Supplement absorption levels boosted by unique technology

A technique pioneered to help target cancer therapy has been developed to maximise the positive impact of minerals, vitamins and plant extracts on health

The nutritional-supplements market is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world economy with the public searching for ways to boost their immune system and optimise lifestyles.

The huge interest in good health, generated by the Covid pandemic, has remained. The supplement market, currently valued at $358.8bn, is expected to grow by an annual rate of 6.3% every year to 2030.

The sprint for supplements has been boosted by revolutionary technology that ensures the active ingredients from minerals, vitamins and plant extracts, reach their targets and fulfil their potential.

Traditional ingredients – formulated as pills, powders and gummies – have varying degrees of success with the body’s natural defence mechanisms and digestive systems neutralising them to the point that, in some cases, less than 1% reaches the bloodstream.

Liposomal delivery, which was pioneered for targeted cancer treatments, encapsulates the active ingredient in a water-based solution to supercharge its potential to be absorbed by the body – known as bioavailability – and have a positive impact on health.

“Liposomal delivery is a game changer when it comes to distributing all kinds of active ingredients. Our uniqueness is that we have adapted the technology so it can be applied to mass-market products,” says Jan Braband, founder and chief executive officer of PlantaCorp, which is a global leader in contract liposomal supplement production.

“Liposomes are incredibly efficient at transporting the ingredient and getting it into the bloodstream so that it can do what it is supposed to. It allows them to get to work. We have levels of 90% bioavailability, which contrasts sharply to other delivery processes that are at 1% and less.

Effective delivery

“The issue with those processes is that the vast majority of the product does not get absorbed and is secreted out by the body, having had minimal effect. Basically, what you pop into your body travels through it and out with waste products with almost no impact.”
Studies have shown that iron supplements delivered with PlantaCorp’s patent-pending system achieved 398-times greater bioavailability than a non-liposomal method while curcumin was 47-times more effective than comparative products.

The ability of liposomal systems to deliver active ingredients to specific targets in the body has been long established but their manufacture is complex and expensive. Germany-based PlantaCorp’s sector R&D expertise enabled it to engineer a cost-effective version for the mass market which is proving a perfect vehicle to deliver the required concentrations of active ingredients across nutritional products.

The company’s innovative encapsulation technology works by combining the active ingredient with oil-free phospholipids and water and the solution is then subjected to high-energy ultrasonic waves and high gravitational forces. The process can be adapted to maximise the potential of a range of ingredients and targets within the body.

“It allows the product to work and we have seen clients growing their business alongside ours because of its success,” adds Braband, whose company serves operations in 28 countries and has expanded to a new hi-tech manufacturing facility in Hamburg. “It is very rewarding to see customers enjoying success. Bioavailability is a huge challenge but liposomal formulations are the answer.”

The liposomal drug delivery market is booming and has a projected market value of $40bn in 2024 and PlantaCorp, which started in 2015 and also operates in the UK, is enjoying huge success with production volume growth estimated at 34.5% for 2021 to 2022 with a 27.8% increase in client base.

Rising demand for supplements

Demand for dietary supplements increased massively during the pandemic and interest in their ability to boost immune systems is still strong. A report showed that supplement use jumped from 29.5% to 71.9% in Asia, from 40.6% to 75.7% in America and went from 30.8% to 68.7% in Europe.

Research conducted by PlantaCorp revealed a trend of strong sales of vitamins and minerals to strengthen immune system with sales of pure vitamin C leaping by 94%, Zinc supplements up by 42% and vitamins A and D sales increased by 35% in the first quarter of 2020. High demand levels have remained as the public continues to seek to improve general health and boost their immune systems.

PlantaCorp has welded its success to a strong ethos of sustainability with its liposomal formulations made from water and GMO-free sunflower phospholipids and sea buckthorn extract is being used instead of chemical preservatives. Glass bottles are the preferred packaging option and its production processes are powered by regionally produced wind energy.

“It is very good to know that our product works and is successful for our clients but I also want to be able to look myself in the mirror and know it is a good product,” adds Braband. “We try not to use chemical preservatives and we are constantly updating our processes to enhance our naturalness.

“Liposomal systems have made such a difference to delivering ingredients successfully. The difference between achieving 1% to 10% bioavailability up to 90% is a complete game changer.

“There is so much more that can be achieved and I think we have opened up a door to a new world of possibilities for ingredients and for better health.”

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