Choosing the Right Capsule Part 3 – Enteric Capsules

Enteric Capsules - ACID RESISTANT 

Enteric capsules, also known as extended-release capsules, are uniquely designed to resist the acidic environment of the human stomach during the digestive process until they reach the next step of digestion. Enteric capsules are treated with a material to prevent or minimize dissolution in the stomach, allowing it only in the small intestine. This type of formulation either shields the stomach from a potentially irritating drug or shields the drug from partial degradation in the acidic environment of the stomach. Learn why our capsules are different than other enteric capsules… 

The History of Enteric Capsules

Enteric formulas were initially created to manage medicine that had a foul taste or caused gastric discomfort to the consumer. If patients were unable to take a medicine without vomiting due to its awful aftertaste, the patient couldn’t be treated. Early attempts to find the solution to this issue consisted of using substances that aren’t affected by stomach acids such as fats, waxes and paraffin.

Why are Capsuline’s Enteric Capsules different than others?

Unlike other capsules that are coated after the manufacturing process, Capsuline’s enteric capsules have the enteric component right in the formulation. This ensures consistent performance regardless of the formulation used in our capsules.

How do Enteric Capsules Work?

Enteric capsules work by utilizing the different acidic and alkaline pH characteristics of the different parts of the human digestive tract. The human body’s overall pH hovers around the neutral range of 7, but different parts of the body have varying internal pH levels.

The human stomach is acidic, with a pH of 1.5-3.5. This high level of acidity is what enables your stomach to breakdown the foods you eat for proper digestion.

After the stomach, the acidity decreases to an almost neutral level in the duodenum, before the pH increases in the small intestine to the slightly alkaline pH 7.4. Capsuline Enteric capsules are made with plant-derived HPMC and HPMCP, the latter is the enteric ingredient that only breaks down in environments with a pH of 5.5 or higher, allowing the capsule to pass through the acidic environment of the stomach (pH of 1.5-3.5) without dissolving.

In other words, this means that they pass through the stomach intact, and then dissolve approximately one to two hours after ingestion when they reach the alkaline environment of the small intestine.


A capsule that passes successfully through the stomach without dissolving has several applications but is most often used when:

  • The lining of the stomach must be protected from potentially harming or irritating substances; irritating of the stomach can lead to nausea, vomiting and potential injury.
  • The substance contained within the capsule must reach a lower part of the digestive tract before dissolving to successfully administer the intended contents.
    • (For example: some medications used to treat intestinal disorders must reach the intestines before the capsule dissolves; this allows the medication to retain its integrity and potency until it reaches the treatment site.)

Benefits of Enteric Capsules

For some formulations, enteric capsules are the best choice. This is because they:

  • Do not irritate the stomach. Many common drugs, such as aspirin, can irritate the stomach. Because they pass through the stomach intact, Enteric Capsules avoid this problem.
  • Preserve enzyme activity. Most tablets break down in the acidic environment of the stomach. Unfortunately, depending on the product’s formulation, this acidic environment can also negatively impact the desired enzyme activity. Enteric Capsules protect the enzymes so that they can be absorbed, at their highest activity levels, in the small intestine.
  • Take longer to dissolve. While most capsules dissolve within 15 minutes, Enteric Capsules do not break
    down until they reach an environment with the proper pH level. Rate of digestion is highly dependent on the contents and fullness of one’s stomach. Reaching the small intestine can take up to 7 hours, so this aspect is important for proper administration.


The Bottom Line

Enteric capsules come with many benefits to their consumers and allow the release of medications and supplements after the stomach in the intestines. Browse Capsuline to see the full line of our enteric capsules in stock right now!

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