Vitamin C supplements are the most commonly used supplement in the UK. The majority of Vitamin C products are either desiccated tablets or effervescent products. While these products generally contain 1g of Vitamin C, the body only absorbs about 7-8% of the total amount. This means that for every gram of Vitamin C that is ingested, only 70-80mg is absorbed, and plasma Vitamin C levels stay relatively low.
Liposomes are spherical shells made up of a double layer of fatty acids similar to the natural layer that makes up the outer membrane of the body’s cells. This bilayer can be used to encapsulate nutrients or pharmaceutical drugs for protection from damaging stomach acids and reduced resistance for absorption. Once encapsulated the vitamin C cannot escape the liposome until the phospholipid bilayer is disrupted e.g. absorption/breakdown in the body.
The liposome protects its contents against the harsh acids of the stomach and allows easier absorption in the stomach and higher intestinal tract. Once absorbed from the gut breakdown of the liposome occurs and contents of the liposome are released into the bloodstream. The phosphatidylcholine-enriched lipids that are commonly used in the production of liposomes are utilised elsewhere in the body for the production of new cells.
Absorption reaches high absorption levels due to the protective effects of the liposome. The contents of the stomach are aqueous in nature meaning it cannot pass through the hydrophobic layers of the liposome. This firstly allows more Vitamin C to be available to the body as less is destroyed. Secondly, the liposome has more affinity for absorption than Vitamin C alone and is taken up more readily by the body.
Liposomes are quickly becoming more commonplace in the delivery of targeted treatments and other liposomal supplements are undergoing trials for effectiveness, such as N-acetyl-carnitine and curcumin.
There are many benefits for Vitamin C supplementation which we’ll be covering in later blogs. Liposomal Vitamin C products give rise to a new line of effective supplements increasing the effectiveness off supplementation up to 13 times in some cases.