The Truth About Vitamin C Absorption

Liposomal vitamin C - Dr. Axe

Due to its positive effects on supporting immune health and beyond, vitamin C supplements are some of the most widely used vitamins in many countries. Something that many people don’t realize about vitamin C supplements is that they are not highly absorbed — rather most is flushed from the body after it’s ingested. Knowing this, alternatives to traditional vitamin C tablets have been in development for years, including  liposomal vitamin C, which some manufacturers say is better absorbed and therefore a smarter investment.

What is liposomal vitamin C exactly? In this article we’ll dive in to how fat-encapsulated lipsomal vitamin C is supposed to work and discuss whether it’s a good option over other forms.

What Is Liposomal Vitamin C?

Liposomal vitamin C is a substitute for standard format vitamin C tablets (also called ascorbic acid). Rather than delivering vitamin C is a typical tablet, pill or powder form, this type delivers the vitamin inside of tiny fat droplets.

The goal of taking liposomal vitamin C is to raise levels more effectively compared to other “standard” supplements. Even after someone takes concentrated amounts of vitamin C in supplement form, plasma (blood) vitamin C levels usually stay relatively low because only a fraction is actually absorbed.

What does liposomal mean? Lipopsomal refers to a type of drug or supplement preparation that contains the active drug inside microscopic fat-like particles (called phospholipid bilayers). This form is typically easier for the body to absorb and allows for more of the supplement/drug to get to specific cells or areas of the body.

Another term used to describe this type of vitamin C is “lypo-spheric vitamin c.”

Although this type of vitamin is new to most adults, the technology used to create it has been in existence for nearly 60 years. Since the 1960s, liposomal preparations have been used in certain vaccines, cancer drugs, gene therapies, and now more and more supplements.

Does It Work?

Is liposomal vitamin C really better? Some experts believe that, yes, it is.

Overall, however, there are mixed opinions regarding its effectiveness. Some health authorities continue to recommend more traditional vitamin C supplements, since these have been safely and effectively used for decades. Others believe that it doesn’t necessarily matter which type of vitamin C you take, as long as you take enough that it actually raises your level.

The way that liposomal supplements work is by bonding to membranes on the outside of cells in a way that allows them to deliver nutrients. The fats/lipids used in liposomal supplements are synthetically created from cholesterol and other forms of fat. These are the same fats that form cell membranes (the outer parts of cells that “seal them”).

Several scientific studies have found evidence that liposomal delivery system of vitamins helps more of the vitamin get into the bloodstream compared to “unencapulated vitamin C supplements” (more traditional supplements not covered in fats).

According to a 2016 article published in the journal Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, liposomal vitamins offer a number of advantages over most other oral forms of supplements, including by increasing intracellular delivery and having a high bioavailability and absorption rate.

Potential Benefits/Uses

1. Helps Boost Vitamin C Levels

Compared with other oral forms of supplements, liposomal vitamins seem to be absorbed better in many instances, which means they can bring up vitamin C levels to normal and healthy levels even when taken in small amounts.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that acts like an antioxidant. Your body can’t make it on its own, so you must acquire it from foods or supplements.

Benefits of getting enough or more vitamin C from your diet and/or supplementation include:

2. High Bioavailability

Some research shows that encapsulated nutrients (or drugs) are usually better protected against the damaging effects of stomach acids and the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal tract, which can destroy the nutrients before they are actually absorbed. Micronized encapsulation can increase transmucosal (oral) uptake and intracellular delivery better than certain other forms.

3. Noninvasive and Easy to Use

Taking liposomal vitamin C to boost your blood level is a convenient option compared to injections (which are sometimes used as part of cancer treatments and for other purposes), which can be costly, painful and sometimes risky due to contamination risk.

This type of vitamin C can also be stirred into liquid, making it a good option for people who find it difficult to swallow tablets of supplements.

Two are other advantages include that it’s adjustable in terms of incremental dosing, and it can be taken in low doses, which may limit side effects.

Risks and Side Effects

What are potential liposomal vitamin C side effects? Vitamin C side effects in general can potentially include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • heartburn
  • stomach cramps
  • headaches
  • flushing

You’re more likely to experience side effects if you take a high amount, especially in one large dose.

Other potential disadvantages to consider when choosing whether or not to take this type of vitamin C include:

  • It has a relatively high cost per dose.
  • There may be risk for poor quality, added ingredients or poor absorption due to the wrong particle size and poor manufacturing processes.
  • There’s a possibility of instability, meaning the fat used in the supplement can go bad and potentially lose its effectiveness or cause side effects.
  • Because there is higher absorption/increased intracellular delivery, side effects may happen more quickly and severely if you take too much.

Dosage (How to Use)

What is the best liposomal vitamin C? 

Some research suggests that “pro-liposomal” supplements that contains vitamin C and phospholipids, such as phosphatidylcholine, may be better absorbed than those that are described as “liquid soluble” vitamin C. Lipid soluble vitamin C tends to be made with ingredients such as ascorbyl palmitate, ascorbyl oleate or cetyl ascorbate, but these don’t seem to work as well as pro-liposomal forms.

If you are going to use this form, the best liposomal vitamin C is one that is free of additives and quality tested to ensure stability and purity. Look for a reputable manufacturer that does careful testing to ensure the proper particle size and ingredients.

Keep in mind that liposomal vitamins tend to be more expensive than standard tablets, so expect to pay a bit more (although some people think it’s worth it for the added absorption and benefits).

Lipsomal vitamin C should be taken once or twice per day, depending on the specific product and dose. You may need to take it for several weeks before you notice any difference.

Depending on the specific product, it can be mixed it most liquids, such as water, juice, coffee or smoothies. Because it can have an unpleasant taste and gooey texture, some people prefer to mix it with juice and then drink it down quickly.

How much should you take?

The daily recommended dietary allowances for vitamin C for adults are 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women. Higher doses are commonly used when someone is experiencing vitamin C deficiency, usually between 100–250 milligrams once or twice daily for several days.

The highest daily intake that is thought to pose no risks is 2,000 milligrams per day. Do not exceed this amount without speaking with a doctor.

Liposomal vitamin C is sometimes taken in lower doses than other forms because more is absorbed. Some studies have given adults between 1,000 milligrams per day up to four grams per day, which has been enough to effectively raise blood levels.

However, use precaution when exceeding doses of more than 1,000 to 2,000 mg/day, which seems to be the most that many experts recommend taking.


  • What is liposomal vitamin C (also called lypo-spheric vitamin C)? It’s a type of vitamin C supplement that is delivered inside tiny particles of fat.
  • Is liposomal vitamin C really better? The fact that the vitamins are encapsulated can improve absorption due to the protective effects of the liposom (fat) in the digestive system. Some advantages of taking this type of vitamin C include vitamins being taken up more readily by the body, needing lower doses, not needing to take tablets and being able to adjust the dose easily.
  • As with other vitamin supplements, potential liposomal vitamin c side effects can include nausea, vomiting, cramps, heartburn and headaches.
  • Take this supplement one to two times per day, and be careful to read directions carefully. Try stirring it into coffee, juice or a smoothie to disguise the taste.

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