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What Is Liposomal Delivery?

You may have heard about the latest “trend” in the health and wellness world – liposomal delivery. But what does it mean, and why is it so important? What is liposomal technology used for, and why should you keep an eye on this marvel delivery system? Let’s take a look!

While many people use liposomal and liposomes synonymously, they’re two separate things entirely.

We’ll get into both on a much deeper level further in the article, but for now, here’s a basic differentiation of the two terms:


These are the microscopic particles that contain and protect active ingredients prior to targeted delivery.


This technology is the delivery system that makes liposomes able to be used for so many applications.

Before we get into what liposomal delivery is, we’ll need to take a closer look at liposomes. We’ll discuss what they are, how they work, and why they’re an essential part of this marvel of a drug delivery system.

What Are Liposomes Exactly &
Why Are They Important?

Liposomes are artificially made vesicles (small cellular containers) that have been uniquely designed to safely deliver a variety of bioactive compounds from point A to point B.

Liposomes are capable of transporting both hydrophilic (water-soluble) and hydrophobic (water-repelling) substances, making them applicable in a variety of fields, from agriculture to pharmaceuticals.

But how?

To understand how liposomes work, we’ll need to take a closer look at the structural design of these microscopic cellular marvels.

Structure of A Liposome

Liposomes are composed of two molecules

Water and phosholipid

that form a sturdy cellular container. When phospholipids (fatty-acid-like lipids) are combined with water, they become spherical in shape with a self-sealing aqueous (water-like) core.3

A variety of vitamins, minerals, and/or plant extracts can then be placed into the core of liposomes for maximum bioavailability.

The two layers of phospholipids allow liposomes to target specific cells while maintaining structural integrity during their journey through the body. Nutrients arrive where they need to go without prematurely breaking down.

Liposomes are a simple, yet superior drug delivery system (DDS). They’re the ideal transport method for otherwise volatile nutrients like antioxidants and antimicrobials.

Are There Different Types of Liposomes?

Yes – Liposomes are classified according to the structure of lipid bi-layers and the size of the cellular container. While we won’t get too deep into the different types of liposomes, it can be important to understand the unique qualities of each.

There are 4-types of liposomes:

Size plays a big role in liposome efficacy and the molecule’s overall half-life (the time it takes for the amount of a drug’s active substance in your body to reduce by half).

LUV (Large Unilamellar Vesicles) –
These are the most commonly used liposomes for drug delivery.

SUV (Small Unilamellar Vesicles) –
Candidate carrier for oral application.

MLV (Multilamellar Vesicles) –
Candidate carrier for oral delivery.

MVV (Multivesicular Vesicles) –
These liposomes are not viable for oral drug applications.

Size plays a big role in liposome efficacy and the molecule’s overall half-life (the time it takes for the amount of a drug’s active substance in your body to reduce by half).

The Correlation of Liposomes
and Cellular Aging

Liposomes mimic the method of membrane construction found in nature. In fact, one of the closest naturally-occurring counterparts to liposomes is breast milk.2 That’s noteworthy because milk is the only substance specifically engineered by the body to nourish.

Thanks to the closely-related characteristics of breast milk, liposomes offer anti-oxidation abilities for the ingredients that they’re tasked with delivering. Each dose of liposomes can survive 8-hours within the body providing prolonged cellular uptake at maximum absorbency.

Supplement companies are taking liposomes to the next level – by addressing cellular aging head on. The unique shape of liposomes offers sustained release of essential vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial anti-aging properties.

Liposomes make for the ultimate drug delivery system (DDS). By taking advantage of nature’s invaluable molecule construction, cellular aging could be a thing of the past in the very near future.

Liposomes for Oral Drug Delivery (ODD)

Liposomes have been on the radar for medical applications since their discovery in 1961 by Alec D. Bangham. However, until recently, there have been some set-backs with the use of liposomes in oral drug delivery.

On their own, liposomes can be problematic for oral application. Researchers noticed that liposomes tended to have instability in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract as well as the inability to easily cross certain cell membranes.5

Additionally, the process of creating liposomes can be tedious at best and expensive at worst. Mass production of liposomes just wasn’t in the picture. Yet.

Research showed the potential capabilities of liposomes in drug delivery but until recently, there were too many set-backs for oral methods. That’s where liposomal delivery comes in.

What Does Liposomal Mean?

Now that we have a better understanding of what liposomes are all about, let’s take a closer look at how they’re being used in the realm of medical applications.

Liposomal is the process of liposome encapsulation. Think of liposomal as the “transport system” for the delivery of liposomes and the active ingredients they carry inside them.

By modulating the compositions of lipid bilayers and adding polymers or ligands, liposomal technology helps improve the liposome’s stability in the GI tract and eases cell permeability (travel across membranes).

The unique liposomal technology allows;

Better ingredient absorption

Improved half-life of drugs

Targeted delivery to the small intestines

Reduced risk of side effects

Liposomal is a 100% DNA-free process that allows for maximum benefits with very few known drawbacks.4

Infograph: Understanding the Liposomal Delivery System

How are Liposomes Delivery Systems Produced?

Producing high-quality liposome delivery systems can be time-consuming and costly for the manufacturer. But, the end process creates excellent outcomes with enhanced bioavailability to the end-user.6

Before being encapsulated for a supplement, liposomes should;

Adhere to certain size standards

Made in a cGMP-compliant facility

Have a basic 2 bi-layer structure

Liposome encapsulation efficiency increases with liposome size and decreases with the number of bi-layers. The ideal liposome for drug delivery has 2 bi-layers and is sized anywhere from 50 nm to 150 nm. These are usually the LUV liposomes we mentioned above.
osomal technology allows;

How Does Liposomal Improve
Ingredient Delivery?

Ingredient Delivery

Liposomal is a critical discovery for optimal drug delivery. Liposomal technology allows the active ingredient it’s carrying to get from Point A to Point B without breaking down in the mouth or stomach. Absorption is primarily done in the small intestines where nutrients are most beneficial.

Aside from preventing active ingredients from becoming prematurely absorbed, liposomal aids in targeted delivery by;

Maximizing nutrient absorption rates

Minimizing drug dosages and thus potential side effects

Improving substance half-life

Liposomal technology can uniquely be used for both hydrophilic (water-absorbant) and hydrophobic (water-resistant) delivery methods. This means manufacturers can use more complex mixtures of pure compounds for enhanced efficacy.8

The liposomal delivery system has a wide range of varying uses – many of which are still yet to be discovered. In fact, the nutritional industry use of liposomal technology is expected to grow rapidly in the next 5 to 10-years.

What Liposomal Drugs are Approved for Clinical Use?

Many well-known manufacturers in the pharmaceutical realm are moving to clinical trials with formulations containing liposomal. With the help of this unique drug delivery system, brands are able to produce higher-quality products that maximize cellular uptake.

Liposomes are generally used as a targeted drug delivery; i.e. injections and oral delivery. However, there are certain topical applications for liposomes where active ingredients are delivered directly to the epidermis.

As of today, there are 4 FDA-approved liposomal drugs for clinical use:7


A chemotherapy medication used to treat cancer.



Used to treat breast cancer, bladder cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma, lymphoma, and acute lymphocytic leukemia.



A medication used for treating women with breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.



Primarily treats liver cancer and recurrent breast cancer.

As more and more research is done on liposomal and the benefits, we’re seeing a variety of products hitting the shelves.

What Liposomal Products are We Likely to See in the Future?

One of the largest-growing markets for liposomal is within the supplement niche. Dietary supplements often contain nutrients like essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other plant extracts that can be volatile to stomach acid. With the ability to by-pass stomach acid, dietary supplements can be absorbed directly in the small intestines – where the benefits are highest.

This allows a manufacturer to use higher-quality raw products at smaller doses while maintaining maximum efficacy. The structure of active ingredients can be much more complex than with traditional drug delivery systems (DDS).

You’re likely to see an uptick in health supplements that use liposomal delivery in the near future. The current drugs containing liposomal are just the tip of the iceberg for the health industry.

The global liposomal supplements
market was worth around

$361 Million USD

by 2022

According to Zion Market Research,
the industry is predicted to
grow to around

$627 Million USD

by 20309

What Makes Liposomal Ideal for the Supplement Industry?

Liposomal is the ideal companion for dietary supplements. Manufacturers can utilize more natural ingredients that are known to be volatile once introduced into the body’s system. Because liposomes have a protective layer, these pure ingredients can get to where they’ll be most effective without prematurely breaking down.

Just a few supplements that are showing improved bioavailability thanks to liposomal delivery include;

Vitamin C

A uniquely beneficial vitamin that helps maintain healthy skin cells, blood vessels, bones, and cartilage.


A powerful chemical element that is beneficial for protein synthesis.


A substance made from amino acids that’s essential for tissue building and repair.


A therapeutic compound derived from turmeric known for anti-inflammatory properties.


An essential anti-aging coenzyme affecting cellular function.

Liposomal technology can improve the body’s ability to absorb a wide range of nutrients. In fact, manufacturers are able to create more complex formulas thanks to liposomes and their ability to contain both water-soluble and water-resistant ingredients.

What Makes A Liposomal Formula More Effective?

Liposomal delivery allows for more effective formulas. Complex botanical mixtures can be made using various raw compounds without risk of them being prematurely absorbed and thus destroyed before the body can reap the benefits.

Liposomal technology is at the forefront of drug delivery. There are a plethora of parameters that make a liposomal formal more effective. Let’s take a look.

#1 Enhanced Bioavailability


We know that liposomes are able to encapsulate an active ingredient for transport throughout the body. These nourishing marvels are enhanced with liposomal technology that allows them to travel with ease across cell membranes that traditional DDS wouldn’t be able to pass through.

Think of liposomes as a little Army tasked to protect active ingredients as they make their way to your small intestines. Nutrients get to where they’re supposed to go without breaking down in the mouth or stomach. Thus active ingredients are better utilized within the body.

#2 Minimize Side Effects

Liposomal has been shown to reduce side effects over conventional anti-cancer drugs in clinical trials.10 While the delivery system did not improve therapeutic outcomes in this particular trial, improved patient tolerability was noticeable.

In addition, drug-induced gastrointestinal irritation can be reduced with liposomal delivery. By encapsulating an active ingredient in liposomes, direct contact with the intestinal environment is avoided.
With fewer side effects, liposomal-containing drugs can increase maximum-tolerated dose, thus potentially improving therapeutic benefits.

#3 Extending the Half-Life of a Drug

Many of the drugs that utilize liposomal delivery have a short circulation when used on their own. Due to the drug’s rapid uptake in the reticuloendothelial system (RES), they’re often limited in what they can accomplish without extremely high dosages. With liposomal delivery, a drug’s half-life is significantly improved – making an ineffective drug more productive.

In fact, liposomes have been clinically shown to significantly prolong circulation times.7 This allows manufacturers to offer a broader range of therapeutic applications that were not possible prior to liposomal drug delivery.

#4 Wide Range of Applications

Liposomal delivery allows for advanced release methods other drug delivery systems can’t. Because liposomal allows for complex combinations of active ingredients, manufacturers are able to maximize formulas to suit almost any need.

Let’s say there are two active ingredients known to have anti-aging benefits. One is water-soluble, while the other is water-resistant.

Normally, a manufacturer would need to implore methods such as amorphous solid dispersion (ASD) to make a poorly soluble ingredient usable.11 With liposomal technology that problem is all but eliminated. Pure ingredients can be used for maximum efficacy without the need to improve their oral bioavailability.

Liposomal Delivery FAQs

There’s a lot of questions surrounding liposomal delivery. Intense research on the technology continues to this day – with greater and greater advancements. Here, we’ll break down some of the touch questions surrounding liposomes and they’re delivery system – liposomal.

Liposomes are able to entrap unstable substances. This includes active ingredients like antioxidants and antimicrobials. Prior to liposomal delivery these often volatile substances would break down immediately in the mouth, or slightly later as they encounter stomach acid. Liposomal helps protect these unstable ingredients until they make their way to the small intestines where benefits are most effective.
The unique liposomal technology allows;

Liposomal can help carry both hydrophilic (water-soluble) and hydrophobic (water-resistant) molecules. This makes the liposomal delivery system extra special because it can use pure ingredients to maximize efficacy. Manufacturers also have the ability to create more complex formulas that address concerns head on.

At the moment, one of the biggest disadvantages to liposomal delivery is the high production cost.13 Until more manufacturer’s realize the benefits of this powerful DDS, we’re not likely to see liposomal delivery used in every-day applications. However, there are high-end manufacturing companies that are getting on the liposomal bandwagon.

Although you can expect to pay slightly more for a drug or supplement that utilizes liposomal technology, the benefits make the additional cost nominal.
The unique liposomal technology allows;

Research surrounding liposomes for drug delivery is continuously ongoing. Thus far, the uses for liposomes via the liposomal delivery system include parenteral, oral, nasal, ocular, and topical. However, the benefits of liposomes have the potential to go much further.
The unique liposomal technology allows;

Yes. There are a number of applications for liposomal that are FDA-approved within the medical arena.12 While most are designed to be targeted delivery methods, the uses for liposomal are virtually endless. After the approval of Doxil® in 1995, there have been 3 other drugs approved for clinical use.

Because the process to get a drug FDA-approved is both costly and time-consuming, manufacturers are slow to get on the liposomal bandwagon. However, there are numerous clinical trials currently underway using liposomal as a potential drug delivery system.
The unique liposomal technology allows;

Liposomes do occur naturally within the body. However, the liposomes that you encounter outside (for example, in drugs) the body are lab-made. These synthetic liposomes are 100% natural and DNA-free. In fact, they only contain two ingredients; phospholipids and water.
The unique liposomal technology allows;

Liposomes were discovered by Alec D. Bangham in 1961. By combining phospholipids with water, he found that the molecules held a naturally spherical shape. It was at Babraham Institute, University of Cambridge in England that this game-changing discovery was made.
The unique liposomal technology allows;

Drug delivery systems (DDS) help an active ingredient safely and effectively get transported to a targeted area. It can be a pill that you swallow or an injection. A DDS can also be a transport system that allows you to inhale a drug or apply it topically for maximum targeted impact.
The unique liposomal technology allows;

Liposomal Delivery
– A Marvel Drug Delivery System

Liposomal technology has immense potential in the health and wellness industry. While the drug delivery system has already been equated with improving drug bioavailability and minimizing potential side effects, many of the benefits are still being discovered.

This unique technology is making its presence known in the high-end supplement niche. The future of liposomal delivery is on an upward trend and we’re likely to see the technology used in a wide range of applications as results from clinical trials become more evident.

We’re excited to see where the future of liposomal delivery goes – and you should be too. For now, we’re content knowing this marvel of a drug delivery system is available to us via some of the most prominent health brands on the market.

About Marlin Roevic

Avatar photo

Marlin Roevic is the resident health science writer for GenuinePurity, dedicated to exploring the intricacies of health and wellness. With a deep-seated passion for understanding the human body at its most fundamental levels, Marlin has carved out a niche for himself in the field of cellular aging. His background in health sciences has equipped him with the knowledge and analytical skills to delve into complex biological processes, particularly how they relate to aging and longevity.

At GenuinePurity, Marlin's articles stand out for their clarity, depth, and ability to make intricate scientific concepts accessible to the general public. He has a talent for weaving together the latest research findings with everyday health practices, offering readers practical advice grounded in science.

His work often explores the cutting-edge of cellular aging research, from telomere dynamics to mitochondrial function. Marlin is particularly fascinated by the intersection of lifestyle choices and genetic factors in determining the aging process. Through his writing, he aims to empower readers with knowledge that can help them lead healthier, longer lives.

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