Dr Mercola has enjoyed a long reputation of developing a range of high quality supplements, and is generally well trusted. However, one product, his liposomal vitamin C, has had some criticism and confusion around it. After spending plenty of time looking at liposomal vitamin C and the issues revolving around Dr Mercola’s product, I’d like to shed some light on the issue of if Mercola’s liposomal vitamin C is fake, and if so, what alternatives are available.
Overview of liposomal vitamin C
Liposomal vitamin C differs from other vitamin C products because the vitamin C is encapsulated in a phospholipid layer. This helps to bypass the digestive system and deliver the vitamin C directly into the bloodstream by fusing with the cells of our digestive system, which are also made up of a phospholipid layer. There is some reserach showing that this can improve the delivery and increase absorption of many substances, including vitamin C. To understand how liposomal vitamin C differs from conventional vitamin C supplements you can read this comparison article, which discusses their various pros and cons.
Mercola liposomal vitamin C – fake?
If you are expecting the capsules from this product to contain liposomes of vitamin C, then yes, the product is fake, or at least, very misleading. Mercola’s product is called ‘liposomal vitamin C‘ and so it is only natural to expect vitamin C liposomes. However, despite a misleading name, Dr. Mercola has made no secret of the fact that his product doesn’t contain liposomes. In his long product description he says: “phospholipids in the capsule can form liposomes in the stomach“1. In other words, he is giving you all the ingredients to form a vitamin C liposome in your stomach, but not actually giving you vitamin C liposomes. Customer support at Mercola.com have even suggested to people that they should take their vitamin C with water to help support the production of liposomes in their gut2.
This process is relatively similar to how liposomes are created commercially,sup>3, but only slightly. It is more closely related to home-made liposome methods4 but the amount of liposomes that are actually made like this is very poor, and it isn’t a reliable way to produce liposomes. Some even claim that these home-made methods produce no liposomes. The point is, they are unreliable, and not stardardised.
There is no research to suggest that mixing these ingredients in the stomach would create any liposomes. If it does (which it may) you can be sure that it will not create many, and it is unreliable.
So Dr. Mercola’s liposomal vitamin C is really a vitamin C emulsion, not a liposomal product. This doesn’t mean it is useless – it is still a potent and easily absorbable vitamin C supplement. However, even if it does produce a small amount of liposomes, it won’t produce enough to achieve the high blood vitamin C concentrations that people expect from liposomal vitamin C.
Alternative liposomal vitamin C supplements
Vitamin C liposomes are quite a new and innovative product, so there are not too many manufacturers to choose from. Aside from Mercola, which isn’t really a liposomal product, there are 2 other brands that I am aware of:
Lipolife – Founded in 2009, Lipolife creates a range of liposomal products, including vitamin C. They manufacture their products in Europe. The quality, as far as you can tell without going to a lab, is good. Their liposomes are provided in a liquid form.
LiveOn Labs – A USA based company that was founded in 2002. LiveOn also produce a liquid liposomal vitamin C. Again, their product seems to be of a high quality. They trade in Europe under the Altrient brand.
There are no manufacturers that I know of that produce liposomal vitamin C in a capsule – perhaps this isn’t something that is easily done.
Dr. Mercola’s liposomal vitamin C does not contain any liposomes. Dr Mercola suggests that liposomes of vitamin C will form in the stomach when taken with water. Whilst this may be possible, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it would happen. If it were to happen, there would be very few liposomes formed, and it would not be the same as taking a real liposomal product. Mercola’s liposomal vitamin C is still a good source of vitamin C, but it will not give you the high spike of vitamin C that many people want from a liposomal product. This is a real shame, and casts a shadow on the Dr Mercola range, which is known for producing very high quality supplements.
If you are looking for a liposomal vitamin C, then there are still some options. Lipoife and LiveOn labs/ Altrient are both companies that specialise in producing liposomal products.
- Dr Mercola. Beware: Many Vitamin C Supplements Contain These 6 Red Flags. Learn Why Liposomal Vitamin C Is a Superior Form. Available: http://products.mercola.com/vitamin-c/vitamin-c-v1/. Last accessed 9/6/17.
- Unknown author. (2013). Dr Mercola Liposomal Vitamin C is fake. Available: http://www.curezone.org/forums/fm.asp?i=2072011#i. Last accessed 9/6/17.
- Unknown author. Liposome Preparation. Available: https://avantilipids.com/tech-support/liposome-preparation/. Last accessed 9/6/2017.
- Philip . (2017). Liposomal Vitamin C – Mixing Formula. Available: https://www.quantumbalancing.com/liposomalC.htm. Last accessed 9/6/17.