In recent years, major advances have been made in the technology that goes into producing the supplements that we take. Now, a new wave of supplements has hit the market promising to increase the bioavailability of the active ingredients that they contain. So what does that even mean? Bioavailability is the extent to which the active ingredient such as CBD in a supplement is absorbed and becomes available in the body. So what is this fantastic technology?
Let’s first address what a liposome is. A liposome is a tiny bubble made from phospholipids – the same material as a cell membrane. Liposomal encapsulation, therefore, is where the molecules of a particular supplemental substance such as CBD are encapsulated within these liposome bubbles with the purpose of improving the bioavailability thereof. Effectively, liposomal encapsulation protects the encapsulated nutrients from degradation as they pass through the harsh environment of the stomach and the intestines into the blood. The nutrients are more effectively delivered to the cells because the cell membrane is similar in chemical structure to the liposomes, allowing the nutrients to more easily enter the cells. Take a look at this post by LivOn Labs, the manufacturers of the Lypo-Spheric range called What are Liposomes? for an in-depth discourse into liposomes and the mechanisms by which they work.
Does it Really Work?
There is absolutely no shortage of scientific literature that supports the claims of proponents of liposomal encapsulation.
Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment: View Research Paper
Nanostructured lipid carrier (NLC) … can be considered suitable carrier systems for THC and CBD because they make use of solid particle matrices instead of fluid matrices, such as emulsions and liposomes, meaning that NLC can better host substances and protect them from degradation.
Liposomal-encapsulated Ascorbic Acid: Influence on Vitamin C Bioavailability and Capacity to Protect Against Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury: View Research Paper
The data indicate that oral delivery of 4 g of vitamin C encapsulated in liposomes (1) produces circulating concentrations of vitamin C that are greater than unencapsulated oral…
Liposomes as Advanced Delivery Systems for Nutraceuticals: View Research Paper
Advantages of Liposomal Delivery
- High bioavailability and absorption compared with other oral forms of supplements.
- Noninvasive; avoids pain and discomfort associated with injections and decreases the contamination risk.
- Micronized encapsulation protects against the harsh environment of the GI tract and increases transmucosal (oral) uptake and absorption.
- Increased intracellular delivery.
- Can hold both hydrophilic and hydrophobic compounds.
- Ideal for those for whom swallowing a tablet is not possible.
- Allow for adjustable and incremental dosing for children and adults.
- Cost effective by being able to take a lower dose for the same effect.
Potential Disadvantages of Liposomal Delivery
- High current cost.
- Possibility of poor manufacturing (eg, high particle size, poor ingredients).
- Possibility of instability.
- Increased intracellular delivery.
What Does it Mean for Me?
At the moment, these products being relatively new on the market are more expensive than their regular counterparts, but in due course, with economy-of-scale, the costs of production should decrease making these products more affordable. The big question is that should your hard earned cash be being spent on supplements that are just getting converted into expensive urine?