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The Advantages Of Liposomal Technology For Nutraceutical Delivery

Liposomal technolgy advantage

When you prescribe nutrition supplements for your patients, do you find that you have to give them mega doses to have a therapeutic effect? Conventional nutraceutical delivery systems can be ineffective in delivering a large enough dose of any given nutrient to the targeted site. Liposomal technology is revolutionising the administration of drugs and nutraceuticals.

There are numerous advantages of using liposomes to deliver the nutrients required by your patients. You can be assured that a therapeutic dose of the nutrient will be delivered without resorting to an intravenous infusion. The tiny particles are absorbed directly from the mouth, bypassing the destructive stomach acid and delivering maximum benefit.

It may seem too good to be true, but liposomes are biocompatible molecules that have been the subject of medical research since the 1970s. They have been investigated to deliver small molecules such as drugs, proteins, nucleic acids, nutraceuticals and imaging agents. Their administration is not restricted to oral use. They can also be used in parenteral, pulmonary, transdermal, ophthalmic and nasal preparations. 

Liposomes And Cell Membranes

Think back to your physiology classes when you learnt about the structure of the cell. Inside the cell, you find the cytoplasm and a collection of important organelles. Surrounding each cell is the cell membrane. 

It consists of two layers of phospholipids arranged tail-to-tail. A phospholipid is a fatty molecule made up of a phosphorylated glycerol hydrophilic head and two hydrophobic fatty acid tails. 


The beauty of using liposomes to deliver nutraceuticals is that they mimic the cell membrane structure. The word liposome comes from the words “lipos” (fat) and “soma” (body). A liposome is an artificially formed spherical vesicle made of one or more phospholipid bilayers that encapsulates a fluid centre.

Liposomes range in size from 20 nanometres to 400 nanometres. Research has found that the most effective liposomes are the smallest ones. Smaller sized molecules are achieved by applying shear force to the liposomes through various methods, including freeze-thaw cycles, rotor-stator dispersion, sonication, extrusion, and high-pressure homogenisation. The resulting vesicles are smaller, but they also have a more uniform size. The benefits include improved absorption and a longer time in circulation.


Liposomal Technology For The Delivery Of Nutraceuticals

Conventional nutraceutical delivery systems have many limitations. Pills, tablets and capsules that contain food bioactive ingredients are easy to make, but they are not the most suitable delivery system. It isn’t easy to achieve adequate bioavailability for such products. Poor solubility, stability and absorption from the digestive tract mean that you have to give the patient high doses to have a therapeutic effect. 

Liposomes offer an alternative nutraceutical delivery system that bypasses the stomach acid and metabolic processes resulting in large amounts of the bioactive ingredients being destroyed and eliminated before reaching their target. They address the problem of poor solubility because both water-soluble and fat-soluble molecules can be encapsulated in them. The hydrophilic bioactives are trapped in the aqueous centre of the liposome, and the hydrophobic molecules are found in the phospholipid membrane.

The effectiveness of liposomes as a nutraceutical delivery vehicle is due to their structure. They share the same structure as our cell membranes. When nutraceuticals are administered through liposomes, it becomes possible to deliver the bioactive compound directly to the target. The phospholipid membrane of the liposome attaches to the cell’s phospholipid membrane. The two merge, and the bioactive molecules are released directly into the cell. 

The Advantages Of Liposomal Technology For The Delivery Of Nutraceuticals

The authors of an article titled Liposomes for Drug Delivery, published in the Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials, listed some of the advantages of using liposomes to deliver medication and nutrients to the body:

● Protect the active ingredient from digestion.

● Can carry both water-soluble and fat-soluble molecules.

● Targeted delivery to specific parts of the body.

● Can be used for sustained drug release.

● The size of the molecule can vary according to requirements.

● Lower dosages are required because the active ingredients are not metabolised before entering systemic circulation.

● Compatible with the human body.

● More than one route of administration. 

● Reduced risk of taking too much of the active ingredient.

● Greater efficiency.

Liposomal Technology Improves Delivery Of Nutraceuticals

The goal of an effective nutraceutical delivery system is to deliver the bioactive ingredient to the targeted site in an amount that will achieve a therapeutic effect. Conventional delivery systems fall short in several areas. They expose the nutrient to stomach acid and metabolic processes that destroy a large portion of the bioactive ingredient before it reaches the part of the body where it is needed.

Liposomal technology delivers the medication or nutrient directly to the targeted site, bypassing the stomach acid and metabolic processes that would ordinarily destroy it. Liposomes are identical to the cell membranes found surrounding the cells in the body. They can carry substances to the cells, combine with the cell membrane and release the active ingredients directly into the cells.

Liposomes are a revolutionary nutraceutical delivery system that changes the way nutrients are administered. It is more effective, more accurate and safer than conventional administration methods. 

Article by Wendy Lord (RD)SA