Vitamin C has a long list of benefits for your health. Research suggests that taking vitamin C may increase your body's ability to absorb iron, reduce your risk of heart disease, reduce your risk of dementia, and may make your body better equipped to fight off viruses and other pathogens.
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In fact, according to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, study subjects with higher levels of vitamin C in their bloodstream were less likely to die of heart disease, cancer, and less likely to die from any cause. However, not all vitamin C supplements are created equal in terms of either their ability to be absorbed—or their side effects. To reap the most benefits from vitamin C, you should be looking through the supplement aisle for liposomal vitamin C.
What is liposomal vitamin C?
Liposomal vitamin C is a form of vitamin C encapsulated in liposomes, which are "small artificial vesicles of spherical shape" formed from phospholipids or cholesterol, according to research published in Nanoscale Research Letters.
The liposome's purpose is to protect the vitamin C from digestive acids and enzymes that might break it down within the digestive tract. "This protective phospholipid shield or barrier remains undamaged until the contents of the liposome are delivered to the exact target gland, organ, or system where the contents will be utilized," the Nanoscale Research Letters authors explain.
How does liposomal vitamin C compare to standard vitamin C supplements?
Is it really necessary to take this "special" type of vitamin C? Alicia Galvin, RD, a registered dietitian with Sovereign Laboratories says "yes."
"The typical challenges with vitamin C supplements are poor bioavailability and stomach irritation when supplemented in higher doses over a limited amount of time," Galvin explains.
On the other hand, liposomal vitamin C is more bioavailable than your standard vitamin C from supplements.
"With vitamin C supplements and vitamin C-rich foods, the actual amount of vitamin C that the body absorbs is quite low," says Galvin.
"The 'best' absorption rate of a supplement is only about 50%. [Liposomal vitamin C] meets this threshold, yet most other brands fall well below, as do vitamin C-rich foods," says Galvin.
What vitamin C supplement do dietitians recommend?
You'll likely reap more benefits with any brand of liposomal vitamin C compared to your standard vitamin C pill, but Galvin specifically recommends Vital C-LD from Sovereign Laboratories.
"The technology used for Vital C-LD, the liposomal delivery and delayed-release capsules, allows the Vitamin C to be maximally absorbed, and also helps prolong the biological activity and antioxidant capacity without irritating the stomach or GI tract," Galvin adds.
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