Woman taking a vitamin C supplement

Liposomal Vitamin C Benefits

If you take supplements, you may have noticed a new word on vitamin C bottles in recent years: "liposomal." So what is liposomal vitamin C, and is there any benefit to taking this type over conventional vitamin C supplements?

Here's what you need to know about liposomal vitamins, and how to determine which vitamin C is best for you—whether you're seeking immune system support, you want to support a healthy heart and lungs, or you just want an all-around great antioxidant to fight free radicals, so you can be at your best.

What are liposomal vitamins?

Man taking liposomal vitamin

Available as tablets, capsules and liquids, liposomal vitamins are basically "little packages" that are used to help enhance the internal delivery of important compounds, such as nutrients like vitamin C.

If the word "liposomal" makes you think of "lipids," you're not imagining it: indeed, liposomes are made up of lipids, a class of compounds including fats and fat-like substances (such as phospholipids).

Why is it beneficial to deliver a vitamin within a liposome? Keep in mind that the outer membrane of our cells is also made up of phospholipids—allowing the nutrient within the liposome to pass through the cell membrane with ease, since it's the same type of substance.

Liposomal vitamin C vs. traditional vitamin C

Oranges are a good source of vitamin C

There is one key difference between how your body uses liposomal vitamin C compared to traditional vitamin C. It all comes down to speed of delivery of vitamin C into your bloodstream.

Think of it this way: to benefit the body, vitamin C needs to wait in line to "get into the club" (aka, the inside of the cell). A traditional vitamin C supplement doesn't get through as fast as we might wish…but this is where liposomes can help us "slip in"! When the vitamin is enclosed in a liposome, it's treated like a VIP member and can easily pass through the entrance without a problem.

And because it gets in so quickly and efficiently, you'll actually need less vitamin C from a liposomal supplement than you will from a conventional vitamin C tablet or capsule.

Is traditional vitamin C a waste of money?

Vitamin C isn't a waste of money

If vitamin C takes longer to get into the cell, does that mean you shouldn't take it? No! In fact, non-liposomal vitamin C is still a great supplement to add to your health routine.  We'd argue that in any form, it's one of the best antioxidants for immune system health.

One common concern about most vitamin C supplements is that the dosage is so high that the body excretes out most of it in urine. This is actually a myth. Indeed, vitamin C, as ascorbic acid, is in fact water-soluble, which means it does not stay in the body for as long as the fat-soluble vitamins do. Yes, research shows that the absorption of vitamin C diminishes past the 200 mg mark; however, this excess can still do great things for your body. It circulates and provides health benefits before removal.

Also, keep in mind that innovative supplement brands have found some great workarounds for traditional vitamin C to help optimize benefits even without liposomal delivery. For example, Life Extension's traditional vitamin C is formulated with a highly absorbable form of quercetin, which complements the effects of vitamin C.

Drawbacks of liposomal vitamins

Not all liposomal vitamins are equally beneficial

If you're looking for improved absorption of your vitamins, perhaps you're considering only buying liposomal supplements. Be warned, however, that liposomes have one downside: they can be very delicate and are often unstable when stored. Plus, they rapidly break down in the stomach.

That's why it's important to be a picky consumer and only buy a liposomal vitamin that's in a hydrogel form. A hydrogel is a substance that tends to become gel-like upon water exposure; this not only protects the liposome, but it also enhances delivery over a prolonged period. Research has shown that a liposomal-hydrogel vitamin C can provide substantially greater absorption by the body.

Life Extension uses fenugreek seeds to construct these hydrogels. Fenugreek is a clover-like herb which has been used for a variety of health-related purposes. This liposomal-hydrogel vitamin C has been shown to increase bioavailability seven-fold!

What's the difference between fat-soluble and liposomal vitamin C?

A liposomal vitamin C isn't the only alternative to the traditional, water-soluble vitamin formulation. There is also a fat-soluble form of vitamin C, ascorbyl palmitate. While it's true that this form can reach areas of the body that ascorbic acid (the water-soluble form) can't reach, only the liposomal form bypasses the cell membrane for that super-speedy delivery!

Is liposomal vitamin C good for you?

Healthy athlete getting enough vitamin C

You can't beat the health benefits of vitamin C. It's famous for its ability to:

  • Boost collagen synthesis
  • Promote cardiovascular health
  • Support healthy lung function
  • Support a healthy immune system

Plus, vitamin C has amazing antioxidant powers and is great at fighting free radicals.

Liposomal forms come with other advantages aside from an enhanced delivery system. For one, they provide phosphatidylcholine, a major component of lecithin, which gives the cell membranes the raw materials they need to function properly. Phosphatidylcholine may even help support the lining of the stomach and duodenum for healthy digestive support.

Because liposomes are also made up phospholipids, they may benefit cell membrane-dependent cellular functions.

How to use liposomal vitamin C

Taking liposomal vitamin C is simple and less time-consuming than regular vitamin C. With a conventional supplement you must swallow capsules or tablets twice a day (in the morning and evening) to sustain your blood levels.

Optimizing your supplement intake when you take liposomal-hydrogel vitamin C is a breeze in comparison: you only need to take it once a day. Liposomal-hydrogel vitamin C has been shown to support blood levels of vitamin C for around 24 hours!

Is vitamin C acidic?

Vitamin C is technically called ascorbic acid and it is by nature just that – an acid. High doses of acidic substances like vitamin C may impact those with sensitive stomachs. Buffered forms of vitamin C are generally better than non-buffered forms, particularly when taking high dosages.

Is liposomal vitamin C safe?

Yes, liposomal vitamin C is safe. In fact, it might be a better option than traditional vitamin C for some individuals. That because one does not need a high dose of vitamin C when taking it as a liposome, particularly a liposomal-hydrogel, due to its substantially increased bioavailability.

In pregnancy, vitamin C has demonstrated safety at dosages of 1000 mg per day in clinical trials; it is recommended that dosages do not exceed the upper limit of 2000 mg per day, according to the United States Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board.

More advanced forms of vitamin C, such as liposomal-hydrogel vitamin C, require significantly lower dosages to achieve the same benefits.

How much liposomal vitamin C should you take per day?

The great thing about a liposomal-hydrogel vitamin C product is that high doses are not necessary to substantially boost your body's levels of this important antioxidant. Just 350 mg a day will be sufficient and will stay in the bloodstream significantly longer, for up to 24 hours of a sustained supply.

Can you make your own liposomal vitamin C?

There are several recipes online for how to make your own "liposomal" vitamin C. While this may sound enticing to try, you should be cautious. Many of these recipes and techniques used by to make liposomal vitamin C have not been validated in high-quality research.

Instead, stick with a liposomal vitamin C that can provide research supporting its bioavailability claims.

References

By: Chancellor Faloon, Health & Wellness Author

Chancellor Faloon is a graduate of Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. He is dedicated to disseminating guidance on achieving better health and wellness. He has had various roles in the company, but scientific writing has always been his top priority. Chance has also raced in multiple full and half marathons.

Scientifically Reviewed By: Michael A. Smith, MD