What does titanium dioxide do in capsules?

On August 7, 2022, the European Union prohibited the use of TiO2 as a food additive in food and food supplements. Here’s what you need to know.

TiO2 Free Empty Capsules

What is titanium dioxide?

Titanium dioxide is an inorganic compound. While titanium is one of the most commonly occurring metals on earth, is does not naturally occur in its elemental form. Titanium dioxide is formed when titanium reacts with the oxygen that is in the air.

For many years titanium dioxide has been used in a wide range of products, from toothpaste to food products and much more.

Why is titanium dioxide being banned?

As you might guess, titanium dioxide is being banned because some studies have indicated that ingesting it can be harmful. That said, this issue is somewhat controversial. While some regulatory bodies, including that of the EU, have concluded that TiO2 is unsafe, others, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), feel that the data is inconclusive and that a ban is therefore not warranted.

What does titanium dioxide do in capsules?

There are a number of reasons why TiO2 has traditionally been an ingredient in hard two-piece capsules. These include the facts that titanium dioxide… 

  • Is a common white pigment.
  • Has excellent opacifying properties.
  • Does not chemically react with other ingredients.
  • Can withstand both light and heat exposure.
  • Absorbs ultraviolet rays, thereby protecting the capsule’s fill from degradation by light.

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Does removing TiO2 affect capsule color?

Yes. For example, Capsuline offers white TiO2-free K-CAPS® vegetarian capsules as well as TiO2-free gelatin capsules. To achieve the white color, free of TiO2, Capsuline uses calcium carbonate as an opacifier. We can also offer any other color, in both gelatin and vegetarian capsules, using FDA-approved dyes without the addition of titanium dioxide. In addition, K-CAPS®  vegetarian capsules can be made with natural colorants, such as chlorophyll, saffron, spirulina, carmine, etc... These natural colorants are completely free of both titanium dioxide and calcium carbonate. 

Because they do not contain titanium dioxide, none of these capsules are fully opaque. Although they can provide some masking of the capsule’s fill material, they are translucent.

Tio2 Free Capsules

How can switching to TiO2 free capsules help your brand?

As already stated, if you are selling food supplements in the European Union, using TiO2 free capsules is now a regulatory requirement. Using TiO2 free gelatin capsules is a great option if your goal is to cut costs at production while meeting this regulatory requirement.

But even if you are not selling in the European Union, if your goal is to achieve a more marketable product that is free of synthetic pigments and animal products, TiO2 free vegetarian capsules made with natural colorants can give a major boost to your “clean label” claims. 

Especially in the nutritional supplement space, you know that consumers are demanding “clean” products. They do not want to consume anything that they believe may be harmful to their health, regardless of what their country’s regulatory agencies say is safe to consume. These consumers are looking for products that are not just free of free of TiO2. They also want to avoid heavy metals, GMOs, BSE, starch, synthetic pigments, animal products and more. K-CAPS® with natural colorants meet all of these demands—and are also vegan registered and both Kosher and Halal certified.

Why make the switch? Because TiO2 free capsules can increase your sales by expanding your market appeal. If you are interest in purchasing TiO2 free capsules, request a quote

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