Each packet of Altrient-C gel contains 1,000mg of vitamin C and 1,000mg of soy-lecithin-derived phospholipids (primarily phosphatidylcholine) in the form of liposomes, which encapsulate and protect the water-soluble vitamin.
These move through the stomach unharmed, pass through the intestinal walls and get directly into the bloodstream, said chief executive Cindy Nachman.
“Fluorescent microscopy tests on fluorescent dye-tagged liposome-encapsulated vitamin C conducted by a nationally recognized, independent research and development laboratory showed that the liposomes crossed cellular membranes and passed into cultured liver cells.”
Volunteers had serum vit C levels nearly double those thought theoretically possible with oral forms of the vitamin
Meanwhile, a trial led by Dr Stephen Hickey at Staffordshire University in the UK (published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine in summer 2008) showed that subjects ingesting the liposome-encapsulated vitamin C had serum levels of vitamin C nearly double those thought theoretically possible with oral forms of the vitamin, claimed Nachman.
“Hickey was able to demonstrate blood serum levels of vitamin C that were nearly double the National Institutes of Health (NIH) theoretical maximum level.”
In the study – available here – Hickey said: “It is apparent that sustained levels of plasma ascorbate, above the previously assumed maximum of 220μML-1are possible with oral intakes of liposomal vitamin C… We have demonstrated that single doses of liposomal formulations can give levels above 400μML-1.”
This isn’t a big box store product
Nachman, who set up Livon Laboratories in 2004 to market supplements under the Lypo-Spheric brand, said: “Lypo-Spheric products have been successful targeting the over 65s but we wanted to target athletes, Moms and younger people that are also looking for mega-doses of vitamin C.
“This isn’t a big box store product; we’re not going head to head with brands like Ester-C and Emergen-C.”
While liposomes are increasingly being used to improve the bioavailability of orally administered nutrients such as curcumin and glutathione, the process is not cheap, added Nachman.
“In each pack of Altrient-C you’ve also got 1,000mg of phospholipids, which are sold as nutritional supplements in their own right.”
The vitamin C supplement category
While the vitamin C category is mature, there has been a lot of activity in the market recently, with Schiff Nutrition recently snapping up vitamin C supplement giant Airborne, and Pfizer acquiring Emergen-C.
Meanwhile, NBTY has been investing heavily in vitamin C brand leader Ester-C, which contains calcium ascorbate plus small amounts of vitamin C metabolites dehydroascorbate, calcium threonate, xylonate and lyxonate – and is claimed to offer superior absorption and retention.
FAST-C, made by Scientific Food Solutions (SFS), contains a proprietary blend of alkalizing minerals plus Sabinsa’s patented bioavailability enhancer BioPerine to create a 90%+ acid-neutralized vitamin C. This gets into the blood significantly faster than Ester-C, while urinary excretion is slightly less, suggesting superior retention by tissues, claims SFS.
US retail sales of vitamin C supplements – the biggest single category in the vitamins and minerals market - were up 2.8% to $221.27m in the year to October 1, 2011, across conventional and natural channels combined, according to figures provided by SPINs.