Unlike many other nutrients, vitamin C can not be produced naturally by the body, it must be obtained externally. Since it is a water soluble vitamin and is not well stored in the body, it needs to be replenished regularly, either through food or supplementation.
Though we can obtain vitamin C from many foods, the reality is that most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins through diet alone.
Vitamin C is often recommended to supplement in order to receive a more therapeutic and consistent dose, especially in times of illness or disease.
This vitamin is known as a "supernutrient", used for many different processes in the body. It can be utilized to boost collagen production and immune function, lower oxidative stress, produce certain hormones, protect DNA from damage, support wound healing, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
The benefits of vitamin C have been more specifically tied to its anti-inflammatory effects as oxidative stress is a core factor associated with many diseases. Studies show that individuals with high intakes of vitamin C have a lower risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancers, eye diseases, and neurodegenerative conditions (1).
On the other hand, low levels of vitamin C may be associated with an increased risk of degenerative diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease (2).
But does it make a difference how you supplement vitamin C? It turns out, it can!
Vitamin C vs Liposomal Vitamin C, what’s the difference?
The most common form of vitamin C that you will find on the shelf is L-ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is often regarded as the preferred form of supplemental vitamin C as it has been shown to effectively raise serum vitamin C levels while providing a low cost option for consumers (3).
However, when supplementing with ascorbic acid, there are some limitations, such as the amount you can absorb at once.
Only about 14-30% of vitamin C from capsules or tablets is absorbed by the body (4).
At doses greater than 1000 mg the absorption of vitamin C decreases to less than 50% and the unmetabolized ascorbic acid is excreted and lost in the urine or feces (5).
If you are taking capsules, this is why it is recommended to take smaller doses throughout the day instead of taking one big dose at once.
When larger doses of vitamin C are required, this is generally done with intravenous injections in order to bypass the digestive tract and directly enter the bloodstream. IV injections do need to be monitored by a health care professional in order to avoid any potential negative effects.
What is liposomal vitamin C?
Another powerful and potent method to obtain a more therapeutic and absorbable dose of vitamin C is liposomal vitamin C supplementation.
This is also referred to as “lypo-spheric vitamin C.”
Liposomes deliver nutrients in tiny fat soluble droplets or "fluid filled bubbles" that pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream in order to be released into the cells.
Liposome-encapsulated supplements offer maximum absorption by outsmarting the body’s nutrient absorption barriers. This form is easier for the body to absorb and allows for more of the nutrients to actually be delivered into the cell.
Liposomal vitamins offer many advantages and are regarded as one of the most effective ways to deliver nutrients into the cell (6).
Benefits of liposomal vitamin C
- Increased absorption
- Non invasive
Though oral vitamin C supplementation is typically less effective than intravenous delivery, studies show that oral liposomal supplements provide oxidative stress protection similar to the protection provided by intravenous administrations (9).
Oral delivery of vitamin C encapsulated in liposomes promotes greater bioavailability than unencapsulated vitamin C, while avoiding the risks associated with intravenous administration.
- No digestive upset
Traditional vitamin C supplements require transporter proteins to carry the Vitamin C from the small intestine to the bloodstream and then from the bloodstream to the cell. The problem is there is often a lack of these transporter proteins so when you take larger doses you can be met with digestive upset and loss of vitamin C through the urine.
Not only do you waste vitamin C, but you feel crummy at the same time!
Liposomal vitamin C, on the other hand, bypasses the digestive system and gets delivered straight into the bloodstream, a more efficient way for the body to acquire nutrients.
- Convenient & Accessible
Though liposomal supplements are typically pricier than most oral supplements, they do represent a more affordable option than IV treatments, not to mention a less painful option. In addition, IV injections are available in select locations whereas liposomal can be taken anywhere at anytime and make a convenient alternative if you are a busy person or find yourself on the road a lot.
What's the verdict?
The general consensus concludes that liposomal vitamin C may be a more efficient way to obtain vitamin C than other typical oral methods of supplementation due to a higher bioavailability and absorption rate (10).
As always when taking higher doses of vitamin C, consult with your health care provider to make sure it is right for you.
About the Author