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If you’re browsing for a vitamin C supplement, you’ll see the OGs like capsules, pills, and powders. But what about that bottle labeled “liposomal vitamin C”?
Hold up, is this like a super-powered vitamin C?! Kind of. Liposomal vitamin C may be more effective than other supplement forms thanks to a protective coating that helps your body better absorb the nutrient.
Here’s everything you need to know about liposomal vitamin C.
The term “liposomal” means the nutrient is encased in microscopic lipid spheres called liposomes. Liposomes are used to encase nutrients like vitamin C to help your body better absorb them. Why? Because sometimes your body needs some help.
How well you absorb (aka bioavailability) regular old vitamin C depends on a bunch of factors like rates of intestinal absorption and kidney reabsorption. Plus, regular oral supplement forms of vitamin C can only raise vitamin blood levels to a certain extent, even at very high doses.
Liposomes help protect vitamin C as it travels through the bod’s digestive system, which improves absorption rates and helps boost vitamin blood levels.
Taking vitamin C supplements, in general, is linked to a bunch of health benefits. But compared to nonliposomal forms, liposomal vitamin C is generally better absorbed and can raise your blood levels of vitamin C more effectively.
A 2020 study found that liposomal vitamin C was 1.77 times more bioavailable than other vitamin C supplements. This means that you get more bang for your buck when you’re purchasing liposomal C.
Plus, liposomal forms of nutrients may be easier on your gut, which might help reduce the risk of GI symptoms like bloating and diarrhea. (This is a known side effect for some folks taking high doses of vitamin C.)
But even though liposomal vitamin C is absorbed more effectively and may be easier on the GI tract, it still works in the same way as nonliposomal vitamin C once it’s in your bod.
Need a boost? Vitamin C supplement benefits
If you take liposomal vitamin C, you’ll still get the usual benefits of taking a vitamin C supplement. Take a look at these supplement-specific benefits:
- Immune response. Vitamin C itself is necessary for proper immune response. When it comes to supplements, some studies have shown that high dose vitamin C supplements may help reduce the duration and severity of the common cold, and help minimize the risk of other infections.
- May decrease heart disease risk. Asmall 2021 study found that taking a high dose vitamin C supplement helped improve blood vessel function in older and younger adults during induced inflammation. Maintaining healthy blood vessel function may help reduce heart disease risk.
- May help peeps with diabetes. Some research findings suggest that vitamin C supplements may help reduce fasting blood sugar and improve insulin resistance in peeps with type 2 diabetes. But we need more research to prove the link.
- May protect bone health. Asmall 2021 research review found that bone mineral density was about 3 percent higher in women who took vitamin C supplements long-term, compared with women who didn’t supplement.
- Might reduce levels of some inflammatory markers. Taking vitamin C supplements is linked to reducing several inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), but just in certain populations.
The tolerable upper intake level (UL) for vitamin C supplements — the max dose unlikely to cause side effects — is 2,000 milligrams (mg) per day for adults
But keep in mind that the UL doesn’t apply to people who need to be treated with higher doses of vitamin C for medical reasons.
Vitamin C supplements, including those containing liposomal vitamin C, usually deliver between 250 and 1,000 mg per serving, which is well under the current UL.
Most liposomal vitamin C manufacturers recommend taking liposomal vitamin C on an empty stomach, at least 10 to 15 minutes before meals.
Vitamin C supplements are pretty safe to take, even in high doses. You’ll usually pee out any extra your body doesn’t store.
But taking more than the UL can cause GI side effects via unabsorbed vitamin C in the gut. Side effects may include:
Liposomal vitamin C may be less likely to cause these side effects because it’s more efficiently absorbed, but taking more than 2,000 mg still isn’t recommended. Your body simply doesn’t need that much vitamin C.
And even though vitamin C is usually safe to take, certain folks need to be extra cautious about taking in too much vitamin C.
Vitamin C supplements aren’t recommended for folks with certain medical conditions like hemochromatosis and kidney impairments. People taking certain meds, like iron chelators, should also avoid high dose vitamin C supplements.
It’s always a good idea to purchase supplements from reputable brands that undergo third-party testing and are trusted by healthcare professionals.
Here are a few examples of high quality, liposomal vitamin C supplements available online that are dietitian-approved.
- $ = $10–$20
- $$ = $21–$30
- $$$ = over $30
This vitamin C supplement delivers 1,000 mg of vitamin C per teaspoon. Like most liposomal vitamin C supplements, it comes in a convenient liquid form, making it an excellent choice for people who can’t or don’t like to swallow pills.
FYI: Be sure to store this supplement in your fridge after purchasing.
Pure Encapsulations is a brand that takes supplement quality seriously. Their products are tested by high quality, third-party independent laboratories like Silliker, Eurofins, and Intertek.
Pure Encapsulations Liposomal Vitamin C contains 1,000 mg of vitamin C per serving. It’s a liquid formulation and folks say it has a pleasant citrusy taste.
This liposomal vitamin C supplement comes in convenient single-use packets, which deliver 1,000 mg of vitamin C each.
The company recommends squirting a pack into a bit of water or another cool bevvy and downing it like a shot. Salud!
If you can’t find liposomal vitamin C or don’t want to shell out extra cash — yup, liposomal vitamin C supplements are generally more expensive — no worries!
Even though liposomal vitamin C has been shown to be more efficiently absorbed by the bod, this doesn’t mean that other vitamin C supplements are ineffective. Still, it’s generally best to try and get most of the nutrients you need through your diet.
Here are some of the best food sources of vitamin C using daily value (DV) percentages:
- Raw, red sweet peppers: 212% DV vitamin C per cup
- Broccoli: 114% DV vitamin C per cooked cup
- Fresh, sliced strawberries: 108% DV vitamin C per cup
- Orange juice: 103% DV vitamin C per 3/4 cup
- Grapefruit juice: 78% DV vitamin C per 3/4 cup
- A medium-sized orange: 78% DV vitamin C
- A medium-sized kiwi: 71% DV vitamin C
- Cooked spinach: 20% DV vitamin C per cup
Liposomal vitamin C is a form of vitamin C that’s absorbed more efficiently by your bod compared with other types. But it’s generally more expensive than other vitamin C supplements and can be harder to find in stores.
If you want to increase your intake of vitamin C, consider upping your intake of vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits and broccoli or taking vitamin C supplements (including liposomal vitamin C products).
If you have questions about supplementing with vitamin C or getting more vitamin C through your diet, get in touch with a trusted healthcare professional like a registered dietitian.