Wednesday, 27 August 2014
E322 in more detail...
For food use in Europe, Lecithin must comply with E322, and is defined as follows:
A mixture of phospholipids (phosphatides) obtained by physical procedures from animal or vegetable foodstuffs; they also include hydrolysed products obtained through the use of harmless and appropriate enzymes. The final product must not show any signs of residual enzyme activity.
The lecithins may be slightly bleached in aqueous medium by means of hydrogen peroxide. This oxidation must not chemically modify the phospholipids.
In order to comply with E322, regular lecithin must have a minimum of 60% of substances insoluble in acetone. Hydrolysed lecithins must have a minimum of 56% of substances insoluble in acetone.
Commercial sources of Lecithin
The dominant source of lecithin globally has always been and is still the soya bean. It should be noted, however, that the primary drivers for the soya bean industry are the need for soya meal for animal feed and for soya oil. The lecithin component of the soya bean constitutes approximately 0.5% of the bean; for most crushers this is classed as no more than a minor by-product.
More recently there is substantial growth in the attractiveness of lecithins from sunflower and rapeseed.
This growth is driven primarily by two key factors:
Lecithin is the only natural emulsifier. It is comprised of a mixture of 5 phospholipids:
Phosphatidylcholine (PC)These polar lipids are the active ingredients (or business end) of what is collectively known as lecithin. In simple terms they are water-loving fats, which means that they have the special ability to make phases, which otherwise would not mix, mix homogeneously.
Phosphatidic Acid (PA)
Types Of Lecithin
Besides the different origins of lecithin, the products can be made available in the following 4 forms:
Hydrolysed lecithin is an oil-in-water (o/w) emulsifier as opposed to regular or native lecithin, which promotes water-in-oil (w/o) emulsions.
Hydrolysed Lecithin is produced by enzymatic hydrolysis by means of phospholipases in order to increase the hydrophilic – lipophilic balance (HLB) of regular lecithin from 3-4 to 7-8 in the case of standard hydrolysis, or even to 9-10 for highly hydrolysed specialties.
Different lecithin grades are used for various applications for emulsification purposes depending on the desired effect and product composition.
Excerpt from Kaayla Daniel's book: The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food (New Trends, Spring 2004).
Lecithin is an emulsifying substance that is found in the cells of all living organisms. The French scientist Maurice Gobley discovered lecithin in 1805 and named it "lekithos" after the Greek word for "egg yolk." Until it was recovered from the waste products of soybean processing in the 1930s, eggs were the primary source of commercial lecithin. Today lecithin is the generic name given to a whole class of fat-and-water soluble compounds called phospholipids. Levels of phospholipids in soybean oils range from 1.48 to 3.08 percent, which is considerably higher than the 0.5 percent typically found in vegetable oils, but far less than the 30 percent found in egg yolks.1-6
Out of the Dumps
Soybean lecithin comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a "degumming" process. It is a waste product containing solvents and pesticides and has a consistency ranging from a gummy fluid to a plastic solid. Before being bleached to a more appealing light yellow, the color of lecithin ranges from a dirty tan to reddish brown. The hexane extraction process commonly used in soybean oil manufacture today yields less lecithin than the older ethanol-benzol process, but produces a more marketable lecithin with better color, reduced odor and less bitter flavor.7
Historian William Shurtleff reports that the expansion of the soybean crushing and soy oil refining industries in Europe after 1908 led to a problem disposing the increasing amounts of fermenting, foul-smelling sludge. German companies then decided to vacuum dry the sludge, patent the process and sell it as "soybean lecithin." Scientists hired to find some use for the substance cooked up more than a thousand new uses by 1939.8
Today lecithin is ubiquitous in the processed food supply. It is most commonly used as an emulsifier to keep water and fats from separating in foods such as margarine, peanut butter, chocolate candies, ice cream, coffee creamers and infant formulas. Lecithin also helps prevent product spoilage, extending shelf life in the marketplace. In industry kitchens, it is used to improve mixing, speed crystallization, prevent "weeping," and stop spattering, lumping and sticking. Used in cosmetics, lecithin softens the skin and helps other ingredients penetrate the skin barrier. A more water-loving version known as "deoiled lecithin" reduces the time required to shut down and clean the extruders used in the manufacture of textured vegetable protein and other soy products.9,10
In theory, lecithin manufacture eliminates all soy proteins, making it hypoallergenic. In reality, minute amounts of soy protein always remain in lecithin as well as in soy oil. Three components of soy protein have been identified in soy lecithin, including the Kunitz trypsin inhibitor, which has a track record of triggering severe allergic reactions even in the most minuscule quantities. The presence of lecithin in so many food and cosmetic products poses a special danger for people with soy allergies.11-13
Lec Is In: The Making of a Wonder Food
Lecithin has been touted for years as a wonder food capable of combating atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, liver cirrhosis, gall stones, psoriasis, eczema, scleroderma, anxiety, tremors and brain aging. Because it is well known that the human body uses phospholipids to build strong, flexible cell membranes and to facilitate nerve transmission, health claims have been made for soy lecithin since the 1920s. Dr. A. A. Horvath, a leading purveyor of soybean health claims at the time, thought it could be used in "nerve tonics" or to help alcoholics reduce the effects of intoxication and withdrawal. In 1934, an article entitled "A Comfortable and Spontaneous Cure for the Opium Habit by Means of Lecithin" was written by Chinese researchers and published in an English language medical journal.14
Lecithin, though, did not capture the popular imagination until the 1960s and 1970s when the bestselling health authors Adelle Davis, Linda Clark and Mary Ann Crenshaw hyped lecithin in their many books, including Let’s Get Well, Secrets of Health and Beauty and The Natural Way to Super Beauty: Featuring the Amazing Lecithin, Apple Cider Vinegar, B-6 and Kelp Diet.15-17
Lecithin did not become a star of the health food circuit by accident. Research took off during the early 1930s, right when lecithin production became commercially viable. In 1939, the American Lecithin Company began sponsoring research studies, and published the most promising in a 23-page booklet entitled Soybean Lecithin in 1944. The company, not coincidentally introduced a health food cookie with a lecithin filling known as the "Lexo Wafer" and a lecithin/wheat germ supplement called Granulestin. In the mid 1970s, Natterman, a lecithin marketing company based in Germany, hired scientists at various health clinics to experiment with lecithin and to write scientific articles about it. These "check book" scientists coined the term "essential phospholipids" an inaccurate term since a healthy body can produce its own phospholipids from phosphorous and lipids.18
In September 2001, lecithin got a boost when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized products containing enough of it to bear labels such as "A good source of choline." Producers of soy lecithin hope to find ways to help the new health claim lift demand for lecithin and increase prices in what has been a soft market. Eggs, milk and soy products are the leading dietary sources of choline, according to recent research conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Duke University.19-21
Lec That's More: Phosphatidyl Choline (PC)
Because many lecithin products sold in health food stores contain less than 30 percent choline, many clinicians prefer to use the more potent Phosphatidylcholine (PC) or its even more powerful derivative drug Glyceryl-phosphorylcholine (GPC). Both are being used to prevent and reverse dementia, improve cognitive function, increase human growth hormone (hGH) release, and to treat brain disorders such as damage from stroke. PC and GPC may help build nerve cell membranes, facilitate electrical transmission in the brain, hold membrane proteins in place, and produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.22-24 However, studies on soy lecithin, PC, and brain aging have been inconsistent and contradictory ever since the 1920s. Generally, lecithin is regarded as safe except for people who are highly allergic to soy. However, the late Robert Atkins, MD, advised patients not to take large doses of supplemental lecithin without extra vitamin C to protect them from the nitrosamines formed from choline metabolism. Trimethylamine and dimethylamine, which are metabolized by bacteria in the intestines from choline, are important precurors to N-nitrosodimethylamine, a potent carcinogen in a wide variety of animal species.25-27
Phosphatidyl Serine (PS)
Phosphatidyl serine (PS) -- another popular phospholipid that improves brain function and mental acuity – nearly always comes from soy oil. Most of the scientific studies proving its efficacy, however, come from bovine sources, which also contain DHA as part of the structure.28-31 Plant oils never contain readymade DHA. Indeed, the entire fatty acid structure is different; bovine derived PS is rich in stearic and oleic acids, while soy PS is rich in linoleic and palmitic acids.32 Complicating matters further, the PS naturally formed in the human body consists of 37.5 percent stearic acid and 24.2 percent arachidonic acid.33 Yet soy-derived PS seems to help many people.34-36
Russell Blaylock, MD, author of Excitotoxins, the Taste that Kills, explains that the probable reason PS works is because its chemical structure is similar to that of L-glutamate, the trouble-making neurotransmitter, amino acid and excitotoxin that exists in high concentration in MSG (monosodium glutamate), HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein) and "natural flavorings" and foods containing these soy derivatives. (See Chapter 11.) Because PS competes with glutamate, it may protect us from glutamate toxicity.37 Ironically, the expensive soy-derived supplement PS is being used to undo damage that may be caused in part by the cheap soy in processed foods
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE), another phosphatidyl substance commercially extracted from soybeans, for use as a fruit ripener and shelf-life extender. LPE – once called cephalin -- is now being used to treat grapes, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, tomatoes, and cut flowers.
When applied to fruits that are nearly ripe – going into puberty, so to speak -- LPE promotes ripening. When applied to picked fruit or cut flowers that are already ripe or blooming, however, it will "reduce senescence by inhibiting some of the enzymes involved in membrane breakdown." This can dramatically extend shelf life.38 Whether the substance could also keep human bodies fresh for funeral home viewings has not yet been investigated.
Smith, Allan K and Circle, Sidney J. Soybeans: Chemistry and Technology, Vol 1, Proteins (Westport CT, Avi, 1972) 79.
Berk, Zeki. Technology of production of edible flours and protein products from soybeans. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 97, 14.
Nash AM, Eldridge AC, Wolf WJ. Fractionation and characterization of alcohol extractions associated with soybean proteins: nonprotein components. J Agr Food Chem, 1967, 15, 1, 106-108.
Shurtleff, William and Aoyagi, Akiko. What Is Lecithin? Chapters 1-6 from History of Soy Lecithin. In Soyfoods: Past, Present and Future. Unpublished manuscript, (Lafayette, CA, Soyfoods Center, 1981).
Wood and Allison, Effects of consumption of choline and lecithin on neurological and cardiovascular systems, Life Sciences Research Office, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), 1981.
Liu, KeShun. Soybeans: Chemistry, Technology, Utilization (Gaithersburg, MD, Aspen, 1999) 32.
Gu X, Beardslee T et al. Identification of IgE-binding proteins in soy lecithin. Int Arch Allergy Immunol, 2001, 126, 3, 218-225.
Mortimer EZ. Anaphylaxis following ingestion of soybean. Pediatr, 1961, 58, 90-92.
Moroz LA, Yang WH. Kunitz soybean trypsin-inhibitor: a specific allergen in food anaphylaxis N Engl J Med, 1980, 302, 1126-1128.
Davis, Adelle. Let’s Get Well (NY, Signet/New American Library, 1965).
Clark, Linda. Secrets of Health and Beauty (NY, Jove, 1969).
Crenshaw, Mary Ann. The Natural Way to Super Beauty (NY, Dell, 1974).
Lecithin demand poised to gain on choline health claims. Chemical Business NewsBase, Chemical Market Reporter via NewsEdge Corporation 10/8/2201 posted onwww.soyatech.com.
FDA clears health claim for choline. National Press Club, Washington, DC.PR Newswire via NewsEdge Corporation. Posted 9/10/2201 on www.soyatech.com.
Soy products --high in choline -- win labeling right. News Observer, Raleigh, NC via NewsEdge Corporation, posted 9/12/2201 www.soyatech.com.
Amenta F, Parnetti L et al. Treatment of cognitive dysfunction associated with Alzheimer’s disease with cholinergic precursors. Ineffective treatments or inappropriate approaches? Mech Ageing Dev, 2001, 122, 16, 2025-2040.
Ceda GP, Ceresini G et al. Alpha-Glycerylphosphyorylcholine administration increases the GH responses to gHR of young and elderly subjects. Horm Metab Res, 1992, 24, 3, 119-121.
Parnetti L et al. Choline alphoscerate in cognitive decline and in acute cerebrovascular disease: an analysis of published clinical data. Mec Ageing Dev, 2001, 122, 16, 2041-2055.
Atkins, Robert. Dr. Atkins’ Vita-Nutrient Solution (Simon and Schuster, 1998). 78-80.
Zeisel SH, Gettner S, Youssef M. Formation of aliphatic amine precursors of N-nitrosodimethylamine after oral administration of choline and choline analogues in the rat. Food Chem Toxicol, 1989, 27, 1, 31-34.
Fiume Z. Final report on the safety assessment of lecithin and hydrogenated lecithin. Int J Toxicol, 2001, 20, Suppl 1, 21-45.
Gelbmann CM, Muller WE. Chronic treatment with phosphatidylserine restores muscarinic cholinergic receptor deficits in the aged mouse brain. Neurobiol Aging, 1992, 3, 1, 45-50.
Crook TH, Tinklenberg J et al. Effects of phyosphatidylserine in age-associated memory impairment. Neurology, 1991, 41, 5, 644-699.
Crook T, Petrie W et al. Effects of phosphatidylserine in Alzheimer’s disease. Psychopharmacol Bull, 1992, 28, 1, 61-66.
Monteleone P, Beinat L et al. Effects of phosphatidylserine on the neuroendocrine respone to physical stress in humans. Neuroendocrinology, 1990, 52, 3, 243-248.
Sakai M, Yamatoya H, Kudo S. Pharmacological effects of phosphatidylserine enzymatically synthesized from soybean lecithin on brain function in rodents. J. Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo), 1996, 42, 1, 47-54.
Enig, Mary. Know Your Fats (Silver Spring, MD, Bethesda Press, 2000), 60-61.
Blokland A, Honig W, et al. Cognition-enhancing properties of subchronic phosphatidylserine (PS) treatment in middle-aged rats: comparison of bovine cortex PS with egg PS and soybean PS. Nutr, 1999, 15, 10, 778-783.
Schreiber S, Kampf-Sherf O et al. An open trial of plant-source derived phosphatydilserine for treatment of age-related cognitive decline. Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci, 2000, 37, 4, 302-307.
Sakai, Yamatoya, Kudo.
Blaylock, Ralph. Not just another scare: toxin additives in your food and drink. Radiant Life International Health Related Articles. www.radiantlife.com.
Ripening agent made from soy granted EPA approval. Nutra-Park Inc., Madison, WI. Business wire via NewsEdge Corporation posted 4/4/2002 on www.soyatech.com.
In the rapidly expanding market of dietary supplements, it is possible to find vitamin C in many different forms with many claims regarding its efficacy orbioavailability. Bioavailability refers to the degree to which a nutrient (or drug) becomes available to the target tissue after it has been administered. We reviewed the literature for the results of scientific research on the bioavailability of different forms of vitamin C.
Natural and synthetic L-ascorbic acid are chemically identical, and there are no known differences in their biological activity. The possibility that the bioavailability of L-ascorbic acid from natural sources might differ from that of synthetic ascorbic acid was investigated in at least two human studies, and no clinically significant differences were observed. A study of 12 males (6 smokers and 6 nonsmokers) found the bioavailability of synthetic ascorbic acid (powder administered in water) to be slightly superior to that of orange juice, based on blood levels of ascorbic acid, and not different based on ascorbic acid in leukocytes (white blood cells) (1). A study in 68 male nonsmokers found that ascorbic acid consumed in cooked broccoli, orange juice, orange slices, and as synthetic ascorbic acid tablets are equally bioavailable, as measured by plasma ascorbic acid levels (2, 3).
The gastrointestinal absorption of ascorbic acid occurs through an active transport process, as well as through passive diffusion. At low gastrointestinal concentrations of ascorbic acid active transport predominates, while at high gastrointestinal concentrations active transport becomes saturated, leaving only passive diffusion. In theory, slowing down the rate of stomach emptying (e.g., by taking ascorbic acid with food or taking a slow-release form of ascorbic acid) should increase its absorption. While the bioavailability of ascorbic acid appears equivalent whether it is in the form of powder, chewable tablets, or non-chewable tablets, the bioavailability of ascorbic acid from slow-release preparations is less certain.
A study of three men and one woman found 1 gram of ascorbic acid to be equally well absorbed from solution, tablets, and chewable tablets, but the absorption from a timed-release capsule was 50% lower. Absorption was assessed by measuring urinary excretion of ascorbic acid after an intravenous dose of ascorbic acid and then comparing it to urinary excretion after the oral dosage forms (4).
A more recent study examined the plasma levels of ascorbic acid in 59 male smokers supplemented for two months with either 500 mg/day of slow-release ascorbic acid, 500 mg/day of plain ascorbic acid, or a placebo. After two months of supplementation no significant differences in plasma ascorbic acid levels between the slow-release and plain ascorbic acid groups were found (5). A second placebo-controlled trial also evaluated plain ascorbic acid versus slow-release ascorbic acid in 48 male smokers (6). Participants were supplemented with either 250 mg plain ascorbic acid, 250 mg slow-release ascorbic acid, or placebo twice daily for four weeks. No differences were observed in the change in plasma ascorbate concentration or area under the curve following ingestion of either formulation.
Mineral salts of ascorbic acid (mineral ascorbates) are buffered, and therefore, less acidic. Thus, mineral ascorbates are often recommended to people who experience gastrointestinal problems (upset stomach or diarrhea) with plain ascorbic acid. There appears to be little scientific research to support or refute the claim that mineral ascorbates are less irritating to the gastrointestinal tract. When mineral salts of ascorbic acid are taken, both the ascorbic acid and the mineral appear to be well absorbed, so it is important to consider the dose of the mineral accompanying the ascorbic acid when taking large doses of mineral ascorbates. For the following discussion, it should be noted that 1 gram (g)= 1,000 milligrams (mg) and 1 milligram (mg) = 1,000 micrograms (mcg). Mineral ascorbates are available in the following forms:
- Sodium ascorbate: 1,000 mg of sodium ascorbate generally contains 111 mg of sodium. Individuals following low-sodium diets (e.g., for high blood pressure) are generally advised to keep their total dietary sodium intake to less than 2,500 mg/day. Thus, megadoses of vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbate could significantly increase sodium intake (see Sodium Chloride).
- Calcium ascorbate: Calcium ascorbate generally provides 90-110 mg of calcium (890-910 mg of ascorbic acid) per 1,000 mg of calcium ascorbate. Calcium in this form appears to be reasonably well absorbed. The recommended dietary calcium intake for adults is 1,000 to 1,200 mg/day. Total calcium intake should not exceed theUL, which is 2,500 mg/day for adults aged 19-50 years and 2,000 mg/day for adults older than 50 years (see Calcium).
The following mineral ascorbates are more likely to be found in combination with other mineral ascorbates, as well as other minerals. It's a good idea to check the labels of dietary supplements for the ascorbic acid dose as well as the dose of each mineral. Recommended dietary intakes and maximum upper levels of intake (when available) are listed after the individual mineral ascorbates below:
- Potassium ascorbate: The minimal requirement for potassium is thought to be between 1.6 and 2.0 g/day. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of potassium, and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may provide as much as 8 to 11 g/day. Acute and potentially fatal potassium toxicity (hyperkalemia) is thought to occur at a daily intake of about 18 g/day of potassium in adults. Individuals taking potassium-sparing diuretics and those with renal insufficiency (kidney failure) should avoid significant intake of potassium ascorbate. The purest form of commercially available potassium ascorbate contains 0.175 grams (175 mg) of potassium per gram of ascorbate (seePotassium).
- Magnesium ascorbate: The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 400-420 mg/day for adult men and 310-320 mg/day for adult women. The upper level (UL) of intake for magnesium from supplements should not exceed 350 mg/day (see Magnesium).
- Zinc ascorbate: The RDA for zinc is 11 mg/day for adult men and 8 mg/day for adult women. The upper level (UL) of zinc intake for adults should not exceed 40 mg/day (see Zinc).
- Molybdenum ascorbate: The RDA for molybdenum is 45 micrograms (mcg)/day for adult men and women. The upper level (UL) of molybdenum intake for adults should not exceed 2,000 mcg (2 mg)/day (see Molybdenum).
- Chromium ascorbate: The recommended dietary intake (AI) for chromium is 30-35 mcg/day for adult men and 20-25 mcg/day for adult women. A maximum upper level (UL) of intake has not been determined by the US Food and Nutrition Board (see Chromium).
- Manganese ascorbate: The recommended dietary intake (AI) for manganese is 2.3 mg/day for adult men and 1.8 mg/day for adult women. The upper level (UL) of intake for manganese for adults should not exceed 11 mg/day. Manganese ascorbate is found in some preparations of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, and following the recommended dose on the label of such supplements could result in a daily intake exceeding the upper level for manganese (see Manganese).
Bioflavonoids or flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds found in plants. Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, are often rich sources of flavonoids as well. The effect of bioflavonoids on the bioavailability of ascorbic acid has been recently reviewed (7).
Results from the 10 clinical studies comparing the absorption of vitamin C alone or vitamin C in flavonoid-containing foods showed no appreciable differences in bioavailability of ascorbic acid. Only one study, which included five men and three women, found that a 500-mg supplement of synthetic ascorbic acid, given in a natural citrus extract containing bioflavonoids, proteins, and carbohydrates, was more slowly absorbed and 35% more bioavailable than synthetic ascorbic acid alone, when based on plasma levels of ascorbic acid (8). The remaining studies showed either no change or slightly lower plasma ascorbate levels in subjects who consumed vitamin C with flavonoids compared to flavonoids alone (7).
Another assessment of vitamin C bioavailability is measuring urinary ascorbate levels to approximate rates of vitamin C excretion. One study in six young Japanese males (22-26 years old) showed a significant reduction in urinary excretion of ascorbic acid in the presence of acerola juice, a natural source of both vitamin C and flavonoids (9). However, three separate studies showed that urinary levels of vitamin C were increased after consumption of kiwifruit (10), blackcurrant juice (11), or orange juice (1). Overall, the impact of flavonoids on the bioavailability of vitamin C seems to be negligible; however, there is a need for carefully controlled studies using specific flavonoid extracts (7).
Ester-C® contains mainly calcium ascorbate, but also contains small amounts of the vitamin C metabolites, dehydroascorbic acid (oxidized ascorbic acid), calcium threonate, and trace levels of xylonate and lyxonate. In their literature, the manufacturers state that the metabolites, especially threonate, increase the bioavailability of the vitamin C in this product, and they indicate that they have performed a study in humans that demonstrates the increased bioavailability of vitamin C in Ester-C®. This study has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal. A small published study of vitamin C bioavailability in eight women and one man found no difference between Ester-C® and commercially available ascorbic acid tablets with respect to the absorption and urinary excretion of vitamin C (12). Ester-C® should not be confused with ascorbyl palmitate, which is also marketed as "vitamin C ester" (see below).
Ascorbyl palmitate is a fat-soluble antioxidant used to increase the shelf life of vegetable oils and potato chips (13). It is an amphipathic molecule, meaning one end is water-soluble and the other end is fat-soluble. This dual solubility allows it to be incorporated into cell membranes. When incorporated into the cell membranes of human red blood cells, ascorbyl palmitate has been found to protect them from oxidative damage and to protect alpha-tocopherol (a fat-soluble antioxidant) from oxidation by free radicals (14). However, the protective effects of ascorbyl palmitate on cell membranes have only been demonstrated in the test tube. Taking ascorbyl palmitate orally probably doesn't result in any significant incorporation into cell membranes because most of it appears to be hydrolyzed (broken apart into palmitate and ascorbic acid) in the human digestive tract before it is absorbed. The ascorbic acid released by the hydrolysis of ascorbyl palmitate appears to be as bioavailable as ascorbic acid alone (15). The presence of ascorbyl palmitate in oral supplements contributes to the ascorbic acid content of the supplement and probably helps protect fat-soluble antioxidants in the supplement. The roles of vitamin C in promoting collagen synthesis and as an antioxidant have generated interest in its use on the skin (see the article,Vitamin C and Skin Health). Ascorbyl palmitate is frequently used in topical preparations because it is more stable than some aqueous (water-soluble) forms of vitamin C (16). Ascorbyl palmitate is also marketed as vitamin C ester," which should not be confused with Ester-C® (see above).
Erythorbic acid is an isomer of ascorbic acid. Isomers are compounds that have the same kinds and numbers of atoms, but different molecular arrangements. The difference in molecular arrangement among isomers may result in different chemical properties. Erythorbic acid is used in the US as an antioxidant food additive and is generally recognized as safe. It has been estimated that more than 200 mg erythorbic acid per capita is introduced daily into the US food system. Unlike ascorbic acid, erythorbic acid does not appear to exert vitamin C activity, for example, it did not prevent scurvy in guinea pigs (one of the few animal species other than humans that does not synthesize ascorbic acid). However, guinea pig studies also indicated that increased erythorbic acid intake reduced the bioavailability of ascorbic acid by up to 50%. In contrast, a series of studies in young women found that up to 1,000 mg/day of erythorbic acid for as long as 40 days was rapidly cleared from the body and had little effect on the bioavailability of ascorbic acid, indicating that erythorbic acid does not diminish the bioavailability of ascorbic acid in humans at nutritionally relevant levels of intake (17).
PureWay-C® is composed of vitamin C and lipid metabolites. Two cell culture studies using PureWay-C® have been published by the same investigators(18, 19), but in vivo data are currently lacking. A small study in healthy adults found that serum levels of vitamin C did not differ when a single oral dose (1 gram) of either PureWay-C® or ascorbic acid was administered (20).
Another formulation of vitamin C, liposomal-encapsulated vitamin C (e.g., Lypo-spheric™ vitamin C) is now commercially available. However, data regarding the bioavailability of liposomal-encapsulated vitamin C are not currently available.
Large-scale, pharmacokinetic studies are needed to determine how the bioavailability of these vitamin C formulations compares to that of ascorbic acid.
Last updated 11/27/13 Copyright 2000-2014 Linus Pauling Institute
Friday, 22 August 2014
Liposomes were first described in 1961 and have since found use in everything from drugs to expensive skin creams. Their properties and associated manufacturing techniques have been extensively studied.
Unfortunately, much of this research is not easy to read for the non-scientist.
Additionally, current research is focussed on binding various other chemicals to liposomes which themselves are created out of hybrid compounds to provide specific pharmaceutical properties.
Thankfully, we’re interested only in creating simple liposomes from readily available non-toxic materials.
The following are the key findings from my research into creating the best possible liposomal vitamin C.
Liposomes are Easy to Make
It turns out that lecithin phospholipids really like to make liposomes!
Despite the marketing material created by such companies as LivOn Labs liposomes are actually very easy to make. You don’t need a high pressure injection system, or even an ultrasound machine!
LivOn Labs recently purchased the US patent number 20120171280A1 that is snappily named ‘Method of making liposomes, liposome compositions made by the methods, and methods of using the same’. It describes a method of making better liposomes than LivOn Labs without the need for any specialized equipment!
The inventor, Yuanpeng Zhang, has a long history of working with liposomes and has a number of related patents to his name.
The summary of his invention is that high quality liposomes may be created using only a blender, water, alcohol and vitamin C - and that these liposomes are better than the ones produced by LivOn Labs!
It’s no wonder that LivOn Labs purchased this patent!
This is fantastic news for all those people that need liposomal vitamin C but don’t have the resources to purchase expensive equipment or liposomal vitamin C directly from LivOn Labs.
my understanding is that if you’re in the United States (where this patent is valid) then you shouldn’t attempt to use the method described in this patent without approval from Livon Labs.
It is typically impossible for the home manufacturer to validate that they have created liposomes. However, I’m fortunate that I have access to a biological research lab and have used their microscopes to confirm liposome creation. The following is a picture of the liposomes that have been created using the Process described on this website. The picture is a little odd looking because the attached camera was broken and I had to use a standard ‘point-and-shoot’ camera.
Alcohol is Important
The majority of the liposomal vitamin C community is not aware that alcohol is very helpful in the creation of liposomes.
It is well established that organic solvents help phospholipids form liposomes. While there are many dangerous organic solvents, the one we’re interested in is ethyl alcohol. This is the same type of alcohol that is in your beer, wine and vodka. Its safety has been established over many years and includes long term testing by the author of this website!
LivOn Labs is the current market leader in liposomal vitamin C. Their recipe includes 12% alcohol by weight as a ‘natural preservative’, however, it turns out that this alcohol is also key to creating liposomes.
See the patent reference in the previous section for more detail.
Every recipe I’ve read on the Internet calls for dissolving a relatively small amount of vitamin C in water.
For example, the original ‘Brooks Bradley’ recipe calls for dissolving 1 level tablespoon (about 6 grams) of vitamin C in a total of 1.5 cups of water. However, vitamin C solubility is 330 g/L which means that 124 grams of vitamin C will dissolve into that same 1.5 cups of water.
By way of illustration, here is what the difference looks like. On the left is one level tablespoon of vitamin C (6 grams) and on the right is the total amount of vitamin C that will dissolve into that same 1.5 cups of water. There is twenty times more vitamin C on the right!
Lecithin Granule Amounts
Most Internet recipes call for a relatively small amount of lecithin.
It is important that you use lecithin granules as they have very little soy protein and are higher in the components that actually make liposomes such as phosphatidylcholine.
Where I live it is difficult to source high phosphatidylcholine (PC) lecithin. My current source is 20kg boxes of Solec P from the Solae Company (a subsidiary of Du Pont). It has a 22% phosphatidylcholine content and seems to work well in my recipe.
Generally you’ll want to use as many lecithin granules as possible as this provides the highest possible encapsulation of the vitamin C.
The limiting factor is that the resulting mixture needs to be liquid enough at around 32°C that the ultrasound machine is able to drive out the bubbles that are created by the blending process. Bubbles in the liquid absorb ultrasonic energy and significantly reduce the amount of ultrasonic energy that goes into making liposomes.
Dissolving Lecithin Granules
The lecithin granules take time in order to dissolve completely. Most Internet recipes call for soaking the lecithin granules in water overnight.
This idea is correct, however, by soaking in water you end up lowering the amount of vitamin C that will be encapsulated.
I recommend making the saturated solution of vitamin C, water and alcohol (as described in theProcess section) and then dissolve the lecithin granules in this. Doing so will maximize the amount of vitamin C that will be encapsulated.
I do the dissolving in a blender so that I can blend it five or six times over the course of 12 hours. Even if you don’t have an ultrasound machine this will significantly encapsulate the vitamin C as described inpatent US 20120171280A1 that was purchased by Livon Labs.
In my experimentation the optimal temperature for creating liposomes is less than 32°C. When you get above 35°C the liposomes start breaking down and lower your encapsulation percentage.
In my recipe I ultrasound above 32°C for the first round in order to drive out bubbles in the liquid. Removing these bubbled improves the ultrasonic energy that is used to create liposomes. After this first round I ultrasound below 32°C to optimize liposome creation.
According to my research a total irradiation time of around an hour is optimal, however, at least ten minutes after you’ve driven out the bubbles should be sufficient depending on the power of your ultrasound machine.