Liposomals: The power of intravenous therapy in the convenience of oral supplements
You are what you absorb!
By now you have probably noticed a novel, new type of vitamin and supplement being offered: Liposomals. What are they and how do they work?
Scientists began using liposomal delivery systems in the 1960’s to help certain pharmaceutical drugs reach their intended targets. Five decades of research have led to liposomes (lipidic nanoparticles) being used in anti-cancer, anti-fungal and antibiotic drugs, the delivery of gene medicines, and the delivery of anesthetics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Now, with the innovation of liposomal delivery for vitamins and supplements, we can enjoy the same increase in absorption and bioavailability for those nutrients that have a hard time making it to their optimal destination.
Certain molecules and compounds just don’t have the make up to get through the digestive tract and be absorbed before being broken down. You’ve probably heard the phrase “you are what you eat”. However, when talking about vitamins, a truer statement should be “you are what you absorb”.
What is a liposome? A liposome is a protective coating, using a lipid bilayer that envelops the target nutrient. This is very similar to every cell in our body which is protected by a lipid bilayer. The cells lipid bilayer protects the inner workings of the cell, but also selectively allows nutrients in, while expelling toxins and wastes. Liposomal vitamins and supplements operate with a lipid bilayer as well, that works to protect the major molecule inside. They offer better absorption of nutrients and allow faster absorption of higher dosages into one’s systems, while having less side effects than your capsule, tablet or powder form supplements. Reaching an initial therapeutic dose is much easier when using liposomals.
Benefits of Liposomals:
• High bioavailability and absorption
• Protecting nutrients against the harsh environment of the GI tract
• Increasing oral uptake in the mouth via the mucosa
• Increased uptake into cells
• Versatile: Liposomes can be formulated to hold both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins
• The liquid format of liposomes may be more compatible for those who have trouble swallowing large tablets.
What do you mean by absorption and bioavailabilty?
Absorption and bioavailabilty go hand in hand and refer to the amount of the ingested nutrient that gets absorbed, NOT the administration dose. You’re going to lose part of that during digestion and other processes that it must go through. Only a fraction of that initial dose will reach systemic circulation and absorption. Liposomals increase this absorption amount and bioavailabilty.
Research has shown that liposomal delivery systems offer much better absorption and bioavailabilty than their pill or powder cousins, making them the ideal way to get the nutrients we need, in the amounts we need, as quickly as possible. Liposomes are highly efficient in terms of facilitating antioxidant delivery, and because they are prepared from natural phospholipids, they are biocompatible and nontoxic.
Liposomal delivery systems are becoming increasingly popular for nutraceuticals because they protect these therapeutic molecules from breakdown in the digestive system. In cell culture studies, liposomes can increase intracellular delivery 100-fold over non-liposomal delivery.
Are all liposomes created equal?
NO! Size matters with liposomes and the smaller the better. Just like other products and brands, there are always imposters. Until recently, nutritional manufacturers have used low quality production methods creating large diameter particles (400-1000nm) of a wide variety of sizes. These are virtually useless. This isn’t ideal.
Large liposomes are recognized by the macrophages of the immune system as foreign invaders and cleared from the blood more rapidly. Low quality liposomal products with large sized liposomes can create an inflammatory response in your body if your immune system identifies it as foreign. This is contradictory to health and wellness and larger liposomal formulations should be avoided. Liposomes should be as small as possible, preferably less than 150nm to get maximum benefit.
Just because the title says “liposomal” does not mean it is of the quality necessary to be effective. Make sure to buy from a reputable brand (DesBio, Apex, Energetics), that work to provide the smallest liposomes possible. For instance, Desbio’s liposomal formulations are extremely small, at .08-.17um and have a uniformity in size that is unparalleled.
Things to keep in mind when purchasing liposomal products:
• Size: Smaller is better.
• Large liposomes are recognized as foreign invaders and create an immune response in the body.
• Some nutrients and antioxidants perform MUCH better in liposomal form such as vitamin C, glutathione, and other antioxidants.
• Make sure you buy from a reputable company. Just like anything else, there are imposters. A good liposomal formula will use a shearing method that produces the smallest liposomes possible.