Understanding Capsule Sizes and their Role in Nutraceuticals

Pink colored capsules getting manufactured


In the world of nutraceuticals, capsules are a popular choice for delivering a wide range of health-enhancing ingredients. When it comes to creating effective nutraceutical products, the size of the capsules is a crucial factor. The global empty capsule market size is projected to reach more than $5.6 Bn by the end of 2032 growing at a 7.7% CAGR from 2023. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the significance of capsule size in nutraceutical formulations. We will explore how it impacts product efficacy, customer satisfaction, and the pivotal role of contract capsule manufacturers in achieving the desired results. 

Understanding Capsule Sizes

Capsule sizes are standardized and categorized into various numbers, with each number representing a specific size. The two primary types of capsules are:

  1. Gelatin Capsules: These capsules are made from animal-derived gelatin and are typically labeled as "Gelcaps" or "Gelatin Capsules."
  1. Vegetarian Capsules: These are made from plant-derived cellulose and are known as "Veggie Caps" or "Vegicaps." Summit Rx is a full-service contract capsule manufacturer and packager, and specializes in certified organic capsules with pullulan shells. 

Common capsule sizes include 000, 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, with 000 being the largest and 5 being the smallest. The amount of milligrams (mg) that each capsule size can store can vary depending on the density and characteristics of the specific ingredient or formulation being encapsulated. Here is a general estimate of the typical range for some common capsule sizes:

  1. Size 000: This is the largest capsule size and can typically hold between 800 mg to 1600 mg of a powdered substance. 
  1. Size 00: Size 00 capsules are slightly smaller and can typically hold around 500 mg to 1000 mg of powdered material.
  1. Size 0: Size 0 capsules are somewhat smaller and can usually accommodate approximately 300 mg to 600 mg of powdered content.
  1. Size 1: Size 1 capsules are smaller still and typically store about 200 mg to 400 mg of powdered ingredients.
  1. Size 2: These capsules are smaller than the previous sizes and typically hold around 150 mg to 300 mg of powdered material.
  1. Size 3: Size 3 capsules are even smaller and can usually store approximately 100 mg to 200 mg of powdered content.
  1. Size 4: Size 4 capsules can typically hold about 60 mg to 150 mg of powdered ingredients.
  1. Size 5: Size 5 capsules are the smallest standard size and are typically used for products with lower dosages or very fine powders. They can generally hold around 40 mg to 100 mg of powdered ingredients.

It's important to note that these estimates are general guidelines and the actual amount of milligrams a capsule can hold may vary depending on the specific formulation and the density of the ingredients. The choice of capsule size should be made based on the desired dosage, customer preferences, and the compatibility of the ingredients with the chosen size. Accurate dosing and ingredient compatibility should always be confirmed through testing during the formulation and manufacturing process.


The Impact of Capsule Size on Nutraceutical Formulations

  1. Dosage Precision:

The size of the capsule directly affects the amount of active ingredients that can be incorporated into the product. Larger capsules, such as 000 or 00, can accommodate a lower dosage of the active ingredient, making them suitable for low-potency formulations. Smaller capsules, on the other hand, are ideal for products with higher dosages. Summit Rx has a 47,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility equipped with capabilities that can help control and achieve the desired particle size and density

Example: A manufacturer developing a high-potency vitamin supplement may opt for size 3 capsules to ensure precise dosing.

  1. Customer Preference:

Consumers have their own preferences when it comes to capsule size. Some people prefer larger capsules as they believe they are more potent, while others find smaller capsules easier to swallow.

Example: A contract capsule manufacturer may collaborate with a brand to offer multiple capsule size options for a specific product to cater to a broader customer base.

  1. Ingredients Compatibility:

Certain nutraceutical ingredients may have specific requirements regarding encapsulation. Capsule size can influence the compatibility of these ingredients with the chosen delivery system.

Example: Herbal extracts or ingredients with a strong odor may be better suited for larger capsules that can encapsulate them effectively while masking any unpleasant smells or tastes.

  1. Formulation Stability:

Capsule size can also impact the stability and shelf life of a nutraceutical product. Smaller capsules may have a higher surface-to-volume ratio, which can lead to faster degradation of sensitive ingredients.

Example: Omega-3 fatty acids are prone to oxidation. A contract capsule manufacturer may recommend larger capsules with protective coatings to increase the stability of the product.

The Role of Contract Capsule Manufacturers

Capsule manufacturing is the process of creating the outer shells that encase nutraceutical and pharmaceutical ingredients. These capsules serve as the primary delivery system for various active components, enabling precise dosing, ingredient protection, and ease of consumption. The manufacturing process includes the selection of capsule material (gelatin or vegetarian), formulation design, and quality control. It's a critical step in ensuring the overall success and efficacy of nutraceutical products. Here is the ultimate guide to capsule manufacturing.

Contract capsule manufacturing, often referred to as third-party or contract manufacturing, offers an array of advantages to brands and companies in the nutraceutical industry. Here's how contract capsule manufacturers play a crucial role,

  1. Expertise: Contract manufacturers are specialists in capsule production and have an in-depth understanding of the intricacies involved in selecting the appropriate capsule size, material, and design. By choosing Summit Rx as your full-service contract capsule manufacturer, you can benefit from our expertise, and commitment to quality.
  1. Cost-Efficiency: Contract manufacturers have economies of scale, allowing for bulk purchasing of materials and efficient production processes, which can lead to cost savings for brand owners.
  1. Regulatory Compliance: Navigating the complex regulatory landscape in the nutraceutical industry can be challenging. Contract manufacturers are well-versed in industry regulations and ensure that products meet compliance standards.
  1. Quality Assurance: Contract capsule manufacturers implement rigorous quality control processes to guarantee that capsules meet the highest quality standards, providing peace of mind to brand owners and consumers. Summit Rx takes pride in manufacturing capsules without or minimal use of excipients and making the final product with a “ clean label” tag.
  1. Customization: They often offer a range of customization options, allowing brands to select capsule colors, transparency, and even branding. This customization enhances product aesthetics and reinforces brand identity. 
  1. Flexibility: Contract capsule manufacturers can accommodate a wide range of production volumes, making them an ideal choice for both small startups and established brands.

The expertise and services provided by contract capsule manufacturers are invaluable in the capsule manufacturing process, ensuring that brands can navigate the complex landscape of nutraceuticals effectively, delivering high-quality, effective products that meet the needs of both brands and consumers. The choice of capsule size should be made carefully to ensure that the final product aligns with the brand's goals and customer preferences. Whether you're launching a new product or seeking to enhance an existing one, contract capsule manufacturing can be the key to success in the nutraceutical industry. Whether you prefer private label or white label packaging, Summit Rx offers customizable solutions to help you build a unique brand identity or quickly enter the market with established products. Contact us to discuss your capsule manufacturing needs or request a free quote today!