Vitamin C Supplements
If you think you’re low on this vital nutrient, How do you get more Vitamin C into your body? The simple answer is:to use vitamin c Supplements. Let’s dig into this a bit more deeply.
The first recommendation is to be sure your diet is rich in vegetables and fruits which naturally contain vitamin C. However, it might not work! In many cases, people lacking vitamin C status, such as mokers, the dietary intake may be insufficient to provide adequate amounts of ascorbic acid.
If you wonder why, the answer is bioavailability.
In pharmacology, bioavailability, also defined as absorption rate, is the fraction of an administered dose of a substance that your body can actually use..
The absorption rate of vitamin C is 80% or higher for vitamin C dosages from 15 to 100 mg/day and drops to less than 50% at an intake level of 1250 mg/day. Thus, the higher the vitamin C intake, the lower the adsorption rate!
Following food ingestion, the bioavailability of vitamin C is largely determined by rates of intestinal absorption and further influenced by how much your kindneys absorb and excrete. Anyway, stomach acid does not destroy ascorbic acid but simply oxidizes it to dehydroascorbic acid which is still effective.
Unfortunately, even ingesting vitamin C through capsules or effervescent tablets, which represents a daily routine for many people, leads to the same diminishing returns as food.
Oral administration–swallowing a pill– of traditional supplements that usually contain vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbate, indeed, is made ineffective by the slow and regulated pattern of intestinal absorption of ascorbic acid.
Infusion of vitamin C, via arteries or veins, is extremely efficient. By definition, when a medication is administered intravenously, its absorption rate is 100%. This vitamin C supplement, bypassing the dependency on intestinal absorption, results in high circulating plasma concentrations that will remain constant until the infusion is discontinued.
On the other hand, giving your self Vitamin C shots is impractical. You could give yourself an infection, discomfort and phlebitis. I don’t know about you, but I hate shots anyway!
That’s why, liposomal vitamin C, a supplement of vitamin C encapsulated in liposomes, is showing promise and may become the Holy Grail of vitamin C supplementation.
Liposomal Vitamin C
Dietary supplements based on liposomal vitamin C exploit the unique properties and advantages of liposomes to override the limitations of vitamin C absorption.
What Are Liposomes?
Liposomes are nanoparticles of spherical shape that can be synthesized from cholesterol and other phospholipids. The similarity of liposomes to cell membranes (which are made of phospholipids) provides unique opportunities for the delivery of drugs into target cells. The image below shows the structure of a liposome with a focus on phospholipids.
Liposomes have a long and successful clinical history as drug delivery systems because of their ability to:
- protect the payload (drugs, nutrients, vitamins, etc.) from premature degradation in the biological environment;
- enhance the bioavailability;
- prolong the presence in the blood;
- deliver to target cells more precisely with a controlled release.
These nanoparticles are non-toxic, biocompatible and biodegradable and their size and chemical-physical properties can be precisely controlled during the synthesis obtaining tailored nanocarriers.
Another key advantage of a liposomal delivery system is the ability to encapsulate and store both hydrophilic and hydrophobic molecules. It is due to the fact that phospholipids tails are nonpolar (hydrophobic) while phospholipids heads are polar as reported in the image above.
The image below clearly shows that hydrophilic vitamins like vitamin C stay in the liquid aqueous compartment of liposomes while the lipophilic ones are adsorbed in the membrane made of phospholipids tails.
Applications of liposomes
Because of these unique properties, liposomes are the most successful drug delivery system with more than 12 nanodrugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (i. e. Doxil®/Caelyx®, Myocet®, etc). Initially, liposomes have been exploited in cancer therapy to improve the efficiency of chemotherapeutics.
Later, pharmaceutical and food industries have started to extensively study the use of liposomes to encapsulate bioactive elements, nutrients and antioxidants, including vitamin C.
In this context, liposomal vitamin C has gained more and more attention in academic research resulting in the publication of many articles focused on the exploitation of liposomes as vitamin C transporters to safely deliver this key molecule to target cells.
Clinical studies on oral liposomal vitamin C have clearly demonstrated the ability of liposomes to increase vitamin C bioavailability almost 2 times more than an equivalent dose of unencapsulated molecule. These good results prove that the liposomal technology protects ascorbic acid from premature degradation, reduces its absorption by intestinal and renal systems extending its circulation in blood.