What are Liposomes?
A Liposome is defined as a spherical vesicle that contains single or more lipid bilayer membranes. Structurally, liposomes have identical composition like cell membrane. Their hydrophilic heads face outwards with hydrophobic tails facing inside. Liposomes are mostly made up of phospholipids, especially phosphatidylcholine, but may also contain other lipids, such as egg phosphatidylethanolamine, as they are compatible with lipid bilayer structure. Not all lipids in liposomes are naturally occurring, some are synthetic. Liposomes, as discussed above, can be created by using the phospholipids found in plasma membranes of different cells. In other words, liposomes are sacs or pocket of fat cells that are used for encapsulation of various liposomal vitamins and nutritional supplements like liposomal vitamin B12, liposomal vitamin C, liposomal vitamin D3 etc.
The major types of liposomes are the multilamellar vesicle (MLV, with several lamellar phase lipid bilayers), the small unilamellar liposome vesicle (SUV, with one lipid bilayer), the large unilamellar vesicle (LUV), and the cochleate vesicle. Liposomes should not be confused with lysosomes, or with micelles and reverse micelles composed of monolayers.
What are benefits of liposomes?
As a drug delivery system, liposomes present several advantages including biocompatibility, capacity for self-assembly, ability to carry large drug payloads, and a wide range of physicochemical and biophysical properties that can be modified to control their biological characteristics. Liposomes deliver nutrients directly to aging cells and would improve skin hydration and texture, reduce fine lines and diminish wrinkles. Recently, these are used as smaller ultradeformable liposomes, so they can enter deeper into the skin and deliver the active therapeutic ingredients for a longer period of time.
Liposomal vitamins for example vitamin B12 has several advantages over standard B12 supplements because the active substance inside the liposome is protected from degradation in acidic environment of stomach. It increases the uptake and bioavailability of the nutrient as compared to conventional supplements.
Liposomes are noninvasive; they are useful in avoiding pain and discomfort associated with injections and decrease the contamination risk. They provide increased intracellular delivery of nutrients like vitamins, supplements, pharmaceutical drugs and nutraceuticals. They are able to hold both hydrophilic and hydrophobic ends. This composition imitates the structure of cellular membrane; hence it makes it easy for liposomes to deliver nutrients to target sites in the body. Liposomal nutrients intake is ideal for those for whom swallowing a tablet is not possible.
Micronized encapsulation of the nutrient protects it against the harsh environment of the GI tract and helps increase the transmucosal (oral) uptake and absorption. Liposomal nutrient delivery allows for adjustable and incremental dosing for children and adults. Liposomes are quite cost effective by being able to take a lower dose for the same effect as standard supplement.
What is liposome and its function?
A liposome as defined above is a spherical bubble containing lipid bilayer that is made up of different phospholipids. Liposomes are used to encapsulate various nutritional drugs and vitamins like liposomal vitamin glutathione. Liposomal glutathione basically offers the key antioxidant glutathione in an encapsulated or liposomal form. This liposomal form protects glutathione bonds from degradation while digestion. In this way, it is considered to be useful in maintaining healthy lipid metabolism and oxidative status in the body. The liposome can be used as a vehicle or carrier for administration of nutrients and various pharmaceutical drugs such as nutritional supplements. Liposomes can be filled with drugs, and then used to deliver drugs for cancer and other diseases. They have been shown to improve therapies for a large range of biomedical applications by improving the biodistribution of compounds to target sites like in tumor cells, by overcoming the barriers to cellular and tissue uptake, and by modifying or regulating the therapeutic compounds. This enables effective delivery of encapsulated compounds to target sites while minimizing systemic toxicity. Encapsulation within liposomes protects compounds from degradation, dilution and early inactivation in the circulation. Liposomes have recently shown their applications in various analytical processes like chromatography. Different formulations and variations in liposome composition have been often proposed to include immunostimulatory molecules, ligands for specific receptors, or stimuli responsive compounds. Liposomes have been shown to posses the capacity to play critical roles as intracellular messengers in modulating or harmonizing different immune responses through various mechanisms.
How do Liposomes work?
As mentioned earlier, liposomes entrap the aqueous nutrient in the core surrounded by lipid bilayer that is made up of both hydrophobic (tail) and hydrophilic (head) poles. Hence a liposome can be loaded with hydrophobic and/or hydrophilic molecules. To deliver the molecules to a site of action, the lipid bilayer can fuse with other bilayers such as the cell membrane, thus delivering the liposome contents. These liposomes work to deliver drug by diffusion rather than by direct cell fusion.
Where are liposomes found?
Naturally, the lipid aggregations in the cell and formed vesicles are termed as liposomes. They are mainly present inside the cell if formed naturally. But liposomes can also be created by using the same phospholipids as present in cellular membranes. But all the phospholipids in liposomes are not essentially natural, some are synthetic too.
Are Liposomes safe?
Liposomes have long been recognized as drug-delivery vehicles and they are very appropriate for this aim, due to their biocompatibility, bioavailability and biodegradability. Due to their nature compatible to human body cell membranes, liposomes are in fact considered safe nanocarriers. However, the addition of nonphysiological additives can induce chemical modifications that are useful to improve efficacy in drug delivery but potentially toxigenic. Although liposomes are a safe and effective way to introduce therapeutic agents, they often suffer from opsonization, which removes liposomes circulating in blood stream and causes degradation of the liposomes.
Are Liposomes man made?
Liposomes are spherical, microscopic man made vesicles that are made up of one or more lipid bilayers consisting of single amphiphilic (molecules having both hydrophobic and hydrophilic parts) lipids or different lipids either charged or neutral. These liposomes can entrap the therapeutic molecules such as drugs, vaccines, enzymes, proteins, oligonucleotides, genetic material and other biomolecules. Liposomes in other words are microscopic artificial vesicles of spherical shape that can be created from cholesterol and natural non-toxic phospholipids. Due to their size and hydrophobic and hydrophilic character (besides biocompatibility), liposomes are promising systems for drug delivery.
What does liposomal delivery mean?
Liposomes are termed as Novel Drug Delivery System (NDDS), these are vesicles made up of lipid bilayers that form spontaneously when phospholipids are dispersed in water. Various pharmaceutical drugs or supplements are enclosed in these vesicles. Novel Drug Delivery System aims to deliver the drug at a rate directed by the needs of the body during the period of treatment and direct the place of action. It differs in size, composition and charge and drug carrier loaded with variety of molecules such as small drug molecules, proteins, nucleotides or plasmids etc.
In general, there are four key types of liposomal delivery systems; conventional liposomes, sterically-stabilized liposomes, ligand-targeted liposomes, and a combination of the all. Conventional liposomes were the first generation of liposomes to be developed. They consist of a lipid bilayer that can be composed of cationic, anionic, or neutral phospholipids and cholesterol, which encloses an aqueous volume. To improve liposome stability and enhance their circulation times in the blood, sterically-stabilized liposomes were introduced. Ligand-targeted liposomes offer a vast potential for site-specific delivery of drugs to designated cell types or organs in vivo, which selectively express or over-express specific ligands (e.g., receptors or cell adhesion molecules) at the site of disease. However, newer generation of liposomes have utilized a combination of the above design platforms to further improve liposomal targeting and associated drug delivery.
What are liposomal supplements?
Liposomal vitamins and supplements are encapsulated in sacs or pockets of fat cells known as liposomes. Liposomal supplements don’t use tablets or powders to deliver nutrients instead
they use these small fat pockets; liposomes. Liposomal supplements work as excellent carriers to deliver vitamins, nutrients and other agents directly to the cells and tissues in your body. Many vitamins and supplements are modified into liposomal form to enhance bioavailability and penetration of nutrients into cells.
Why are liposomal vitamins better?
Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, you may need additional support in the form of health supplements to get essential nutrients, to correct nutritional deficiencies and to improve your health. You can absorb only a certain amount of the nutrients and micronutrients you get from your food and supplements. Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants must reach target cells and tissues to offer desired health benefits. That is why it is important to choose your supplement in a form that improves the absorption of nutrients, making them more available to your cells. This brings us to liposomal supplements which promise higher absorption and bioavailability than your typical oral supplements. Liposomal vitamins are encapsulated inside small fat pockets called liposomes. These encapsulated vitamins and supplements offer the rapid uptake and effective absorption of nutrients into the cells. The fat encapsulation makes these vitamins easier to get absorbed and allows sufficient amount of drug to get to the target area such as in tumor cells. The absorption of liposomal vitamins like vitamin B12, vitamin C or vitamin D3 is much higher than usual or standard vitamin B12, C and D3 supplements. Liposomes form a barrier around the vitamin or nutrient it carries. In this way, the liposome protects its contents against the harsh acids of the stomach and allows easier absorption in the stomach and intestinal tract. Liposomes imitate the structure of our cell membranes that makes them biocompatible and allows them to easily penetrate the membrane barrier, without using large amounts of energy. Intriguingly, liposomes contain both hydrophilic and hydrophobic ends and therefore are extremely useful in effectively carrying both water soluble (vitamin C) and fat soluble (CoQ10) nutrients.
What are the side effects of liposomal vitamins? Are there any side effects?
Conventional or standard vitamins like Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin Glutathione etc are associated with gastrointestinal (GI) distress such as nausea, diarrhea or abdominal cramps especially when taken in high doses. Liposomal formulations by-pass the gastrointestinal (GI ) route easily and thus pose no such risks. Liposomes are not confined to deliver nutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin C and glutathione to increase their absorption and bioavailability only. In fact, liposomal delivery systems can be successfully used to deliver anti-cancer drugs, antibiotics, anti-fungal medicines, anaesthetics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
What is liposome encapsulation?
The composition of liposome is almost identical to the structure of cell membrane surrounding each human cell. It is then discovered that nutrients like vitamins, supplements and pharmaceutical drugs can be filled in liposomal spheres. These therapeutically active compounds are protected and delivered into the body or to the target site.
Liposomal encapsulation technology uses unique microscopic fat particles known as phospholipids and vitamins. The vitamin (vitamin C, vitamin B12, vitamin D3, vitamin Glutathione etc) is the particle to be encapsulated. These unique phospholipids are considered as building blocks or monomers of cell membranes. Just like cellular membranes, liposome contain the nutrients, gives it definition and protection against pathogens and harsh digestive environments like in stomach and small intestine. The encapsulated nutrients are then transported to the target site in the body.
How to pick the best liposomal vitamin?
Liposomal formulas actually have a simpler ingredient list than typical forms both in quantity and quality depending on which one you pick. Three main components of any liposomal formula are; lecithin, sweetener and vitamin itself. In order to pick the best, one needs to pay attention to how these components are sourced. Soy beans and sunflowers are two of the more common sources of lecithin. Always go for a product that contains body-friendly sweetener (stevia, xylitol).
What is the difference between nanoparticles and liposomes?
Although liposomes are often referred to as nanoparticles, but they are not nanoparticles in narrower sense as they differ from conventional nanoparticles in both their structure and stability. Liposomes are made up of lipids (phospholipids) whereas nanoparticles are composed of solid material. Liposomes are comparatively less stable than nanoparticles.