Vitamin C has several essential functions in the body, such as supporting the immune system, acting as an antioxidant, and maintaining healthy skin and bones. However, the uptake of vitamin C is limited due to saturation of the active transport system. Lipid based encapsulation of vitamin C is an attractive option as it provides protection from the gastric conditions and enhances the uptake of the vitamin by enabling sustained release, and thus allowing more consistent absorption and achieving higher plasma levels. There are various liposomal vitamin C products on the market, mostly available in liquid form. An alternative to these aqueous formulations is a dry version, where vitamin C is embedded into a lipid matrix. This formulation approach allows for the use of a lower quantity of excipients, resulting in a more sustainable product. The approach also provides good shelf life and is specifically beneficial for the release and absorption kinetics of vitamin C. The matrix is not digested by the gastric lipases and thus protect the vitamin in the stomach. The release process starts in the small intestine where bile salts form mixed micelles and vesicles with the lipids and expose them to be digested by the pancreatic lipases. This process slowly releases vitamin C from the matrix and enables uptake along the whole small intestine. We studied the release behaviour of vitamin C from a formulation prototype in a biologically relevant medium containing bile salts and pancreatic lipase over 4 hours and demonstrated sustained release performance of the formulation. The advantage compared to a traditional sustained-release vitamin product is that the release process first starts in the small intestine and the vitamin is fully protected in the stomach.
Audience Take Away:
- Explain how the audience will be able to use what they learn?
- The audience will learn about in situ release from a vitamin C formulation intended for sustained release and enhanced uptake. The learnings from the presentation also enable the audience to consider relevant biological features of the GI tract and to conduct formulation design based on phenomena taking place in the GI tract.
- Is this research that other faculty could use to expand their research or teaching?
- Yes, discussing the factor affecting release and uptake and the relevant physiology is very much a universal topic.
- Does this provide a practical solution to a problem that could simplify or make a designer’s job more efficient?
- Yes, the approach described here is functional, yet simple for production and formulation design.