The attraction of using liposomes to deliver nutrients, supplements and drugs into the body is that they are easily absorbed by the gastro-intestinal tract and in so doing the additional encapsulated molecules are absorbed at the same time. This overcomes the barrier that faces many beneficial products of getting absorbed into the body in effective levels. The body will often break down many complex molecules be-fore they are absorbed or will just not readily absorb them and so absorption levels are reduced. But as Liposomes are easily absorbed the products encapsulated by Liposomes achieve much higher blood dosage levels than found in non-encapsulated products such as traditional tablets.
However, Liposomes can also go further, to assist to deliver the active molecules to the cellular sites of action where the body requires a high level of the nutrient. The lipid bilayer of the liposome can fuse with other bilayers such as the cell membrane itself, thus delivering the liposome contents into the cells.
Liposomes are made from extracts of lecithin which contain phospholipids, mixed with other molecules that we may wish to attach. Liposomes vary in size from low nanometer up to tens of micrometers. When combined with water, phospholipids form microscopic structures with a central void encapsulating water and within that water we can dissolve other molecules, such as Vitamin C which we would like to have absorbed easily into the body. Whilst hydro-philic molecules can be held within the encapsulated water, hydrophobic chemicals can be dissolved into the membrane itself and in this way liposomes have the ability to carry both hydrophobic and hydrophilic molecules. Due to their unique properties liposomes are used for the formulation of drugs, food supplements and cosmetics.
The formation of liposomes requires significant levels of energy. Phospholipids are combined with water and energy is applied in a controlled process using sonification or an ultra-turrax. The lipid vesicles will then form into either single, or multiple, bi-layers separated by water molecules. This process is controlled to create particles small enough to be readily absorbed into the blood stream.