Vegetable/Vegetarian capsules sound like a healthy option but once again we find ourselves deceived by marketing hype. The marketing suggests that they are a healthy made from vegetable alternative, but in reality, they are not vegetable-based at all. Vegi capsules are made from a semisynthetic substance known as Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (HPMC) that not only can cause stomach discomfort, gas, bloating, and diarrhea, but also have potential health-threatening effects.
About twenty years ago, I decided to look at encapsulating some truly therapeutic supplements. I contacted a vegetable capsule manufacturer to see about purchasing bulk quantities of capsules directly from them. I spoke with are presentative from the vegetable capsule manufacturing company. I explained my mission to provide the best overall health supplements in the industry and wanted to provide daily nutritional support to my customers.
After I explained to him that I was creating products that our customers would take every day for the rest of their lives I said, “So we want to use the vegetable capsules so we have the healthiest capsule for our products.”
The company representative responded, “You don’t want to use the veggie capsules then.”
I replied, “Yes, we do. I want the most cost-effective, healthiest capsule available.”
To this, he stated, “Veggie capsules are not the healthiest.”
Somewhat confused I responded, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN?!”
The kind gentleman then proceeded to explain why vegetable capsules are not good for everyday use. He told me that they use a “carcinogenic lubricant” in the manufacturing process. Since this harmful cancer-causing lubricant was not an ingredient, but just a by-product in the manufacturing process, they “legally” did not have to list it as an ingredient.
He continued to explain that there would be microscopic traces of this lubricant left on the capsule and that if a person was using veggie capsules daily for a long period, the carcinogenic chemicals would build up in the body and cause some serious side effects!
After his explanation, I said, “Well, can I get this in writing?”
To which he replied, “No, and I don’t even know why I’m telling you this!”
I then thanked him for his assistance and explained that I would have to go with another capsule manufacture representative because we did not want trace amounts of harmful substances on our capsules.
To this, the representative explained how there were only a handful of vegetable capsule manufacturers in the United States and they are all manufacturing the capsules the same way. He stated, “You probably won’t get another company to admit they are using the lubricant, but we are all using it because we have to in order to make the capsules.”
His best suggestion for the most cost-effective alternative was to encapsulate in 100% Kosher Bovine Gelatin Capsules. So until a cost-effective more healthy alternative exists, I only suggest using the easily digested bovine gelatin capsules instead of the potentially harmful vegetable capsules.
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