Enhancing Absorption With Lypo-Absorb Vitamin C: How Liposome Delivery Supports Better Nutrient Bioavailability in the Body
Famously involved with an epidemic that killed more than two million sailors between 1500 and 1800, vitamin C deficiencies create the highly unpleasant and ultimately fatal disease known as scurvy. Well before the nutrient was isolated in 1932, an 18th-century Scottish doctor uncovered that vitamin C-rich foods like lemons and oranges were the only way to prevent scurvy aboard these long sea voyages (1).
Now, we know that vitamin C is an essential component of maintaining a healthy immune system, healing wounds and infections, providing antioxidant activity, and making collagen — a protein needed to grow bones, cartilage, blood vessels, skin, gums, and teeth. However, we’ve also realized that vitamin C supplements at doses above the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) are of limited use in the body, as these higher doses cannot be fully absorbed and utilized. The solution is the discovery of a delivery system that safely transports vitamin C to the cells that need them — these delivery structures are known as liposomes (1).
What Are Liposomes?
First described in the 1960s, liposomes are nano-sized, bubble-shaped structures that hold the answer to overcoming issues of poor absorption. Liposomes help nutrients or other compounds travel safely through the harsh and acidic digestive tract, remaining intact until they reach their target cells.
The key to the success of liposomes comes down to their molecular structure. These microscopic bubbles consist of a double layer of phospholipids surrounding a liquid center. Phospholipids are fat-based compounds that make up our cell membranes, consisting of both a water-loving (hydrophilic) “head” and a water-hating (hydrophobic) “tail.”
This unique structure allows the outer-facing hydrophilic heads to attract water and form a closed structure while their hydrophobic tails are safely inside the bubble. Because liposomes have a water-based center, the second layer of phospholipid heads line up to face the inside of the bubble. The double-layered bubble then safely protects the nutrient or compound inside — like vitamin C — allowing it to travel through the digestive tract and bloodstream until it meets our cells. From there, the liposome merges with our cell membranes and releases the inner nutrient contents into the cell.
The body recognizes and accepts liposomal structures because they are phospholipid-based, mimicking our own cell membranes. This means that vitamin C can be directly delivered into cells without fearing degradation or excretion in the urine before utilization (2).
Why We Love Liposomes: Recent Research
Previous research has found that using liposomal technology supports better uptake and utilization of nutrients or compounds by our cells.
One study from 2016 looked at vitamin C absorption and bioavailability rates, comparing oral supplements, liposomal encapsulations, and intravenous (IV) vitamin C in a small group of healthy adults. The researchers found that, while IV infusion of vitamin C led to the highest circulating concentrations of vitamin C — as expected, as this method goes directly into the bloodstream — liposomal vitamin C exhibited approximately 30% better absorption than oral supplements (3).
Another study found even more striking results, with liposomal vitamin C showing over 75% improved bioavailability compared to non-liposomal vitamin C supplements (4).
In other research, liposomes were used to deliver peptides — short chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins — which are typically broken down in the digestive tract. Liposomal encapsulation improved peptide bioavailability by over 400% (5).
The Perks of Phospholipids
In addition to providing superior absorption capabilities, the phospholipids that make up liposomal bilayers also benefit human health. Because phospholipids are a critical component of human cell membranes, the liposomal system can deliver the phospholipids themselves, allowing cells to incorporate them and repair any damaged membranes.
It’s thought that consuming dietary phospholipids can help support cardiovascular health and cognition, as strong cell membranes play a significant role in supporting our heart, brain, and blood vessels (6).
Introducing Lypo-Absorb Vitamin C
With the advantages of this unique delivery system in mind, ProHealth is now offering vitamin C supplements in liposomal form, with the product Lypo-Absorb Vitamin C. As opposed to most vitamin C supplements, which come in capsule or tablet form, Lypo-Absorb Vitamin C comes in liquid form with small liposome particles, ensuring optimal absorption and utilization by the body.
- Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for supporting a healthy immune system, repairing wounds, and providing the building blocks for collagen protein production.
- However, vitamin C is often poorly absorbed by the body in typical supplement forms — especially when taken in higher doses.
- Liposomes are unique bubble-like structures that help deliver nutrients or compounds directly to cells, bypassing the harsh environment of the stomach and intestines.
- Liposomal vitamin C is a more efficient and effective way to supplement with vitamin C, enhancing absorption rates and bioavailability.
- Padayatty SJ, Levine M. Vitamin C: the known and the unknown and Goldilocks. Oral Dis. 2016;22(6):463-493. doi:10.1111/odi.12446
- Akbarzadeh A, Rezaei-Sadabady R, Davaran S, et al. Liposome: classification, preparation, and applications. Nanoscale Res Lett. 2013;8(1):102. Published 2013 Feb 22. doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-102
- Davis JL, Paris HL, Beals JW, et al. Liposomal-encapsulated Ascorbic Acid: Influence on Vitamin C Bioavailability and Capacity to Protect Against Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury. Nutr Metab Insights. 2016;9:25-30. Published 2016 Jun 20. doi:10.4137/NMI.S39764
- Gopi S, Balakrishnan P. Evaluation and clinical comparison studies on liposomal and non-liposomal ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and their enhanced bioavailability. J Liposome Res. 2021;31(4):356-364. doi:10.1080/08982104.2020.1820521
- Parmentier J, Thewes B, Gropp F, Fricker G. Oral peptide delivery by tetraether lipid liposomes. Int J Pharm. 2011;415(1-2):150-157. doi:10.1016/j.ijpharm.2011.05.066
- Küllenberg D, Taylor LA, Schneider M, Massing U. Health effects of dietary phospholipids. Lipids Health Dis. 2012;11:3. Published 2012 Jan 5. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-11-3