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what are liposomal supplements?: happy woman holding vitamin bottle

What Are Liposomal Supplements—And Should You Make The Switch?

Whether you’re looking to address a particular vitamin deficiency or want to support your overall health, you’ve probably carefully considered the types of supplements you take. But have you given much thought to the various forms of supplements available? 

Some common supplements, such as vitamin C and vitamin D, are available in liposomal form, and this method of delivery could help your body better absorb a supplement’s nutrients, according to registered dietitians. 

Thinking about making the switch to liposomal supplements? Ahead, registered dietitians explain what you need to know about these types of supplements. 

What Are Liposomal Supplements?

In a nutshell, liposomal supplements are nutrients that have been packaged within a liposome, which is a little pocket of fat cells, explains Rebekah Blakely, R.D.N, nutritionist for The Vitamin Shoppe. This format not only helps preserve the nutrient but can also improve absorption within the body.

The health benefits of liposomal supplements

This super-absorption potential is the main reason registered dietitians are keen on liposomal supplements.

While research is limited, Blakely points to one study published in the Journal of Liposome Research that shows increased absorption of liposomal vitamin C.

The reason: The lipid bilayer of the liposome is very similar in structure and composition to the membrane that covers all cells in our body, explains Kylie Ivanir, R.D., of Within Nutrition. “This is why liposomal methods of delivery work so well; they mimic our own body’s cells,” she says. “Once in the liposome, the supplement is absorbed similarly to dietary fat, avoiding what is called ‘first-pass metabolism’. This means that it can skip all the usual processing and breaking down it would normally be subjected to in the stomach.” 

Read More: 5 Immune Supplements That Health Experts Recommend For Kids

In fact, due to its similar structure to the cell membrane, a liposome can essentially merge with the cell membrane, delivering its contents directly into the cell, Blakely says. 

In addition to helping protect nutrients throughout the gastrointestinal tract, the phospholipid layer also helps preserve the nutrients in a liposomal supplement from degradation before the supplement is consumed, leading to a potentially longer shelf-life, Blakely adds.

Some other perks? This improved absorption method eliminates the need to take specific supplements with—or without—food for optimal absorption. Liposomal options also contain fewer additives, Blakely notes. Simply put, there’s less need to add extra coatings, binders, and fillers to liposomal products.

Common Liposomal Supplements 

Both fat-soluble and water-soluble nutrients can be packaged into liposomal supplements. And while not all supplements are available in liposomal form, several of the popular ones are, according to registered dietitians.

A few particular nutrients that are commonly available in this form include:

Depending on the brand, liposomal supplements can come in liquids, sprays, and capsules. Vthrive The Vitamin Shoppe Liposomal Vitamin B12, for example, comes in a pleasant lemon-flavored spray. The brand’s Liposomal Vitamin C, meanwhile, is available in capsules.

Considerations To Keep In Mind

Since liposomal supplements are most commonly manufactured from sunflower or soy lecithin, you may want to avoid them if you have a soy allergy, says Ivanir. Otherwise, seek out brands that specifically highlight their liposomal supplements as soy-free.

One last thing: Liposomal options can sometimes be more expensive than their conventional counterparts, Blakely says. That said, you may be able to take a smaller amount due to that increased absorption, which could actually make your routine more cost-effective in the end.

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