Liposomes are very small, spherical structures made of a double lipid layer. They are vesicles filled with water (or an aqueous solution), surrounded by a lipid layer. The shell of liposomes is similar to biological membranes.
Often it is phosphatidylcholine - the same substance that is found in the cell membrane in the human body. We can use them as microscopic capsules filled with various active substances, e.g. vitamin C, other vitamins K, D and other active substances.
Liposomes have the ability to transport both water and fatty substances, which makes them a very good system for transporting substances to the cells of our body.
Application of liposomes
Liposomes can be widely used: in medicine, as dietary supplements, and also in cosmetology.
In medicine, antiviral or antibacterial drugs are encapsulated in liposomes and released to reduce toxicity through sustained, sustained release, while extending the duration of drug action. Increasingly, liposomes are also used in cosmetics. In this case, liposomes are treated as factors that increase the absorption of substances through the skin or epidermis.
It should be mentioned about the supplementation market, where innovative preparations with extremely high bioavailability are used. Therefore, the doses of vitamins (or other health-promoting substances) used may be much lower, and the effect is very good.
On the Internet you can find articles and videos that describe and show methods for making home-made liposomes. In practice, unfortunately, it is not that simple, because:
A high-quality liposome requires a large amount of high-quality phosphatidylcholine, which is extremely difficult to obtain at home. Liposomal products contain a minimum of 400 mg of phosphatidylcholine per 5 ml of the preparation.
Appropriate machinery and a sterile laboratory are necessary for the production of liposomes, especially when it comes to nanotechnology. At home, it is impossible to produce liposomes of the correct very small size.
Liposomes are quite unstable, which is one of the biggest challenges in the production process.
Liposomes (e.g. vitamin C, glutathione, etc.) are extremely unstable in the presence of oxygen. All liposomal products are manufactured under control in a sterile laboratory with a pharmaceutical standard that protects against contact with oxygen.
Liposomes can be divided into artificial and natural liposomes
Natural liposomes - lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides and others) are transported in the body's water environment with blood and tissue fluid in the form of lipoprotein particles. They are in the form of vesicles or discs surrounded by a double or single lipid layer of the membrane, made of phospholipids, surrounded by a chain - apolipoprotein proteins.
Phospholipids consist of a hydrophilic "head" and a hydrophobic "tail". When phospholipids are placed in an aqueous solution, hydrophobic tails position themselves opposite to "repel" water molecules and at the same time form a special double layer, while hydrophilic "heads" form hydrogen bonds with water molecules.
The double lipid layer creates a closed space (liposome) and completely delimits the water molecules from the hydrophobic "tail".
A regular capsule or tablet that we consume must first pass from the mouth to the rest of the digestive system to finally be absorbed in the small intestine.
During this process, the digestive enzymes in the mouth and stomach, stomach acids, bile, and intestinal bacteria break down the nutrients before they are finally processed in the liver and made available to the body's cells.
Phospholipids do not allow digestive juices to enter their interior. This feature makes them a very good way to deliver acidic substances or substances susceptible to digestive enzymes to the cells of the body.
Transport of liposomes
As soon as the liposome enters the lumen of the small intestine, it is immediately absorbed by the epithelial cells of the small intestine, found in the intestinal villi. These liposomes then travel safely through the lymphatic system to various organs of the body.
The advantage of liposomes is that they are so small that they can pass through the walls of blood vessels without any problems. This allows liposomes to leave the blood vessel and focus on the vitamin deficiency area. Normal blood vessel walls are poorly permeable, with the effect that the liposomes will circulate until they come across a vitamin deficiency. This causes the liposome to accumulate within the area of deficiency, giving the desired effect.
The way nutrients are delivered to the intracellular level is done in several ways:
Endocytosis - the process by which the liposome enters the cell interior without traversing the cell membrane. It is the cell that absorbs the liposome, creating a membrane-bounded vesicle (the so-called endosome).
Adsorption - the liposome adheres to the cell membrane and releases its contents inside the cell.
Fusion - the phospholipid layer of the liposome connects directly with the cell membrane, and the liposome contents enter the intracellular space.
Lipid exchange - the contents of the liposome and the cell interior are changed.
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