We are gradually dying of so many things there is limitless horizon for profit from our despair. While causes seem many, there is a primary underlying cause. A few species including man, became enzyme-deficient so their bodies can no longer create ascorbic from glucose. Ascorbic in sufficient dose-duration-context addresses nearly all of man's health issues. The illness-industries have "carefully looked away" for nearly a century. Put N=1 research into your own hands!

November 26, 2013

Vitamin C - Liposomal and More - A Casual Intro to a Critical Substance

They say you can't miss something you've never had. Turns out that is not true, at least for ascorbic generated by the human body. We all miss it profoundly, without knowing it. Every day of our less-robust, shorter-lived, injury-damaged and illness- and disease- prone lives.

The human body would be creating substantial amounts of ascorbic but for a species-wide gene mutation that prevents it. We used to. Nearly every other creature in existence does. Loosely, the science theory goes that way back in time, when humans were already humans but not yet the latest version we know and love, a retrovirus affected human bodies in precisely the right way to wipe out our ability to self-create one of the most profoundly powerful enzymes in our bodies, the one most responsible for "defense" (and many other things).

Conveniently, it's not that we die outright without it -- except for Scurvy, the "last-collapse" indicator of being without it, but that trivial amount can be gotten through food and generally is. It's just that we probably develop more slowly and less ideally (less intelligence), end sooner (less life span), and we certainly die more frequently and easily (-- and more en masse in epidemics) for lack of it.

Lack of decent quantity of ascorbic in the body is what makes us vulnerable, fragile little fleshpods.

Sufficient ascorbic is what prevents, let alone stalls or cures, nearly everything known to man:
  • Viral infections.
  • Bacterial infections.
  • Fungal infections.
  • Protozoan infections.
  • Parasitical infections.
  • Poisonous creature bites and stings.
  • Poisonous foods ingestion.
  • Toxic metals and halides ingestion.
  • Toxic drugs ingestion.
  • Radiation exposure.
  • Severe shock from assaults both physical and psychological.
  • And most of the endless "diseases of modern culture" we know today.
This is not just a "take your vitamins" or "oh just eat right and you don't need vitamins" substance. Ascorbic being classified as a vitamin early on (actually even before they had discovered it, they had decided that the thing-that-stopped-scurvy was a nutrient) rather than recognized for its profound body-wide importance and deserved "innate" role, is the worst thing that ever happened to our people.

Only a few very rare creatures don't create this internally anymore. The higher primate group that includes man; guinea pigs, a fruit bat, and a couple even more obscure birds. All those were believed to be living in tropical-ish, high-ascorbic-in-food-source areas when their ability to create it internally went away, which is apparently why they survived. Maybe not as ideally as possible, but at least they kept breathing and reproducing.

Ascorbic is better compared to a powerful hormone than the way we think of vitamins. A defensive, life-saving substance, responsible for everything from keeping us from getting a cold or disease to begin with, to healing us when bit by a snake or burned or beat up, to aging us far more gracefully, to protecting, rescuing, defending and regenerating many other critical substances in the body as well.

Ascorbic's handling of assaults to the human body come in three categories:
  • Those it is known to cure in sufficient dose-duration-context, because it was studied.
  • Those it is known to reverse or pause, in at least sufficient dose-duration-context for that much, because studying it for cure or in greater dose-duration-application hasn't yet been done.
  • Those it is not known to be helpful to, because nobody has actually studied it.
You notice I don't list an option for things it's been studied "with sufficient dose-duration-context" involved but which it does not help. That's because there isn't anything in that category yet. That's how bloody important this substance is.

Electron communication is life

C is what keeps the body from becoming a swamp of antisocial sluggish electrons, and keeps it in -- or restores it to -- a lively interactive community.  See Szent-Gyorgyi and the Dragon for some talk about the first and primary function of ascorbic in the body, which if you really wrap your brain around it (good luck with that), is mind-blowing. Is the key to life, literally.

S-G won a Nobel Prize for figuring that out about the body, and ascorbic turns out to be something that makes it happen. He won that prize nearly a century ago. People often say that science hasn't caught up with what we need for health, but really, it's just that most scientists, let alone media and lay people, have not caught up with science.

When ascorbic was discovered there were already existing mental-models (paradigms) about it in science, and initially it was very expensive, so experimenting at all, let alone in truly decent dosages, wasn't so easy. By the time a lab-made version was affordable for experimentation, not only were preconceived ideas in place (e.g. experiments used only enough to 'stop scurvy,' as opposed to using enough to cure much else), but competition from vaccination and treatment pharmaceuticals was already affecting "how" people went about research, when they were paid to do it at all, what could get published and where, and how much attention was paid to such published research even then.

For example, looking for a vaccination for Diptheria was a big focus back around that time. They had a hard time experimenting on animals for this because they couldn't give it to the animals. They could dose them with it but they'd just shake it off. Turns out, that's because the animals could all create ascorbic internally! When it turned out the guinea pig, like man, did not create ascorbic internally, finally animal experimentation on many things could be done, without that pesky natural powerhouse fighter-chemical interfering. That's when guinea pigs became the famous lab animal. They were far less ideal in other ways than rats and mice, but they shared that unique (if tragic) trait with humans of no longer being able to endogenously create ascorbic.

That could have been the clue that changed the world of human health. Alas, at that point, few people with power and money in that field wanted to find and declare ascorbic the answer to preventing let alone curing diptheria and more: they were looking for a 'drug' as a vaccine or treatment that could make money. That approach continued and cemented the approach to health as a profitable illness-treatment (rather than an affordable preventative effort) from then on, alas.

Ascorbic's Range and the Bowel-Tolerance Effect

So the first and important thing to understand is that the human body was originally designed to create ascorbic internally, which means the mass quantities of it that are 'normal' amounts we should be getting, wouldn't have gone through the bowel, the way it must now, if we ingest it instead.

The osmotic nature of ascorbic as a molecule means it pulls water through (into) your intestines/colon. There are other molecules with this nature, such as magnesium. This is why more than a fairly small amount (a few grams, depending on the state of your body) of ascorbic will give you a watery stool.

Regular diarrhea is not caused by this. That is caused, or so explained a medical friend of mine once, by the body considering its digestive contents toxic, and instead of dumping the fluid part of the broken-down food/liquids over to the renal system to be absorbed for its nutrients and the rest excreted, it instead dumps the entirety of what it's got into the bowel to flush at great speed to be excreted. In that case, liquid stool is a result of the body "protecting" itself from toxins -- in other words, flatly refusing to even try digesting that crap you ate. Which can be how it interprets everything, when you get certain infections in your digestive system for example, which when mixed up with even ordinary food or intestine contents leads to the body interpreting it as the same result.

"Osmotic" watery stool that is caused by ascorbic or magnesium for example, are actually a different cause, though a similar (not identical, if you're paying attention to the experience, actually) result. That is simply a matter of the molecules attracting water.  The body is not flushing it because "it was extra and not needed" or "bad" (a common misperception). The fluid in the intestines/colon happens simply because the body does not absorb it fast enough (well enough) from that location. The nature of the molecule pulls water through and into the intestines "as it sits there." The more of it there, and the longer it's there, the more fluid.

So it's a time and quantity issue. The speed of body-absorption versus the speed for its drawing in water.

This is the reason for what they call "bowel tolerance," meaning, "how much ascorbic you can take orally before it interferes with your bathroom habits."
  • That limit does not apply the same way to ascorbate taken intravenously. This is vented mostly through the renal system (kidneys and bladder).
  • That limit is larger if the ascorbic is a buffered ascorbate, which is absorbed more quickly, and due to competition with the osmotic effect that also means more completely.
  • If you take the ascorbic orally but in smaller doses (if you were to take ten [10] grams through the day in 10 doses of 1g, instead of in one dose of 10g), you will be able to absorb much more of it (often twice or more the amount) before any bowel effects.
So if you get a 'bowel flush' it isn't that your body didn't want it, it's just that our bodies weren't designed to get massive quantities of it through the digestive system. It doesn't handle it well there.

On the way between going in your mouth and out your bottom, whatever time the ascorbic has to absorb into you as it 'passes through' -- this includes going into some of your lymph fluids and blood stream, not just your intestines, because your intestines interface with those -- it will be used by the body to "deal with" whatever is present right-then, right-there.

For example, if you are fighting off the flu, it will get 'used up' at great speed even as it is going through you. By the time it hits your intestines there may be nothing left of it! In that case, you can take lots of ascorbic and get no bowel effect at all. The more your body is dealing with in the digestive/ blood/ lymph areas at that moment, the more you can take without any bowel result.

Klenner and Cathcart did a lot of study in this area, which now gives us some idea of how much dosage we're looking at a person needing depending on what they are faced with. See the post Ascorbic Bowel Tolerance and Absorption for more on that, or this summary image about Vitamin C tolerance.

So what then?

Once mankind started to figure out how profoundly powerful and important ascorbic was (although only a small number of people were listening, despite that much of this not only had research, but published and even peer reviewed research), and once we figured out that our bodies used to make it, and should make it, and need to make it, and that nearly every other creature in the world makes it; we were still stuck with the unfortunate present-day reality:

The amount of ascorbic we ought to be getting even on a good day, if our bodies created it (theories range from a minimum of about 3g a day, to probably more like a dozen, and that's for a 'good' day) -- never mind on a day filled with stress, environmental toxins, food toxins, exposure to contagious germs, possibly injuries etc. -- is nearly impossible to get into our body by putting it down our throat.

All eating the stuff really did was get a little bit into the body -- like 10%, maybe 20% buffered -- and the rest just pulled in enough water to make us have to stay near a toilet if we took much of it.

(As a comparative example, animal nutrition guidelines allot monkeys over 50 times the (comparative) ascorbic that the US RDA says humans need. Guinea Pigs, 40 to over 160 times more. Critics say this is because humans are the only one of those species that has to pay for health care. The more ascorbic we get regularly, likely the far less 'care' we would need.)

It was also not as effective. For example, one researcher (Klenner) with a daughter back in the days when smallpox-style disease was rampant, didn't want to stick a needle in his very little girl. He gave her 24 grams orally over the course of a day and it had no effect, or rather, if it had an effect it was merely in keeping the situation about like it had been a day before, rather than getting worse (which probably was really something, actually). Scared because this was virulent, fast and deadly, he gave her 1g of ascorbic -- just one single gram! -- as an injection intravenously. She immediately started improving, radically. IV dose is said to reach "the tissues" in a greater, and stronger-initial-spike than any amount you could take orally.

So, some of this is about the overall amount you can absorb, but some is also about the "wave" or "peak" amount you can absorb in a sudden "whack!" against the bad-stuff your body may be fighting.

So even if we could get a good dose down us orally, over the course of a day, it still might not be nearly as effective as even a fraction as much if absorbed more-suddenly and a bit more closely to how the body was designed to get it (internally) in the first place.

Intravenous C

You can supply ascorbate intravenously. It does not fully absorb that way either, there is a good loss through the renal system, but vastly more of it absorbs than taking it orally. Plus, through an IV, it can be both a constant dosage, and a very high-peak dosage as well.

When researchers and hands-on doctors worked with ascorbic via IV, with sufficient dosage-duration-context, the results on health went into miraculous, actually curing or at least stalling nearly everything which is allegedly incurable. But those things generally didn't and wouldn't happen without IV high dosage of C.

"Miraculous" is probably an inappropriate word to use for ascorbic results because most the conditions they were treating with it would never have developed in the first place if the body were creating it internally. It is the primary thing the body uses for defense from every kind of threat. So it is no surprise that if we actually get enough of the stuff, for long enough, and in the right context, that the body "responds well" and curatively to it. We were made for it, or it for us.

By context I mean that sometimes, by the time we're taking it for virulent illness or injury, other substances -- yes, even medicines -- are best combined with it, because it's often a lot more work to defeat something which has already nearly killed you, than to defeat it before it has a foothold.

Also by context I mean that at very high quantities, like anything else you ingest in major dose, the more you take of one thing "comparative" to everything else, sometimes the more other-issues you can cause just by that imbalance. In the case of C, it needs fluids and minerals added to the body in particular, as both will be vented by lots of it, so you need to add those to your body along with the C if you are using high dosages. But ideally, the body would get the full spectrum of nutrition -- other vitamins, minerals, aminos, lipids -- as support.

So the body responds well and with healing-reflex to ascorbic in sufficient dosage and duration and context because it's the substance the body was designed to use for exactly these purposes. That isn't so much miraculous as just a no-brainer "of course."

But you can't go to the drugstore and buy a dose of ascorbate in saline complete with needle and dose yourself. It's difficult to come by, so for IV-based ascorbate treatment, one has to visit a doctor.

Doctors who use vitamins, minerals, aminos and herbs for treatment instead of or in addition to pharmaceutical drugs, are said to be using "orthomolecular" treatment.

Allopathic (standard) doctors will generally not only not use simple, nontoxic things like vitamins as treatment, but they will often fight against even allowing it, even when the person is already proclaimed dying-any-time-now so there's nothing to lose, like in this example, which is only one of many.

So if you needed ascorbic, you could use an IV for high dosage. It first means "find a rare kind of doctor who is willing to use natural substances, like the kind your body should be producing itself." They may not be near you. Even if their office is in town, "visit a doctor" may still limit the dosage to a few times a week. That is better, but still not ideal at all, and most people can't find one period, or not without a lot of expensive and inconvenient travel. And then the treatment itself costs a small fortune. So, maybe possible for rich people but not too practical for anybody else.

What most people in serious situations really need is something in their home that could dose them ongoing and in occasional peaks, much like the body itself should be doing. And of course, this is not just a matter of "dose and duration," but context, as mentioned -- there may be other substances (whether natural or pharmaceutical) which at certain points of degenerated-crisis, may be needed for the power to truly deal with things fast enough to save someone, or to compensate for the sudden ongoing ascorbic dose needed.

C's combination with other medicines including chemo stuff is actually amazing -- protecting the body from damage while making the medicine even more powerful.

Getting "Enough" Ascorbic

"Some" good is not "enough" good when you're dealing with hepatitis, viral pneumonia, severe burns, rheumatoid arthritis and more -- the onslaught is so huge in that case, the body needs a decent enough dose to deal with it.

This isn't unusual. When we take antibiotics, do we take 1/4 of a pill once? No, we take pills every four hours for a week or three. Sometimes, if that doesn't work, a stronger variety for just as long or longer. The concept of "dosage and duration" is understood plainly in medicine. This is no different when the 'medicine' is ascorbic.

When your body is fighting something powerful and pervasive, the dosage of whatever you're taking to fight it, needs to be matched to what it is fighting.  Kind of obvious, right.

In the case of ascorbic, it not only kills bad-things like many drugs can, but it also helps clean up the other bad things that are side-effects -- from other molecules created by the fight which may be dangerous, to what amounts to the little corpses of gazillion of now-dead bad-thing-cells and more. Plus some C is being used to help regenerate glutathione (the most powerful fighter in the body), and other hormones and vitamins (which are also doing both fight and repair in their own areas when you are ill or hurt) and it does lots of other power-building good things all over your body.

Drugs that we are given for illness don't do all that stuff. They may kill the bad guys, but they leave a disaster area inside that can be worse than the situation you started with. It's like fighting off a band of criminals in a neighborhood by having a tornado wipe out the city. Did it kill the criminals? Um, yeah. And a whole lot more destruction and mess besides. It didn't help anything else, it just killed the bad guys and made a mess. Drugs are toxic solutions. Sometimes the situation's so bad that is needed, of course. Drugs aren't necessarily bad, they have their place. But ascorbic is more like the strength and sunlight solution: it is toxic to bad guys, gives resources to good guys, and improves the entire environment and helps most everyone else while it's at it.

So ascorbic gets used up a lot when you are really sick, because it does a lot. That means that a decent amount of it is actually being channeled offside to do other things -- more than merely fight the main issue. So you're going to need a lot of it if you're really sick or hurt, enough that it can cover all the things it does, and still have enough left to fight the primary issues(s).

"Liposomal" delivery of substances

Years ago a novel form of "delivery method" for pharmaceutical drugs came around. By "delivery method" I mean some way of getting it into the body that works better than whatever was already being done. It's a problem that once things go through the digestive system, when you swallow a pill, often only a tiny percentage of them ever ends up anywhere but in the intestines, and even then that small percentage that got to the bloodstream may not end up right in the tissues where you need it.

This new option had technically been around since the dawn of time, since phospholipids are part of nature, but nobody thought of it like this, and we didn't have the technology to process it -- from getting the lipids in bulk to making their resultant format "very tiny" -- the way we do now.

Phospholipids are cool. As a lipid it's a type of fat. Lecithin, which is one example of a phospholipid, has a list of research-documented health benefits that just goes on and on. The cells look like long-sperms with slightly fat heads and somewhat firmer tails. They are present in pretty much every cell of the body. In the way that amino acids are "building blocks" of muscles, lipids are "building blocks" of cell membranes, nerve sheaths, veins and brains and glands and everything else (particularly things 'soft'. Bones are built with minerals more than fats; brains/nerves are built with lipids more than minerals). Even little components inside some cell types are phospholipids. They are everywhere, and lipids are one of the most primary needs the body has as a nutrient, to constantly rebuild itself.

The way these cells operate is interesting. If the temperature is above freezing but below ~110F, they "put their heads together." They arrange themselves like two long shoulder-to-shoulder lines, each line of heads facing together, tails sticking out behind. It looks like a zipper.

If the temp is above ~110F, they put their tails together instead. This can take a few forms but often looks like a starburst: all the tail points together in the center, all the heads like orbs around the outside of the circle. This circle is not 2-D though, it's 3-D, so it's literally a "sphere." Sometimes there are spheres within spheres! Or spheres that are not round but slightly different shapes.

There are some nifty youtube videos with graphic demonstrations of lipospheres.

If the lipids are in a liquid (let us say water) when they form the sphere, the sphere is filled with the liquid. The cells are basically changing their formation from 'double line' to 'sphere' under-water, so that makes sense, whatever is already there is just going to get captured inside along the way.

In the case of medicine, the liquid is the medicine, or it's dissolved in a liquid. So the spheres actually "encapsulate" that medicine. It's like a bunch of little fat-balls now, filled with the medicine.

Pharmaceutical drugs are even more complex. There are molecules that your body, your bloodstream, recognizes the shape of as belonging to one very specific place in the body. Let us say the amygdala gland in your brain. They can actually 'attach' a 'seeker-molecule' to the outside of those spheres, so that when they get into the bloodstream, the body sends them right to where we want them to go.

So when a sphere of phospholipids arrive in tissue, the body instantly starts breaking down that structure in order to use its "blocks" to build with in local tissue.

When this happens, it takes apart the sphere -- and whatever content it had inside it then dumps out into the tissues. So if you had a drug that needed to go to the amygdala region of the brain, encapsulating it inside a 'lipo-sphere' and attaching an amygdala 'seeker molecule' would get the sphere -- and its contents -- to exactly where you want it. Amazing!

There is one little detail along the way (at least) though. That is: the liver handles lipids. Usually when you ingest lipids, the liver breaks them down into little tiny pieces, little blocks, and then it sends out those individual or at least very small collections of 'lipid building blocks' around the body.

This would never work for the above scenario: it wouldn't help to have a seeker molecule then. And whatever was in the liposphere would just get dumped out around the liver, instead. If you're dealing with hepatitis, great, but if you really need to get something to the amygdala, not so great.

But it turns out the liver only does this with particles over about 200 nanometers (200nm) in size. If it's that size or smaller, the liver considers it small enough that instead of "unboxing and repackaging" to send out, it just forwards the box as-is, so to speak. This puts the sphere (with or without its seeker molecule, it does not have to have one, it just can) into the bloodstream, and then the rest can occur.

So liposomal encapsulation had a few steps those making a medicine with it had to take:
  • They had to get some phospholipids into a pure, usable form. The kind of phospholipids chosen would depend on the result they wanted. Cholesterol would be 'firmer' than choline, for example.
  • They had to get the medicine into a liquid form or dissolved in liquid.
  • They had to arrange it so the phospholipids would "encapsulate" the liquid they were mixed up with. Now, this happens naturally by mixing if the temp changes from warm to cool (if lipids 'open' when mixed with the liquid, then 'close' while in the liquid). But it's a much higher percentage of 'encapsulation' to use better tech, like a high-powered blending format, such as high-speed paint-gun-style slamming of it against a metal plate.
  • Then, those "spheres" needed to be a small enough size the liver would pass them through.
  • Then they had to get the 'seeker molecule' ready...
  • Then they had to attach the molecules to the lipospheres;
  • Then they had to package that in some format that would survive to get into a human.
So... it was work. And some substances are just never going to be small enough to encapsulate and still get it to under ~200nm size. That's why not everything uses this approach yet. But more and more pharmaceutical companies are beginning to do so, where possible.

Liposomal "delivery system" for Vitamin C

Several years ago, this fellow who'd been in the pharmaceutical research industry for eons, Dr. Brooks Bradley, had retired from his corporate job (he was a regional research manager at Eli Lilly corp for decades), and among other things was doing "experimental" work, mostly for fun/interest with associates.

He was the sort who knew the dark side of the industry, and actually cared about helping people. He's a great guy to read -- the sort that makes you want to have him talk about his amazing depth of life experience all day. Very smart, very polite, with understated humor in a way that is charming and drolly hilarious.

He was on an internet email list that related to colloidal silver, but when someone asked about a given condition, he would talk about a variety of things in his experience, which related to simple natural things people could try out just to see if it helped, or he'd talk about some of the things his team was working on that he found really interesting.

Meanwhile, some time previously, a guy named Dr. Thomas Levy, who had been involved with Vitamin C stuff for decades (he has a great book called "Curing the Incurable" about C), had joined a company (LivOn Labs) and they had managed to figure out how to use this "liposomal delivery" approach for ascorbic. Vitamin C had been Levy's big focus for a long time.

This was groundbreaking stuff for "orthomolecular" healthcare, because ascorbic has a century of research with mindblowing results in nearly every area (when used with 'proper dose, duration, and context' of course), but the big problem, as we've already covered, was getting enough of it down your throat (and not vented out the other end) to actually do you enough good.

If you could make ascorbic liposomal, most of it would not be going through the digestive tract: the liver would see it as a lipid and send it out to the tissues in the bloodstream. So right off, the whole bowel-tolerance limit was at least minimized if not mitigated; people could take a lot more. Whatever amount you took was "worth much more" to your body, than taking it in ordinary capsules for example.

Also, due to the way liposomes release their innards into tissues, you'd be getting ascorbic right into tissues -- right where you want it. Not just floating about the blood stream such as intravenous C does, which is very useful and is used, but it does still vent a lot out the kidneys. The blood can be one level of C while tissues are literally killing you from mass depletion: blood and tissue levels of C are not entirely reflective of each other. Liposomal encapsulation getting it to actual body-tissues would help the ascorbic "ingested" operate a lot more like ascorbic which had been internally created.

As if all that wasn't enough, a person could take it at home. They wouldn't need to have lots of money for arranging an IV of it. People could dose themselves with whatever they needed all on their own.

This was huge! Best. Thing. Ever!

Finally, a way to get it into our bodies so it was fully used, and into the hands of people to use themselves.

So, one day Dr. Bradley was talking about how his experimental team had been working to replicate what Dr. Levy's team had done, to make ascorbic into a liposomal formulation. They were using it and having great results, and he waxed poetic about how awesome it all was.

Making "Liposomal Vitamin C" at home: how it came about.

It was all very nice that liposomal C now existed, thanks to LivOn labs (and others, later). But it cost $1/1g for the stuff. If you wanted to take even 20g a day let alone a lot more for even a couple months, you'd best be independently wealthy. Once again, hope was restricted mostly to the rich.

I am not against companies making profit off the hard work they put into research and design and filling a need in the market. I liked Levy's book, and I respect his work in the field. That is the reasonable price for retail if the market is supporting it. I am grateful that they worked it out to begin with: merely "giving the world the idea" is awesome.

But still, there's a whole lot of people who said, "Isn't it sad that I can't begin to afford the stuff in enough volume to even seriously try it out."

It was almost a miracle that finally the natural-chemical our own body should make was available in a format allowing us to get it back into us in sufficient dosage to help with everything -- but the new 'delivery method' was just as inaccessible for most people as the old one. So close... but so far away. Most people still just couldn't get there from here.

So Dr. Bradley's group was looking for a way that a person could make it at home. Maybe it would require some technology or up front expense, possibly. But, maybe that would turn out to be far less than $1/g to buy it commercially, for those who needed a lot. So it was worth investigating.

Working out details

To begin with, a different kind of phospholipids would be needed; the lab he'd been replicating the work of had a proprietary thing. As it turns out, lecithin is a phospholipid used as a supplement (which contains a lot of phosphatidylcholine, what they'd been using), and due to market demand there is even sunflower non-gmo lecithin (not just soy) as source. You could just buy the stuff on amazon or something -- great!

Is it as ideal as the highly-developed proprietary version that LivOn Labs has? Naw, theirs is very specialized. Although that's not to say that the other parts of the lecithin might not have their own supplement value, separately from the ascorbic element -- a consideration that "Do-It-Yourself" (DIY) liposomal C has. Lecithin may be used as the 'carrier' but it's a worthy substance on its own merits. But would it work? Yes.

Ok, could we get ascorbic into a form that the phospholipids would "encapsulate?"  Sure, it dissolves in water. They will encapsulate water. And you could buy vitamin C powder, ascorbic acid, easily -- not only as a supplement but even in bulk. People use it to clean pools!

Can we make it so this encapsulation happens at home? Well, phospholipids tend to do this naturally anyway. Nature does it. If you want a tech solution you could try the way of the science they were initially replicating, which is sheer brute force, through the high-impact shooting style. Based on this as the source, the initial idea was that making it at home, possibly using a robust blender for a long time, would try to emulate a lesser degree of that impact force that made the encapsulation happen.

That was the initial idea, but at this point there is another, different approach (which I use) which does 30 seconds of high-speed (bullet-style) blending, twice (once before soaking and once before sonicating), but otherwise is more about "temperature control" than the blend-impact. With the correct temperatures, the lecithin lipids "open up" naturally in the warmth, and then "close up" naturally in the cool, to 'encapsulate its liquid medium' -- the dissolved ascorbic.

Is it as ideal as the high-tech version LivOn Labs has?  Naw, it would likely encapsulate less. What about the temperature version? Naw, that might encapsulate even less for all I know. And both probably result in much larger spheres, too, though we can hope the sonication will reduce them. But would it work to 'encapsulate' even some of it? Yes.

OK so lastly, how would someone at home get the "lipo-spheres" small enough that the liver would pass them through, kick most of them out to the blood stream without unpackaging them? There are a few technologies to do this; one is an ultrasonic probe, which is more expensive but probably more effective, but the other is an ultrasonic "bath" it's called -- basically a machine with a square metal bowl that you put fluid into, which vibrates at "ultrasonic speeds" and creates standing wave forms in the liquid.

This was a great option because these are available in the consumer market. People use them for cleaning jewelry and auto parts. So you could go buy one that held 2 cups for $40, or one that held 2+ litres for $80 for example -- definitely affordable for the person at home. (If you want to buy this stuff see my Lipo-C: Materials and Equipment Overview post.)

OK, so what if a chunk of it wasn't encapsulated? And what if a chunk of what was encapsulated, was too large to get 'by' the liver without disassembly? Well... so what? Wouldn't hurt you. And since the liver is what is fighting off all the bad things in the body, giving strength and materials and healing to that organ is a good idea if your body needs help.

Maybe even having the blended sonicated formula as "an emulsified, homogenized" liquid might cause it to be absorbed by the body differently -- it might draw less water into the bowel, as it might get more into the bloodstream or the lymph via the peyer's patches. This is not something that any existing science is present on, in order to know for sure what happens, and under what conditions. It's still new. If it turns out it works that way -- absorbed better due to homogenization with fats, not due to liposomal encapsulation -- that will still be very valuable.

What did seem likely is that at least some of it would be encapsulated, which would not go through the bowels for the most part. Even if the liver broke it down, most of our livers can probably use good ingredients on hand. Better my liver gets it than my toilet.

And at least some of it would likely be small enough lipospheres to get sent out to tissues. Mind you, we can't say "what" tissues specifically, since this is not seeker-molecule technology. But it seems fair to guess that if the body is fighting off an infection in the lungs, which means massive macrophages and new cells needing to be dealt with there, the liver's eventually going to start sending some of it to the front lines where that super-rapid cell turnover is going on.

So nobody knew for sure how much would encapsulate -- some for sure, but not all, that was sure too. Or how well the sonicator would reduce the size of what encapsulation there was -- some for sure, but not all, that was sure too. Or how having the ascorbic emulsified with lecithin might in any way change how the body absorbs it, in quantity or detail, who the heck knows. Nobody knows, I think.

But most people knew it was well worth a try!

Anything that increases the ascorbic quantity absorbed by the body, for any reason, to any degree, is worthy and good.

The fact that making it cost about 15-30% of what it cost to buy it, depending on the ingredients you choose, is awesome.

Sure, it's not as ideal a formula. Less encapsulated, less tiny-spheres. But it's still good.

Meanwhile, Bradley's team did some tests, they worked out approximate amounts of ingredients, then they had an associate lab freeze and slice open the liposomes and look at them to verify that yes, there was indeed encapsulation of the ascorbic (over 50%, as much as around 79% or so), and yes, at least some of the liposomes were small enough to get a free-pass through the liver.

Lipo-C: The Politics

So Levy was helpful when Bradley was replicating his stuff. He might have been a little put out by the fact that his company's primary money-making product then promptly had its internet market given a "make this at home much cheaper" DIY formula. This made a surprising number of people less willing to spend a dollar a gram on the commercial stuff. (Go figure.) The how-to spread over the internet like fire.

To be fair though, this is important: the DIY version is not nearly as dependably liposomal, or as dependably tiny-liposomal, as the commercially produced substance. If your life's on the line and you can afford it, get the commercial stuff! If you're doing research on 'liposomal C' - get the commercial stuff! Levy is also in a position where he doesn't want to see a less-effective substance used to invalidate or unfairly represent a quality liposomal C. Given that ascorbic has a long history of pharma competitors doing disingenuous  research trying to discredit C, it's important not to provide any additional help for that. So in this regard, he did have some good argument with people comparing the DIY version, which is mostly "emulsified and homogenized," to a full-blown commercial liposomal version like his company sells.

There was a "process" that Bradley had initially posted as a brief email on the internet. The "first DIY email" basically. This was followed (around the internet, actually) by a lot of back & forth and experimenting and tweaking it as-needed. Bradley encouraged this, telling people to "experiment around the edges" of it because "it isn't rocket science."

Some of the changes that many people made, were to shift from trying to blend-the-crap-out-of-it ('impact-encapsulation' I call it) to combine it, instead into the just-blend-a-bit-and-manage-the-temperature-of-it instead ('thermal-encapsulation' I call it).

Also, to often sonicate it for a great deal longer, but with lots of cool time between, to ensure the temperature (which naturally rises during sonication) didn't accidentally open the lipids again.

Bradley had later suggested a rough & dirty DIY way to 'measure' how much of the ascorbic was 'free' in the fluid result of your formula. Ascorbic acid will react with a bicarbonate, such as baking soda. So in theory you could test this and see "how much it reacted" and get some clue for that. (That is to say: any AA 'not' encapsulated would react. The stuff locked in fat-balls would not. So the greater reaction, the lesser the encapsulation.)

Then it was pointed out that while this was true, there are other things that can affect the reaction, including how rapidly the bicarbonate is added, how vigorously it's stirred together, and so on... and he had given some general direction on this, but of course you can't control let alone with precision what everyone else does. So it was not really too great a measure. He could tell you what the results meant when he did it, but he couldn't control the differences in how you might do it, so it was an iffy result.

Bradley apologized for the 'test' idea not being ideal. He suggested people just keep experimenting, because his own group's results with the at-home formula were totally worth it.

The Debate

Levy posted publicly that he had taken the initial email ("official formula" I guess) of Bradley's process and hired a third-party lab to do a review of this protocol to see their opinion on what percentage of encapsulation it ended up with.

Now, it's a given that Levy didn't exactly have an unbiased interest, given this DIY process was the primary competitor to his expensive product now. Then again, he didn't need to be unbiased, in a way; he hired a third-party lab to do it. That's why.

And I suppose it's fair to consider that he'd worked hard to come up with a way to do this and do it really well, and Bradley's way was at best a sort of "rough&dirty maybe" that depending on details could vary with every person, and so may work, or not, or not very well, depending on many factors.

Let's talk about the lipo-C home-made approach a little.

There are variables. There may be some instances in which a given approach that works for one person and is described "briefly in an email" would not work for someone else following it faithfully. That's probably one reason why in various emails over time, Bradley encouraged people experimenting with it on their own once they had the basic points down. Let me give some examples.

1. The initial approach was trying to replicate the impact-slam of the ingredients together which LivOn Labs had been using for their approach. This might work at home... er... maybe. But if your blender wasn't fast-tough enough, it might not.

(Of course, if you warmed it up from all the blending or sonicating and then it cooled, at least some would encapsulate anyway, just due to how phospholipids work.)

Nobody knows that detail except you, once you try it, and if that doesn't work*, then you experiment to find what does... as suggested.

2. Let us say your blender is more than powerful enough to slam all that stuff together at high speed and at length so that some decent chunk of it gets encapsulated 'by force'. If your blender gets warm with usage, then depending on your timing and the detail, you could encapsulate it, only to warm up the lipids, cause them to open again, and have them dump out whatever you'd just encapsulated. It would depend on your timing.

Of course, then later when the mix cooled, some would encapsulate, just maybe not as much.

You don't know until you try it, and if it doesn't work*, you experiment... as suggested.

3. Let us say that you use the temperature approach instead. I think this is far more likely to have good results in home-DIY formulas (but what the hell do I know -- I have no electron microscope! -- could be totally wrong), but that came about through discussion after Bradley's original formula, so was not what was tested anyway. But if I were using that approach, OR had the situation of #1 above, and if my lecithin started at less than 100 degrees F and never went above that for any of the process, that would fail. The spheres would already be closed before I even combined the lecithin with the ascorbic, and they would have no reason to open if the temp stayed low, so I wouldn't see encapsulation. This would be almost hard to do, but possible, and is about the only way to avoid getting at least some encapsulation even by accident.

Again: You don't know until you try it, and if it doesn't work*, you experiment... as suggested.

* How would you know if it didn't work??

Well, pretty easily actually:

1. The formula separates -- and promptly. A good formula has lasted in my cold fridge for three weeks with no separation. A really bad one is showing you layers by the next morning.

2. The formula tastes massively, kick-your-ass sour. Like you can barely drink it. A good formula tastes utterly vile from the lecithin of course, but that is bland like "Hi, I'm the digestive fluid of a lumbermill insect" sort of OMG-vile-bland, and then you have a sour 'kick' afterward. There is no way to mistake "no encapsulation" with "75% encapsulation" if your taste buds work at all.

(Note: AA rises when the formula is let sit. So the unencapsulated % will be tasted far more strongly at the top of a glass/bottle of formula that's been sitting for a bit, than in the middle. There WILL be some unencapsulated AA. It will be sour. This is a matter of "degree.")

3. Your "bowel tolerance" fails. A good formula (approx. 1.5 cups water quantity plus ingredients of 15g (3 Tbsp) Lecithin and 15g (1 Tbsp) ascorbic acid), if you take about 1/3 of it as a dose and 75% of it's encapsulated, you're going to get 3.75 grams encapsulated C and 1.25 not-encapsulated C. Most people who bother with Lipo-C have already been taking plain or buffered C and they know their general body limit of single-dose result (when not ill/injured). If you can take 1.25 grams of ascorbic acid and not have bowel-flush response, but taking 5 grams does give you response, then half a cup of your formula will make very clear how much of it hit your intestines rather than anywhere-else.*

* Note: it's possible some of it absorbs 'better' via the emulsion, regardless of encapsulation. But if this is so, I think we should be pretty happy about that, too. The primary goal is not encapsulation. The primary need is getting it into our body without it just venting out. Encapsulation only became a secondary goal as a way of meeting the primary need.

But even done poorly, the process would still probably encapsulate at least some material -- just perhaps not a ton of it. Because as noted, phospholipids do this, they encapsulate things -- naturally. You don't have to do anything technical for that.

You could have your neighbor's little kid dump a cup of liquid phospholipids into a parking lot puddle on a warm day, come back during the cool night and scoop some out, and some of it would be encapsulated. Those funky lipids just work like that... nature designed them that way. So as Bradley commented, it isn't rocket science. Just experiment until your approach, your details, work out.

Meanwhile, "stuff happened" after his initial sharing of the DIY idea of course. But the test was done on his initial formula post.

The Results

Levy announced that the third party had found: zero percent encapsulation.

I was actually still and silent when I first read that, in confusion. I had expected them to say, "Well the encapsulation percentage is like 30-50% lower and much of the spheres are too big to bypass the liver anyway and by the way Bradley's mamma wears Army boots."

I mean, it's a good guess from afar that this is what Levy was probably hoping they'd say.

"Nothing to see here folks, never mind! -- So... that will be one dollar a gram. We sell online!"

But zero percent? ZERO? Really?!

Now, as mentioned, phospholipids function like they do regardless of whether the person filling out that process might even be clueless, and regardless of what kind of blender they have, and regardless of what type of lecithin they use, and so on for nearly every detail. Even if you screwed up every step of the process, merely the lecithin "getting very warm from the blending or sonicating and then cooling again" would encapsulate at least SOME of the liquid medium, unless you were doing this in the cold room-temperature environment of a meat locker.

In fact, it would be difficult to explain how it wouldn't. This would be really hard to accomplish even on purpose. What magic would suddenly change the nature of phospholipids?

You won't be surprised to know that much of the internet responded with something like: "Levy just wanted that to be the answer."

One minute he's a hero and the next minute, he was considered speaker for a mercenary corporation that just wanted to make tons of money off the sickest people and wanted to quash any chance people might have of making it themselves. But it doesn't seem fair to make him a villain overnight just because he hired someone to test an internet email approach and they didn't get the results everyone would have liked.

Sure, he probably did expect -- given it was a different approach than he'd worked out -- and hope -- given it was his company's income at stake -- that the results wouldn't be ideal for the DIY result. But that doesn't mean the answer given wasn't really the answer. I trust that if he hired a third party lab to test it, that the results they got are as reported.

But the results were so extreme -- zero? Really?! -- that it made me completely distrust the protocol. Had they just been poor results I would probably have believed it without even questioning it. But results of ZERO encapsulation, when working with something like lecithin that encapsulates stuff as a simple matter of its very nature, made me believe something "disingenuous" was up.

I thought about what could be done to bring about this zero-percent-encapsulation as a legitimate outcome on purpose. Because it would almost have to be on purpose -- even using the protocol Bradley started with, it'd be hard as hell to get ZERO percent encapsulation by accident.

If you're standing in a verrrrry cold kitchen through it all, and the blender is cold and doesn't warm up and sonication is very brief so doesn't warm up (the original formula had times very brief, certainly less than I use now, and didn't specify temperature) -- if all those temperature elements were in place -- that could make those results happen.

But these are experts in a science lab doing the testing, mind you. So they know what factors will affect all this. If they "just happened" to work it out like that, well, the lab techs would know the predictable result before they even began, in that case.

As Bradley's post said nothing about temp, that could (hypothetically) have been done and still have "followed his process." And, you can choose what and how you measure when it comes to the lipospheres, of course; I have no idea what creative potentials might be there.

You could do these things to "passively arrange" for the results desired and still be totally above-board honest with "we followed his protocol and we got this result." So they could be totally telling the truth, but still be totally distrusted by people like me.

And I didn't notice Levy giving any details; he's the expert so if it didn't work "because of X" or "would work better with Y" he'd be a good guy to volunteer that, except that he likely doesn't want to volunteer it since he is selling competition.

Note that this formula works -- for one reason or another -- just fine. Before we get lost in armchair debate about this, I have to point out that it had already at that point been working quite well for many people. 

So a lot of people had good reason to think there was something questionable about the 'review' protocol integrity or report on it, because they'd already been making the stuff themselves, and it clearly had a very different effect than ordinary oral C had on them. Plus as noted you can actually tell when encapsulation is low in a formula -- it separates usually, it tastes overwhelmingly sour, and has vastly less bowel-tolerance.

Some people on the internet, with or without hands-on experience for cause, immediately took up the side of the Most Official Authority (the internet is such a fishbowl for watching peoples' psychology!), and ranted that Dr. Bradley had not, actually, published a detailed protocol in a peer-reviewed journal, and hence his approach and formula were "not scientific." Oh brother. The man is credentialed enough for any three people, so any accusations about his character really need to step back. As for the rest of that:

Others responded:

1. So? Since when does it require peer reviewed science for a person to use a blender to try something out and see if it works? "Sorry you have injury/illness/disease-X and really need lots of ascorbic. How about you just wait 40 years and see if the big money corps ever feel like funding and publishing something that validates this ok? Oh, you'll be dead by then? Too bad!" Anybody who actually needs health help is so weary of that sneering, arrogant response from people who want corporate-owned-science to control our world, it's just sickening at this point. I'm a science freak myself, even as a layman, but don't give me any guff about how something must have peer-reviewed publication before taking it seriously. That has become little more than a profit-filter on anything that isn't making health worse and corporations richer.

2. I didn't see any detailed protocol white paper of that "third party test" Levy arranged, either. So if we're talking about non-publication of details, Levy's claim from his hired lab is just as murky as anybody else's.

3. If the process as sketchily-outlined in email has a number of variables, which in some cases mean it won't work well for everyone, well it must be noted that Bradley did suggest that everyone experiment 'around the edges' of the basics to see what worked for them. He wasn't providing a 12 page white-paper of pedantic detail, he was just writing a simple email. A short one, even. That has limits, obviously!

But its main benefit was ordinary people could read it, understand it, and try it out. Add in a little bit of "and then fuss with it until it works for you" and it's all good. Giving the guy grief for sharing his ideas and test results free brings to mind that "No good deed goes unpunished" quip.

4. One dollar per gram. Did I mention the commercial stuff costs a dollar a gram? And comes in tiny gram-sized packets, some of the content you likely lose to the packaging, and has a lot of alcohol in it. A home blend, even if it were merely a fraction the liposomal result, even if it were nothing more than an emulsification that simply absorbed better as a lipid (like through the peyer's patches in the intestines) than the straight ascorbic or ascorbate -- well, the DIY version still lets you make a truckload of the stuff and drink it in bulk -- affordably. It's still not the cheapest supplement, but it's by far the worthiest.

And sure, I want to know why and how it works and lots of other armchair details. Who doesn't?

But FIRST, I just want to try it. Hands on. Do-it-yourself.

So I did. And wow! The results were great! Many positive results on me, from physical to psychological. And I didn't even have any kind of pressing illness.

Testing The Results

I mentioned above three main ways that you can tell how good your formula turned out. But the debate noted above makes clear that there probably ought to be a way, even if it is "not very exact," that people at home can test for "the amount of ascorbic left un-encapsulated."

I mentioned already the baking soda test that later was decided to be an unreliable way to rate your encapsulation percentage. It does give you 'feedback.' It's just that it isn't an absolute measure. But for example, say you had four different batches of the formula. If you did the test precisely the same for all four of them, differences in the test results would at least show you comparatively how much something was encapsulated or not, one batch compared to another.

From a distance via email, nobody can guess what the variables are for you personally. When something as trivial as how fast you dump in the baking soda, or how vigorously you stir it, can make a difference to the result, there's no way that it can be the same for everyone. So it's not reliable in terms of saying, "here is the % of encapsulation that X result means for you."

But one could make up formulations that vary the ascorbic and then test for a baseline.

Anything that "reflects" the ascorbic "quantity" in any fashion is a way to test the encapsulation ratio. Even though in most of these cases, you have to test it "compared to" something you know (like plain ascorbic-water or plain water) and compare. It wouldn't give you an absolute number, in other words; it would only give you a relative number compared to something else. Less ideal, but that works too.

Homemade Liposomal Vitamin C - Today

The debate is still in the air.

Dr. Levy stands by his claim about the third-party results implying that DIY Lipo-C is "zero percent encapsulation." But he's one of the good guys, despite that he is leading a company for which profit is involved in this.

I am actually guessing that Levy could add a great deal of insight to a home-brew DIY approach, tips to make it more effective -- albeit much less ideal than his own of course -- since although the process his corp has worked out is proprietary and uses ingredients and tech we can't, he's also surely expert at the subject; he was after all the guy who essentially brought lipo-C into being in the first place, right!

He is probably unlikely to be volunteering them, given it competes with his company's primary product. Ah well. I might add that legally if that corp has a board of directors he could be both fired and sued for telling people on the internet how to hack a cheaper version of his product. Some people there put a lot of money into the effort to arrange Liposomal C as a process and product. So don't blame him for his situation.

Dr. Bradley did say that his own third-party lab-review results showed DIY Lipo-C had at least >50% encapsulation. Bradley's one of the good guys too, and very credentialed and experienced. It is irrelevant that his means of sharing the idea happened to be via internet. (Critics of any idea found on the internet usually make it sound like "info on the internet" is as suspicious as Bridge real estate, and sure it can be -- but experts {and Bradley is one} and even Pubmed are on the internet too, you know.)

The people making DIY Lipo-C claim results worth having. This is reasonable, since if they weren't getting those, why even bother going to all that trouble and its more-expense? One might as well just take pills if it isn't any better. There are a few that don't, as well. Who knows what factors may be part of that. Probably every person just needs to try it for themselves and see.

Some don't do well with soy lecithin but like the sunflower lecithin. Some hate the process of working with the liquid lecithin (instead of pre-soaking powdered granules) and some it's the opposite. Some use modified paint-guns for high-velocity impact-encapsulation, while others like me use a little bullet blender and just manage the temperature instead.

I don't expect my formula to be anywhere near as good as LivOn Labs version of this. If money was no object, well and if they would package it in greater than 1g tiny little packages, then maybe I'd be taking their version instead. (Or not, because I have come to believe the value of the lecithin phospholipids in the DIY formula are worth having, totally apart from the ascorbic, and the DIY version has massively more of that.) But I am still closer to being able to get ascorbic in the quantity nature originally intended into my body. So it's all good!

PJ

P.S. Update Spring 2015: There's a brand called 'Aurora' that now offers 3g of AA per 1 Tbsp dose, for less than half the price of the 'market' (set by LivOn Labs), and you can get a bulk deal from them if you call them direct. So commercial Lipo-C is becoming more affordable. I have no association with them, by the way, just mentioning it. I got some at amazon.com.

Useful links (although I recommend all the posts on this blog in the Vitamin C category):

My notes from Levy's excellent book, Curing the Incurable

Thomas Levy's company LivOn Labs sells liposomal Vitamin C and other things

Some of Brooks Bradley's DIY-C posts I found online that I stuck in a blog entry for ref

My post about the underlying, most primal function of ascorbic, its electron-flow results

My overview of Ascorbic, Bowel Tolerance and Absorption

Cathcart's actual 1981 white paper on that (tolerance and absorption) topic

A kinda cool 'summary image' I made of Cathcart's paper's data/figure/table/abstract

My overview of "materials and equipment" (and what matters) for making Lipo-C at home

A post where I summarized my internet-skim of all the alleged research-finding values of lecithin. Take this with a grain of salt, it has no refs, but was designed just to overview so I could then google for more info where interested. Lecithin is being taken in even greater dose than ascorbic with Lipo-C so it's obviously a critical ingredient.

A post where I copied excerpts from around the web that I found related to C, high-dose C, and Lipo-C. Take this with a grain of salt also, it was merely my first speed-read compilation. This is what I do on a topic and then I go back through, read what I excerpted on the fly, and google for more info on specifics.


3 comments:

  1. Although not directly on topic, I’m trying to get word out about a new process to make significantly higher potency liposomal vitamin C. I’m selling nothing (there are not even ads on the site), I simply want to help people make better liposomal vitamin C.

    Here is the link: http://qualityliposomalc.com

    Thanks!

    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Chris. That is very interesting. So you're saying the alcohol that LivOn Labs adds 'as a preservative' is in their patent implying it's actually part of the encapsulation process itself. But is there any evidence whatever -- any research, etc. -- that suggests adding alcohol to this improves encapsulation and how much? Why would it do that? Alcohol is pointedly bad for the liver, and many people take liposomal C because of how good it is for the liver (as well as everywhere else), so it seems like a rather important question!

    I agree that liposomes are pretty easy to make -- temperature and blending does it automatically -- but that doesn't really speak to whether they eventually get small enough to be sent out all over the body instead of unpackaged at the liver.

    On your clearing the bubbles by heating. Do you have any refs to why a non-bubble formula would sonicate more efficiently? I don't know much about that topic. How much more? Since ascorbic is degraded by heat I'd want to minimize it unless it was extremely important.

    I'll see what I can find on the alcohol topic. And I will consider your process of adding vastly more ascorbic, and having the lecithin-water be ascorbic-water, next time I make this.

    PJ

    ReplyDelete
  3. PS I posted your process link on abovetopsecret forum, that ought to get you some visitors.

    ReplyDelete

I clear any comment that is on-topic and civil. Be please on topic... and civil. :-)