There are a two opposing camps about the tablet vs capsule vitamins argument. Let’s break it down here though and see how the two compare.
The biggest differentiation in the tablet vs capsule vitamins argument is really in tablet disintegration. This is important because a tablet that breaks down too slowly will fail to provide the specific nutrient to critical intestinal sites, decreasing absorption and potentially causing gastrointestinal upset. For higher quality and often the more expensive tablets, strict specifications for tablet disintegration and testing is the only way to that every lot meets industry specifications. Aside from disintegration, there is also tablet friability (chipping) and hardness (breaking strength). Mineral tablets, for example should disintegrate in less than 45 minutes, as specified by the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP).
To round out the tablet vs capsule vitamins argument- capsules are usually made from animal source gelatin or, if vegetarian, from starches like plant fiber derivatives. This allows them to dissolve from anywhere from almost instantly to within a matter of 15 to 30 minutes.
Here is a brief summary of the relative characteristics of tablet vs capsule vitamins:
ADVANTAGES OF CAPSULES
Unique mixes and ingredients are possible
Sealed hard gelatin caps are good oxygen barriers
Protection for sensitive ingredients
Shell normally breaks down/opens in 4 minutes
Reduced gastrointestinal irritation
Odorless, tasteless, easy to swallow
Oil and fat-soluble nutrient delivery
DISADVANTAGES OF CAPSULES
Bulky materials can result in large capsule size
Can be susceptible to moisture
ADVANTAGES OF TABLETS
Custom size, shape, and appearance
Notching possible for dose splitting
Low cost coatings for enteric delivery
DISADVANTAGES OF TABLETS
Excessive compaction, poor dissolution
Granulation technique can add heat/moisture to viable components
Customer concerns/self-testing of tablet dissolution
Problems with irritant compounds exacerbated by poor tableting
Now there is often a price difference between tablets vs capsule vitamins. Tablets are what many large scale manufactures use for their vitamins since they are cheaper when done in bulk. At SIX nutrition we don’t use tablets in our vitamins. We only use capsules so that we can deliver the right about of vitamins at the right amount of time.