What Are Liposomes?
Updated: Nov 27, 2020
Liposomes have turned the market of traditional dietary supplementation on its head. But, what are liposomes, and why are they changing the way our bodies absorb plant substances, vitamins, and minerals?
Natural Ingredients Enhanced Through Liposomes
For some time now there has been a rethinking in the health world. The great potential of natural active ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, and plant extracts has become visible through intensive clinical research. However, their use is often limited by poor absorption and bioavailability. Liposomes allow the body to quickly and efficiently absorb these natural ingredients to use them to their full potential.
What Are Liposomes
Let us further answer the question, what are liposomes? The term liposome is from the Greek words "lipos" for fat and "soma" for body. Just as it sounds, liposomes are small bodies of fat that are capable of transporting natural active ingredients. They are formed by combining a type of lipid molecule known as a phospholipid with water.
What Are Phospholipids Within Liposomes
You can't answer 'what are liposomes' without explaining phospholipids are. Phospholipids are a type of fat molecule that makes up the cell membranes of our body. They are also found naturally in eggs, soy and sunflowers. They have a water-loving head and two water-fearing tails. When mixed with water, a double layer (lipid bilayer) of these naturally occur with the tails meeting on the inside and the heads moving towards the outside. Small vesicles form when this happens, these vesicles known as liposomes. This liposome is then capable of encapsulating active ingredients. Making effective absorption and increased bioavailability of the active ingredients.
The Structure of Liposomes Increases Absorption
The fact that liposomes share the same membrane as our cells is very important to its function. A series of events limit the absorption of typical dietary supplements.
Transporting Active Ingredients With Liposomes
Once the active ingredient has made it to the stomach, it is often degraded by its acidic environment. From the stomach, the remainder of the ingredients moves to the small intestine. Here absorption into the intestinal cell takes place – known as an enterocyte -. However, there is a need for special transporters at the enterocytes so that these ingredients can cross. This need can significantly limit the amount of active ingredient that it lets past. This is especially true in the consumption of high amounts of supplements or plant extracts. Finally, what has made it into the small intestine, is then digested in the liver, which often leads to the further loss of the active ingredients.
Rounding Up - What Are Liposomes?
Luckily, liposomes can overcome each of these limitations. First, the liposomes protect the ingredients from the acidic stomach environment. it does this by encapsulating them within their lipid bilayer. After they have successfully made it past the stomach they are able to fuse directly with the cells of the small intestine. (Because they share the same membrane as our cells). They then by-pass the picky transporters at the outside of the intestinal cells. Finally, after the liposome absorbs into the intestine cell. Instead of travelling to the liver, it leaves through the lymphatic system – a circulatory system in our body responsible for our immune response. This allows it to bypass the liver entirely and avoid further degradation.
What Are Liposomes - Conclusion
Liposomes have turned the world of dietary supplements on its head. These small bodies of fat that can encapsulate plant extracts, vitamins, and minerals drastically increasing their bioavailability and thus effectiveness in the body.....