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Veggie Capsules

by Carly Neubert, BA, NC on August 18, 2021

As a part of the era of supplementing and medication, you’re probably familiar with capsules. Though pills and products come in all shapes and sizes, capsules are among the most prevalent. Today’s blog is all about veggie capsules. These are capsules that are made out of vegetarian materials and are used to contain a variety of active ingredients like essential oils, vitamins, minerals, and other supplements.

Veggie capsules have a variety of benefits; they don’t contain irritants, preservatives, sugar, wheat, corn, dairy, or soy. They are a safe choice for health-conscious and consumers with allergies. You can even buy empty veggie capsules to fill yourself! Within this article, you will find some more general info on veggie capsules, as well as answers to some commonly asked questions on this topic. Hope you enjoy it!

What are Veggie Capsules?

As I mentioned above, veggie capsules are clear capsules manufactured entirely from vegetable sources. These are a great alternative for individuals who are vegetarian, vegan, or simply health-conscious and looking for an alternative to standard capsules. They are also safe for individuals with various allergy concerns. Veggie capsules are often fast dissolving and easily digested and are preferred by many supplement manufacturers. Plus, you can purchase empty capsules as well - to fill as you desire. Still, there are some differences between veggie and standard capsules that should be taken into account when creating your own. In general, veggie capsules hold between 150 and 300 or more milligrams of material. 

How Were Veggie Capsules Created? 

Today, there are many individuals who choose to eliminate meat from their diets. Regardless of their reasoning, a recent poll shows that millions of Americans are vegan or vegetarian. This number is only growing, including the sales of plant-based alternatives to traditionally non-veggie products. Thus, the need arose for a plant-based version of the more common animal gelatin capsules. 

Veggie capsules are predominantly made out of vegetable cellulose - a key component of plant cell walls and vegetable fibers. There are several different types of cellulose that can be used to make these capsules, such as hypromellose. The main thing to know about this substance is that it comes from softwood trees (think pine and fir) and can function as a powerful binding and coating agent - this makes it a great alternative to animal gelatin. 

For this reason, veggie capsules provide all of the quality of a gelatin capsule, without the need for the use of animal byproducts. Like their gelatin counterparts, veggie capsules slowly release active ingredients as they are digested. Additionally, they can be used for both powdered and liquid supplements; there are no clear limitations. Finally, they are tasteless; when consumed, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a traditional gelatin capsule and a veggie one.

Are Gelatin Capsules Bad For You?

When it comes to capsules, the gelatin ones are definitely the most popular. Not only are they inexpensive to make, but capsules were originally created in this manner. To make gelatin, the hooves, skin, and bones of cows and pigs are crushed to create this gel-like substance. This gel is then highly processed and formed into a capsule shape. Like vegetable cellulose, it serves as a binding and protective agent that is great for making capsules.

Gelatin itself is not harmful. In fact, it contains collagen, which has several health benefits. The main reason why people opt to avoid these capsules is that they contain processed animal byproducts. This often goes against individuals’ lifestyles, dietary restrictions, and religious beliefs. 

How Long Does it Take For Them to Dissolve? 

Dissolving times and absorption all depend on your own body, however, there are guidelines surrounding when capsules dissolve in general. Vegetarian capsules generally start with less than 10% water content. In one’s body, they slowly hydrate for 30-60 minutes before disintegrating. Still, vegetarian capsule content can change from supplement to supplement. If you are trying to figure out the dissolving time for a certain product or capsule, it may be best to search for the dissolving/absorption times of that item specifically. 

When it comes to dissolving, there are other factors that apply too, like your body’s temperature and present stomach acids. Some research has been done on whether or not consuming active ingredient tablets or capsules with a hot drink provides faster absorption, yet there haven’t been any direct conclusions on the matter. 

Why Do Pills Not Dissolve in the Stomach?

If you’re interested in knowing a bit of the science behind why pills dissolve in your stomach - the key is pH. Basically, pH is a measurement of how acidic or basic an environment is. The human stomach is an extremely acidic environment, with a pH between one and two. When creating pills (medication, supplements, etc.) manufacturers can make it so that the targeted product dissolves at a pH of around one or two. This type of pill is designed so that it is dissolved in your stomach. Then, it makes its way into the bloodstream without having to go through the intestines. For many pills/medications, this does the trick.

However, it is worth noting that not all pills are meant to be dissolved in the stomach. For certain drugs and supplements, your stomach’s acidic environment can actually interfere with the drug’s potency. In this case, the pill does not dissolve inside the stomach. Instead, it moves onto the large intestine, where it is then broken down and dissolved. 

Where Can I Buy Empty Veggie Capsules?

Another popular use for veggie capsules is buying them empty and filling them with your own desired ingredients. In fact, many individuals buy empty veggie capsules as a quick and effective way to get their daily dose of essential oils. They are relatively inexpensive - most retailers sell them in packs of anywhere from 100 to 500 veggie capsules for an average of $7 a pack. 

Some popular veggie capsule sellers are Walmart, Capsule Depot, The Vitamin Shoppe, Capsule Connection, Carlson Labs, and more. You can purchase capsules specifically for essential oils from sites like Doterra as well. If you’re looking to purchase some of your own veggie capsules, chances are you’ll be able to find a retailer that works for you, these are just some suggestions.

Altogether, veggie capsules are an awesome concept to be familiar with. At Healthy Habits Living, a majority of our products are available in veggie capsule form to ensure that everyone has the chance to find the product that suits them best. Click here to browse some of what we have to offer. 

If you’re currently struggling with pill swallowing, or simply want to know more about taking pills in general, check out this blog. For some personalized health and wellness support, schedule a consultation today.


  1. https://www.capsuledepot.com/vegetarian-capsule-information/#:~:text=A%20vegetarian%20capsule%20is%20a,health%2Dconscious%20and%20allergic%20consumers
  2. https://smpnutra.com/everything-to-know-about-vegetable-capsules-explained 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4153977/#:~:text=Whilst%20capsules%20and%20tablets%20are,bioavailable%20faster%20than%20tablet%20formulations
  4. https://www.indiatoday.in/lifestyle/wellness/story/how-pills-dissolve-in-your-body-macro-room-lifest-332583-2016-08-01
  5. https://news.gallup.com/poll/267074/percentage-americans-vegetarian.aspx