When you take an oral supplement, you may not think too deeply about the construction of the pill itself — but it can make a difference. 

Oral supplements usually come in the form of a tablet or softgel capsule; surprisingly enough, each offers its own benefits. Although it may seem like an insignificant decision or a simple preference from an outside perspective, several factors determine how a supplement is created.

Between tablets, hard-shell capsules, and softgels, each has its pros and cons. At iwi life, all our softgel capsules are thoughtfully made. We choose to provide our formula through softgel pills for several reasons — read on as we explain them.

What Are Softgels?

Softgels are a type of supplement coated with either gelatin or soft plant-based material. They differ from other pills in that they provide nutrients in a liquid form. These pills are soft to the touch and have a small degree of flexibility, especially when squeezed.

Softgels come in various shapes and sizes depending on the nutrient and the recommended dosage. The coating of the pills has no taste or odor, save for any smell that may come from the active ingredients inside. Many softgels can be made without sugar, animal products, GMOs, and gluten, making them suitable for various lifestyles.

Take softgels the same way you would take any capsule or tablet — swallowing the capsule with a few ounces of water or juice. As with any supplement, follow the instructions on the label and do not take more than the recommended dosage.

How Do Softgel Capsules Work?

algae omega-3 softgels

Since softgels are made from a soft material, they are easier to swallow than other supplements. The soft coating is made with either gelatin or plant material that contains a protein that is easily digestible by the stomach.

Once they reach the stomach, the outer coating of softgels quickly dissolves and begins releasing nutrients into the bloodstream

These nutrients are released in just a few minutes. Softgels provide easier access to the nutrients than other oral supplements since the fill material is already in liquid form and does not need to be broken down further by the stomach. The coating is the only part of the capsule that needs to be dissolved by the stomach and has no aftertaste.

Softgel pills only work if they are swallowed whole. Do not bite, chew, or crush the softgel capsules. Otherwise, your body may not absorb the nutrients properly.

What Are the Benefits of Softgel Pills?

Because softgel pills break down so easily in the stomach, they offer many benefits. The coating also provides additional benefits before the supplement reaches the stomach and allows for easier ingestion and dosage measurement.

Durability

The material used to make softgel capsules is typically antioxidant, meaning that the contents inside are protected from factors like oxidation and UV rays. As a result, softgel capsules protect the nutrients inside from light, air, and even humidity.

Increased Bioavailability

When you take a nutritional supplement, you expect your body to receive the dosage of nutrients listed on the label. However, due to the varying bioavailability of some supplement ingredients, your body may not absorb all of the nutrients you ingest. On the bright side, softgels increase the bioavailability of nutrients inside, more so than other pills like capsules and tablets.

At iwi life, our softgel capsules allow us to provide a nutrient-rich omega-3 supplement while ensuring maximum nutrient absorption. Since our algae-based omega-3 formulation provides at least 1.7X better absorption of omega-3s than other sources, we do not want these benefits to go to waste, which is why our supplements consist of easily digestible plant-based gel capsules.

Oils and Fat-Soluble Supplements

Softgels are the only form of oral supplement conducive to holding a liquid substance. This makes softgels the best choice for taking oils and fat-soluble supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids. Placing these supplements in a digestible coating allows the nutrients in the inner fill to be easily delivered to the stomach, where they are absorbed.

This provides a great alternative to taking oil supplements by the spoonful because no measuring is involved. Every capsule is pre-measured for the right dosage. Your only concern is to follow the instructions for daily dosage amounts accordingly.

What Are the Drawbacks of Softgel Pills?

Softgel Pills

Softgels have very few drawbacks, but depending on the type of pill, they may pose a problem for some lifestyles. Fortunately, the drawbacks are not unavoidable — they just require a bit more vigilance.

Capsule Ingredients

It is crucial to note that this is not the case for all softgel pills, but most softgel pills are made from gelatin, which is derived from animals. This dosage form can be a drawback for many, like vegans and vegetarians. If you follow a plant-based lifestyle, double-check the softgel supplement's construction before you take it.

Fortunately, individuals who avoid animal products still have the option to take softgel capsules that are made from plant-based ingredients. All iwi life softgel supplements are made without gelatin and are 100% plant-based. Non-gelatin capsules are typically made with some form of starch derived from plants.

Shorter Shelf-Life

Although softgel pills can withstand environmental factors like UV rays and humidity, the substances themselves may not allow for as long a shelf-life as other supplement forms. Because softgel pills contain nutrients in a liquid form instead of powder or dried botanicals, they often lose potency and expire sooner than the other supplements.

Which Are Better, Softgels, Tablets, or Hard-Shell Capsules?

Softgels, tablets, and hard-shell capsules are the three main oral dosage forms of supplements. Now that we’ve talked about the pros and cons of softgels, let’s do a quick review of other types of supplements for a more complete understanding.

Tablets

Tablets provide multiple benefits, as they have the longest shelf-life of any of the three forms and the highest nutrient density. Tablets are made from tightly compacted granulated or powder ingredients and may be chewable or non-chewable. 

Because they are so tightly compact, they can pack more nutrients in a smaller pill than the other forms. On the other hand, because tablets are for dried powders, the types of nutrients that can be taken and absorbed in tablet form are limited.

These supplements can be either coated or uncoated. They can sometimes be coated for improved taste or easier ingestion. Coated supplements can also protect the active ingredients in the pill from stomach acid so that they are not released until it reaches the small intestine.

Although they are more shelf-stable, the hard compacted powder of tablets allows them to break more easily than other supplements.

Hard-Shell Capsules

These capsules are used for medications and supplements that can be delivered in dry forms like a powder. Capsules consist of two halves bonded together in the middle to hold the proper dosage. Although these capsules are generally durable, they can be easily pulled apart if tampered with.

Encapsulation is great for medications or supplements that benefit from time-release or are formulated with two different compounds.

As for drawbacks, hard-shell capsules may have a shorter shelf-life and respond poorly to environmental factors, like humidity. Additionally, they are often larger than other oral supplements, which can make for an unpleasant experience trying to swallow them, even with plenty of water.

Each of the three offers its own benefits and drawbacks. In most cases, the type of pill you use will depend on the nutrient you take and which form provides the most reasonable delivery method. For example, a tablet or hard-shell capsule is generally not a good option for an oil or liquid supplement. Similarly, although softgel pills provide the most effective delivery systems for nutrients, they are not ideal for every dietary supplement.

Take Out the Guesswork from Your Supplement

Softgel Pills

Softgel pills offer multiple benefits over tablets and capsules, including easier ingestion and increased bioavailability, allowing you to get the most out of your supplement. Softgel encapsulation may cause problems for some lifestyles as some pills are coated with gelatin or other animal products, but fortunately, there are alternatives. With iwi life, you do not have to worry.

When you take any iwi life supplement, you can trust that the supplement is entirely plant-based, from the ingredients to the softgel capsules, and you never have to guess whether there are animal derivatives. Ouromega-3 supplement is no different. 

The softgel capsule provides the best delivery method for the nutrients within this formula of omega-3, -6,-7, and -9 fatty acids. Rich in these vital nutrients, this supplement is an excellent choice to support your brain, heart, eye, and joint health. To learn more about the benefits of iwi life products, explore our collection.

 

Sources:

High Quality Softgel Products | Captek Softgel

Are your capsules vegetarian or nonvegetarian: An ethical and scientific justification | PubMed Central

What Are Softgels? Tips on how to take Softgel Capsules | World Healthcare Pharma

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