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What are Softgel Capsules?

Feb. 21, 2024

We will all have seen, and taken, many different types of tablets in our lives, and in a variety of different forms. From tablets and capsules, to hard capsules and softgel capsules, the variety of ways to take pills and supplements has expanded over recent years. Here at Hengkang, we manufacture a wide range of tablets and capsules, and in this blog, we will focus on one of our most frequently asked questions: what are softgel capsules?

DHA Algal Oil Softgels Capsule

Softgel capsules are similar to the classic hard-shelled capsule, where one half fits inside the other, with the medicinal or nutraceutical powder encased in between. With softgel capsules, the medication is usually in liquid or powder form and is encased in a soft, gelatine-based shell. They have a more transparent appearance and can be softer to the touch, which is why they are also known as liquid gels. 

Softgel capsules usually consist of gelatin, water, an opacifier, and also a plasticiser which act as good holding agents to keep the powder or liquid safely encased within the capsule. Softgel capsules are often used for oil-based formulations, which is why it is common to see supplements such as cod liver oil and primrose oil in a softgel capsule. 


What are the benefits of softgel capsules? 

They are often easier to swallow 

Some people find softgel capsules easier to swallow, as although they may be a little larger, their smooth casing means it slips down easily with water. Unlike capsules, softgel capsules do not have an aftertaste of any kind and are also odourless, which also makes some people more comfortable taking them. According to the National Library of Medicine, softgel capsules are preferred by consumers compared to other oral dosage forms like tablets or hard capsules.

Faster breakdown means they are fast acting 

Softgel capsules are also very easily digestible and therefore faster acting than some tablets. The gastric juices in the stomach swiftly break the capsule down, and the contents are quickly absorbed into the body. Softgel capsules are also known for having high bioavailability, which gives them a higher absorption rate.

Softgel capsules are safe and tamper-proof

Finally, softgel capsules are also potentially safer, as they cannot be broken in half like normal tablets. Therefore, they are tamper-proof and also more likely to be taken as the manufacturer intended. 

Ultimately, there are several considerations a manufacturer needs to make when deciding between two-piece and softgel capsules. From testing and production to marketing and product placement, both have their benefits and drawback.


We hope this explainer on the benefits of softgel capsules has been useful. If you have any more questions, you can get in touch or you can take a look at the services we offer.

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