dietary supplements, choose a reputable brand, such as NutriChem Labs. When you buy NutriChem Labs products, you are guaranteed to be purchasing a safe and effective supplement, manufactured in FDA registered and cGMP certified facilities, meaning that regulations are adhered to during the manufacturing process. Every capsule is made with the best ingredients and is vegetarian, GMO and gluten free to ensure that your health comes first. NutriChem offers superior health products, designed to supplement healthy eating, regular exercise and determination. For a more fulfilling lifestyle, use products that won’t comprise your health!
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