What is Liposomal Vitamin C? Uses, Side Effects, and Risks
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Time to read 8 min
You may be in the habit of taking vitamin C, but are you getting the most from your daily supplement?
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is known for its antioxidant properties, which are a leading source of immune system support. It's also known to promote healthy skin, calm the digestive system, and support the heart and lungs.
Thanks to liposomal vitamin C, it's possible to enhance these health benefits beyond what you'll find in conventional vitamin C products.
First thing's first: liposomal vitamin C offers all the benefits of non liposomal vitamin C – only more so.
What puts liposomal vitamin C a step above traditional vitamin C supplements is its absorption rate in the body. This is thanks to its innovative supplement form.
Most oral supplements come in a forms that the body cannot fully absorb, meaning we do not draw the full benefits of what we consume. Studies have shown that our bodies only recover approximately 14% of the vitamin C dosage provided by traditional supplements. Though they are designed to protect, vitamin C tablets do that as thoroughly as they should.
Liposomal vitamin C is designed differently, maximizing absorption to give us the most we can possibly get from our supplements. These pioneering supplements encase vitamin C in liposomes, fatty transporters that the body is designed to absorb with ease. By mimicking the composition of the human cell membrane, they are able to be more effective than traditional vitamins.
Liposomes contain phospholipids, fat-like substances that are also found in our body's cell membranes. Because of this, our bodies can process the nutrients found within liposomes as they pass through the lipid bilayer far more quickly than when it is delivered in other substances.
Other forms of vitamin C do not feature this familiar cell membrane substance, instead including ingredients that the body takes longer to break down, employing harsh stomach acid to do so. This ultimately leaves less of the vitamin to process in the small intestine.
The benefits of liposomal vitamin C are continuing to be studied, but findings so far have been unambiguous: clinical trials published in 2021 found liposomal encapsulated ascorbic acid to have 1.77 times more vitamin C bioavailability than traditional methods.
Because liposomal vitamin C has such a high level of bioavailability, it does not need to be taken in enormous quantities.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the recommended dosage of vitamin C is 75mg/day for women over 19 and 90mg/day for men over 19. Those who smoke are recommended to take an extra 35mg/day, and pregnant women are encouraged to consume 85mg/day. Supplements with Vitamin C, such as those with liposomal vitamin C, typically provide between 250 mg to 1,000 mg per dose. Avoid surpassing this quantity without consulting a physician.
There are very few known side effects from taking vitamin C. This is partly because vitamin C is water soluble, meaning whatever the body does not absorb it will expel.
Further, despite the low recommended dosage levels, the upper limit of what people are advised to consume is around 2,000 daily miligrams of vitamin C – meaning, in other words, that it would be fairly difficult to take in this amount of vitamin C, even if your diet also includes a significant amount of it.
That said, the few symptoms that have been reported from excessive vitamin C are nausea and upset stomach. Men who are practicing high vitamin C supplementation pose a slightly increased risk of kidney stones.
The best liposomal vitamin C supplements are research-backed products made by companies that offer transparency in their sourcing and their science. You will not get the liposomal vitamin C benefits you're looking for from companies that don't understand the serious science behind their supplements. Human health is a complicated thing, after all.
This means it's important to do your research, whether by asking around or consulting trusted scientific sources. It may feel like a lot of work, but you want to get the best from your vitamin C – otherwise it wouldn't be worth taking.
One other rule of thumb when choosing a supplement you intend to take daily: the most effective supplements are the ones you will really use. Be sure to select one with a form and flavor that you like so that you actually want to take it when you're supposed to.
As mentioned above, the benefits of liposomal vitamin C are not different in kind from standard vitamin C, but they are different in extent. Put simply, liposomal vitamin C will give your body higher amounts of the vitamin, increasing its benefits.
Liposomal vitamin C is an excellent supplement for those who wish to restore aging skin. This is because vitamin C is integral to the process of collagen production, providing a hospitable environment to the amino acids that give our skin structure and elasticity, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and improving the overall texture of our skin. By helping to prompt collagen synthesis, you'll be reinforcing and rejuvenating your skin.
Liposomal vitamin C also provides antioxidant support to fight free radical damage caused by UV light. This in turn can also improve the appearance and feeling of your skin.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C has been linked to improved heart health. Research suggests that vitamin C can influence improvements in lipid profiles, arterial stiffness, and endothelial function (the membrane inside the heart and blood vessels).
There are additional heart healthy uses of vitamin C, which is also thought to help prevent ischemia reperfusion injury.
If you think liposomal vitamin C only supports your body, think again – it can also contribute to an improved outlook. Vitamin C has been linked to our neurological functions, which regulate the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Strengthening these processes can lead to more stable moods and better overall mental health.
Vitamin C can provide additional cognitive support as it is able to cross the blood brain barrier, helping to maintain healthy blood levels in the brain.
Many who take vitamin C do so because of its benefits to the immune system, and many people turn to it at the first sign of a cold. Indeed, vitamin C has long been linked to shortening colds, helping prevent pneumonia, and easing symptoms of tetanus.
How does this work? Liposomal vitamin C supports immune function, helping the body to produce more antibodies, fighting oxidative stress that compromises immunity, and helps white blood cells function optimally. Liposomal delivery helps you access these benefits more fully, boosting your immunity overall.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of l ascorbic acid have been linked to improved microbial composition in the gut. This means taking liposomal vitamin C can help ease gastrointestinal distress, promoting a bacterial population shift in the gut (that's a good thing).
Vitamin C is also noted for supporting the eyes. Research suggests that vitamin C helps prevent macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of vision loss for adults.
When choosing your method of vitamin C supplementation, be sure to do your research. With so many competing products on the market, it can be hard to know if you are buying from a credible, scientifically-backed source. Liposomal vitamins are not all created equal, after all.
Here are a few things worth keeping in mind if you're choosing between liposomal supplements:
These tips will help you make an informed and sensible decision when choosing your daily supplement.
If you're taking liposomal vitamins, be careful taking them in combination with the following medications and treatments, as vitamin C can hinder their intended effects:
If you are ever considering incorporating new supplements into your health regimen, it's always worth speaking to a doctor or healthcare professional.
Liposomal vitamin C benefits can be of use to almost anyone. Whether you're brand new to taking supplements or a longtime supplement-taker who wishes to switch over from traditional vitamin C, you're likely to get the boost you're looking for from vitamin C in liposomal form. Thanks to its improved absorption methods, you'll get greater benefits from lower doses than you will from most vitamin C supplements.
Liposomal vitamin C offers the same core ingredient as regular vitamin C, but it is more effective, due to its high bioavailability. This means that liposomal supplements provide greater benefits than other supplements. Another advantage of taking liposomal forms of vitamin C is that you don't need to take high doses in order to get the benefits you need. Because of its fast delivery, a liposomal supplement will give you the boost you're looking for more quickly and directly than other forms.
According to the NIH, women over 19 are recommended to take up to 75 mg of liposomal vitamin C daily, while men over 19 are recommended to take up to 90 mg daily. Those who smoke are advised to take an additional 35 mg per day, and those who are pregnant are advised to take an additional 10 mg, amounting to 85 mg per day.
You can take a liposomal vitamin C supplement at any time of day, though some recommend taking it with water and food, as it is a water soluble vitamin.
Yes. Liposomal vitamin C is intended to be used the same way you would use a traditional version, though you may end up taking lower doses daily.
Jack Levinson is a writer born and raised in Los Angeles. He received his bachelor’s degree from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. When not writing, his interests include the arts, cooking, and exploring the California coast.
Dr. Sanober Doctor is a dual-board certified dermatologist, & a leading expert in Integrative and holistic Dermatology. She is a proactive, compassionate medical practitioner with a thorough understanding of mind-body-spiritual wellness.