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The truth about tablets and capsules Many dietary supplement consumers believe that nutrients from capsules are absorbed better than from tablets because in some cases the latter have been known to pass through the GI tract intact. While it could be true for some manufacturers, this is not the case with tablets produced by NOW®. At NOW, we continually monitor tablet quality, particularly disintegration. This is important because a tablet that breaks down too slowly (or not at all) will fail to release specific nutrients to critical intestinal sites, decreasing absorption and potentially causing gastrointestinal upset. As such, we have strict specifications for tablet disintegration, testing every lot to assure that tablets will behave properly in the GI tract. Our mineral tablets, for example, disintegrate in under 60 minutes, which gives them plenty of time to get absorbed. We test tablets for disintegration using specialized and standardized equipment. We typically use water and/or simulated stomach or intestinal fluids, where required. Vinegar (acetic acid) or any other arbitrary chemical is not an appropriate test medium. We also check friability (chipping) and hardness (breaking strength) on all our tablets. Capsules are usually made from animal source gelatin or, if vegetarian, from starch hydrolysate or hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, a plant fiber derivative. At NOW, we strive to use the smallest capsule possible, minimizing the use of excipients. Shop all NOW Supplements. Here is a brief summary of the relative characteristics of encapsulated and tableted supplements: ADVANTAGES OF CAPSULES Unique mixes of ingredients are possible Sealed hard gelatin capsules can be good oxygen barriers Protection for sensitive ingredients Capsules can be opened to obtain powdered ingredients Reduced gastrointestinal irritation Odorless, tasteless, easy to swallow Oil and fat-soluble nutrient delivery ADVANTAGES OF TABLETS Widely accepted, elegant Custom size, shape, and appearance Scored tablets make it possible for dose splitting; NOW Foods sells only a few scored tablets Typically have lower cost Preferred delivery for products with large amounts per serving due to compressibility Chewable tablets can be consumed by multiple demographics Controlled release agents used in tablets can aid specific nutrient uptake Low cost coatings for enteric delivery when necessary Dissolution control for quick, delayed, or extended release DISADVANTAGES OF CAPSULES Bulky materials can result in large capsule size Ingredients can interact with capsule shell Limited fill weight based on capsule volumes Variation in fill volume is known to occur Can be more costly Softgel contents restricted to a tight pH range DISADVANTAGES OF TABLETS Potentially poor disintegration in the GI tract, unless properly controlled for disintegration Granulation technique can add heat/moisture to components Potential sensitivities to coatings Both capsules and tablets each have their merits, but our customers can rest assured that the Quality and Research and Development departments at NOW Foods are on top of the latest technologies that provide you with the highest quality in both delivery systems.  Source :



Amino acids are the foundation for all life on Earth. As the molecular building blocks of proteins, they’re necessary for many essential life functions. Comprised primarily of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen, amino acids assemble in various sequences to create different proteins. In addition to their essentiality in the assembly of proteins for both collagen and muscle tissue, amino acids play an integral role in a wide range of bodily functions. They’re required for the production of certain neurotransmitters, as well as enzymes for the digestion of foods and many other biochemical processes including tissue repair, detoxification, the production of genetic material and hormones, and much, much more. Amino acids and the proteins they comprise account for approximately 75% of the human body’s dry weight..

Despite the almost infinite number of variations possible, and the more than 500 classified amino acids, all organisms on Earth rely on the same 20 amino acids for life. All amino acids begin with a “backbone” consisting of a central carbon atom (C), an amine group (-NH2), a carboxyl group (-COOH), and a hydrogen atom. Any subsequent atoms or groups are called side chains, or R groups. These side chains determine the individual identity of each amino acid. Single amino acids are then linked into peptides and assembled into various structures to form proteins.

There are actually 22 common amino acids that are incorporated into proteins, but only 20 of these are encoded by the universal genetic code. The other two (selenocysteine and pyrrolysine) are only incorporated into proteins via unique mechanisms. These 20 amino acids are grouped into three categories – essential, non-essential, and conditionally essential.

More topics covered in this guide include:

  • Essential Amino Acids
  • Non-Essential Amino Acids
  • Conditionally Essential Amino Acids
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids
  • Free-Form Amino Acids
  • Other Amino Acids of Nutritional Value

NOW® is the clear #1 brand in the amino acid category (SPINSscan Natural data 2016). We carry a comprehensive variety of amino acid supplements in capsule, vegetable capsule, tablet, liquid and powder forms for your convenience. NOW uses only the natural “L” form of amino acids and no “D” or “DL” synthetic forms. Aside from some of our combination amino acid supplements, NOW amino acids are bioavailable free-form aminos.