Gelatin is used to make the outer shell of Revital capsule. Gelatin is manufactured by using animal sources.
Hoax or Fact:
Messages spreading online, especially through social networking sites like Facebook, claim that the outer shell of Ranbaxy’s Revital capsules contain Gelatin manufactured from animal sources. Yes, it is a fact! The product description of the nutritional supplement Revital indicates that they are available as dark brown, soft gelatine capsules. That is to say, the outer shell of Revital capsules is made of Gelatin.
Gelatin is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography and cosmetic manufacturing. Gelatin is an animal protein, a mixture of peptides and proteins manufactured by partial hydrolysis of collagen extracted from the bones, skin and connective tissues of animals like domesticated cattle, pigs, chicken and fish. It is because of this that Gelatin capsules can cause an unpleasant taste, sensation of heaviness in the stomach, bloating, heartburn and belching. Sometimes they can cause allergic reactions in some people.
According to WebMD, Gelatin is 'possibly safe' in the larger amounts used as medicine. However, because it comes from animal sources, there is some concern about the safety of gelatin. Some people are worried that unsafe manufacturing practices of gelatin might lead to contamination of gelatin products from diseased animal tissues. Although this risk appears to be low, many experts advise to avoid animal-derived supplements like gelatin. The safety of gelatin in medicinal amount during pregnancy and breast-feeding is not much known. It is better to stay on the safe side and avoid use.
The vegetarian substitutes to animal gelatin include plant-derived gelling agents like Agar, made from red algae. Animal gelatin is often used in capsule making because it is easily available.
More Concerns with Revital like Supplements
Revital is a multi-ingredient nutritional supplement product. It is not a prescription medicine evaluated by the Drugs Controller General, India (DCGI) for its safety and efficacy. It is an over-the-counter (OTC) health supplement advertised in the media. Many drug makers in India have secured approval for drugs as dietary supplements under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, where the price and other regulations on drugs do not apply. This helps them avoid inspection by the authorities. The other popular dietary supplements in India are Dabur India's Nutrigo, Piramal Healthcare's Supractive and Modicare's Well multi-vitamin. In 2012, a senior health ministry official in India said, "In addition to higher cost, there is also a health issue as they are being advertised aggressively as normal health products and there can be side effects if people use them indiscriminately." The Department of Pharmaceuticals, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, DCGI and food regulatory bodies are working to plug this loophole.
To conclude, yes, the outer shells of Ranbaxy’s Revital capsules are made from Gelatin manufactured from animal sources. Note the brown dot inside a square marking printed on the packaging of Revital daily health supplement; it indicates the product is made from non-vegetarian sources. Considering the fact that the nutritional supplement is an OTC drug, not approved by Drugs Controller General, India, it is important to check with your doctor before you use Revital.