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Supplement delivery formats: Let's get small with liposomes

Liposomes are a fast-growing delivery system that creates microscopic nanoparticles that enrobe nutrients for improved bioavailability.

Todd Runestad

May 19, 2023

2 Min Read
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Liposomes are a fast-growing delivery system but they are often misunderstood. They can (but not necessarily) deliver nano-sized particles to cells, where they easily enter to deliver nutrients inside. A liposome offers radically enhanced bioavailability, stability in the body and longer shelf life for supplements. “Liposomes make ingredients perform so much better,” said Sebastian Balcombe, CEO and founder of Specnova, a biotech innovator that markets seven different nutritional ingredients hyperpowered with liposomes. “You can make a superstar ingredient with a liposome around it.”

Specnova conducts weekly experiments at a local university to validate the liposomal advantage—up to eight times heightened bioavailability.

“It’s dramatic,” said Balcombe. “It’s the difference between an ingredient that helps a little bit versus opening the doors.”

Certain ingredients work better than others, he said, usually fat-soluble, water-insoluble ones such as curcumin, coQ10 and CBD. Certain botanicals can also help, especially ones that work at dosage levels that might cause untoward side effects like upset stomachs.

Meanwhile, other ingredients might not benefit from the bioavailability-boosting technology; namely, ingredients that consumers recognize as always having a certain dosage levels. Vitamin C cones to mind.

“Some ingredients like vitamin C, no matter how much you enhance it consumers are often still going to want to take 500mg or 1,000mg,” said Balcombe, “So it really depends on the ingredients if you’re going to down-dose it. It’s a huge advantage economically for our customers when they can down-dose an ingredient and it can almost match the same price as a non-liposomal and have way bigger effects and be way more effective.”

That makes the use of liposomal technology to improve the performance of supplements a responsibility of brands to communicate that enhanced absorption story. At the same time it can also heighten a sustainability story if a brand is able to use less of a botanical, particularly one under pressure because of sourcing issues like overharvesting.

About the Author(s)

Todd Runestad

Content Director, NaturalProductsInsider.com, Natural Products Insider

Todd Runestad has been writing on nutrition science news since 1997. He is content director for NaturalProductsInsider.com and Natural Products Insider digital magazines. Other incarnations: supplements editor for NewHope.com, Delicious Living!, and Natural Foods Merchandiser. Former editor-in-chief of Functional Ingredients magazine and still covers raw material innovations and ingredient science.

Connect with me here on LinkedIn.

Specialty

Todd writes about nutrition science news such as this story on mitochondrial nutrients, innovative ingredients such as this story about 12 trendy new ingredient launches from SupplySide West 2023, and is a judge for the NEXTY awards honoring innovation, integrity and inspiration in natural products including his specialty — dietary supplements. He extensively covered the rise and rise and rise and fall of cannabis hemp CBD. He helps produce in-person events at SupplySide West and SupplySide East trade shows and conferences, including the wildly popular Ingredient Idol game show, as well as Natural Products Expo West and Natural Products Expo East and the NBJ Summit. He was a board member for the Hemp Industries Association.

Education / Past Lives

In previous lives Todd was on the other side of nature from natural products — natural history — as managing editor at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He's sojourned to Burning Man and Mount Everest. He graduated many moons ago from the State University of New York College at Oneonta.

Quotes

"There is not a colds-and-flu season. There is a vitamin D-deficiency season."

"There is no such thing as inclement weather. Only improper attire."

Link answers question, "When taking magnesium, should you also take vitamin D3 2,000 IU?"

"Cannabis is nature's most nearly perfect plant."

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