Many of us don’t always eat the way we should, and our bodies can be worse off for it. Vitamins are important for proper functioning in the cells of our bodies; some are not naturally produced in the human body so it is important to be conscious about obtaining them through other methods. Taking vitamins can help supplement important nutrients you aren’t getting in other parts of your diet.
The Altrient C ($39.95) is a vitamin C supplement that claims to eliminate free radicals, trigger collagen production, and promote post-workout muscle recovery. With its unique delivery system, it claims to out-perform all forms of oral vitamin C.
Altrient ME (39.95) is another supplement that claims to unleash more energy from food, and help your body fuel more efficiently. This natural product is said to give you more energy without the jitters and no crash feeling.
Vitamin C Supplements
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin also referred to as L- ascorbic acid. It is not readily produced in the human body, so it is essential to obtain it in our diets. Both vitamin C and ascorbate (anion form) are found together depending on the pH of the environment.
Mutations in the gulono-gamma-lactone oxidase gene in primates and guinea pigs have inactivated the gene so vitamin C must be obtained in diets (National Center for Biotechnology). Ascorbic acid is a simple carbohydrate, it contains a reactive “ene-diol group” giving it the ability to transform an inactive sugar to highly reactive and reversible carbohydrate creating an oxidation system where carbohydrates are able to accept or donate electrons from its surroundings (National Health Federation Bulletin). Our living bodies maintain a flow of transferring elections so vitamin C (an electron donor) is important for a regular flow of electrons. Vitamin C is absorbed in the lumen of intestine and renal tubules specifically by enterocytes and renal epithelial cells by the process of simple diffusion, facilitated diffusion, and active transport (Annual Review of Nutrition).
When vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, it is in the form of dehydroascorbic acid (DHA), the oxidized form of vitamin C. Along with being an antioxidant, vitamin C is important for the growth and repair of tissue and aids in the production of collagen, a protein involved in the production of skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels (University of Maryland Medical Center). An experiment studied the regulation of collagen gene expression in tissue and non-repair connective tissues in vitamin C deficient guinea pigs concluded that poor wound healing may be related to defective procollagen gene expression and defective blood vessel formation, a process for which vitamin C is important (Wound Repair and Regeneration).
Dietary vitamin C has been found to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles (Free Radical Biology and Medicine, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition). It has also been found to increase the production of collagen (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Dermatologic Surgery). Much like topical vitamin C, it has also been shown to help prevent UV damage, consequently helping to combat visible photodamage. But while oral vitamin C increases vitamin C levels in the skin, it only does so to a point. Once the level of vitamin C in the body has reached a saturation point, the levels in the skin do not increase (Oregon State University).
So if the body reaches a “saturation point” is it dangerous to get too much vitamin C? Vitamin C is water soluble so it cannot build up in the body. Excess vitamin C will leave the body through urine. Cases of too much vitamin C are rare, an excess of 2,000 milligrams a day is not recommended and can lead to an upset stomach among other symptoms (U.S. National Library of Medicine). It is rare to be deficient in vitamin C but, lacking vitamin C can lead to gingivitis, decreased wound repair rate, high blood pressure, and stroke among (University of Maryland Medical Center).
Vitamin B6 & B12 Supplements
Vitamin B is also water soluble and is important for the proper function of cells. There are many different types of B vitamins, the types listed in the Altrient ME is B6 and B12. Vitamin B6 and B12 are key roles in breaking down homocysteine, which contributes to clogging arteries in atherosclerosis (Harvard School of Public Health). An experiment studied the antioxidant activity of B6 and how it delays homocysteine-induced atherosclerosis in rats. They measured the effect of homocysteine thiolactone intake (52 mg/kg per day) on vascular integrity, lipid peroxide concentration, endothelial NO synthase expression, and biochemical profiles for 42 days and suggest that oxidative stress caused by low levels of B6 accelerate the development of homocysteine-induces atherosclerosis in rats (British Journal of Nutrition).
Like vitamin C, vitamin B6 must be obtained from diets. One of the three main forms of vitamin B6 is pyridoxial, the ester derivative pyridoxial 5`phosphate. It’s a coenzyme that is known to be important in metabolism and chemical reactions in the body (Oregon State University).
Vitamin B12 is produced in the bacteria in our intestines, it contains cobalt giving it the name cobalamin. Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is converted into the active cofactor, methylcobalamin used in the human body. Cobalamin is a cofactor in methionine synthase, which is involved in the synthesis of methionine that is in turn required for synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine, important for methylation (gene regulation) within DNA and RNA (Oregon State University).
Essentially, vitamin B12 is important in the DNA synthesis process. A deficiency can affect the hematologic, gastrointestinal, and nervous system. In terms of your skin, a deficiency can result in skin issues like vitiligo, skin hyperpigmentation, hair changes, and recurrent angular stomatitis (Canadian Family Physician).
According to the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms. Some side effects of vitamin B deficiency are memory loss, disorientation, hallucinations, and tingling arms and legs (Harvard School of Public Health).
Liposomal Delivery Method
The most common forms of vitamin C supplements are powders and tablets. According to Oregon State University, the absorption of vitamin C in the intestine in tablet and powder form is equivalent. An experiment studied the urine excretion profile of vitamin C and concluded that 9.44% of vitamin C was in the urine after administration of the tablet form (Padjadjaran University).
Lliposome encapsulated delivery is different from the tablet and powder absorption in the sense that releases its contents directly into human cells whereas in intestinal absorption the vitamins have to go through a process of breaking down and reassembling. Liposomes contain a biodegradable fat layer made up of natural and synthetic layers of lipids (phosphor- and sphingo-lipids) that trap and prevents vitamin C from coming into contact with the intestines (International Journal of Pharmaceutics). Due to the fact that liposomes can be manipulated to have peptide ligands to target specific sites, it reduces exposure to other tissues (Journal of Oncology). After reaching the target area, liposomes, made of similar phospholipids as the lipid bilayer so liposomes melt into the human cell releasing its content directly into cells.
And targeted, liposomal delivery systems delivery medicine more effectively. The Journal of Controlled Release studied tumor-targeted delivery of liposome encapsulated doxorubicin by use of a peptide that selectively binds to tumors and demonstrated the capabilities of the directed peptide in radiation-guided drug delivery to tumors.
Essential Phospholipids: Phosphatidylcholine, Phosphatidylethanolamine, Phosphatidylinositol
These vitamins also boast having essential phospholipids, but what do those do? Our body’s cells are protected by a plasma membrane consisting of a number of proteins, cholesterols, and most importantly fats. These phospholipids are an integral part of many processes within the body, many of them dealing with cell processes and DNA.
Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is found in the soy lecithin listed on the product. Phosphatidylcholine makes up a large amount of the membrane in our cells and is a precursor for production of diacylglycerol, and ceramide, which are precursors for intracellular messenger molecules (Oregon State University). Choline, an essential nutrient, is found in phosphatidylcholine. Choline is a precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine involved in muscle control, memory, along with many other functions (Oregon State University). The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition studied how choline deficiency increases lymphocyte apoptosis and DNA damage in humans. Fifty-one men and women were fed a diet with an adequate intake of choline for 10 days and then fed a choline deficient diet for 42 days. The experiment found the choline deficient diet increased DNA damage. Subjects with a deficient diet have an increase in liver or muscle dysfunction and a higher rate of apoptosis in their peripheral lymphocytes.
Phosphatidylethanolamine is important in membranes; it is a precursor for N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine, anandamide and donates ethanolamine phosphate during synthesis of glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchors that attach signaling proteins to the plasma membrane (AOCS Lipid Library). Its function is to inhibit negative amino acids on the cytoplasmic side of the membrane, and balance charges on the membrane surface therefore supporting proper protein function (AOCS Lipid Library). A study tested the contrasting effect of dietary phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine on serum lipoprotein and liver lipids in rats found that phosphatidylethanolamine found in the soybean phospholipid is responsible for the alteration in structure of serum lipids and apoproteins in rats (Journal of Nutrition).
Phosphatidylinositol is a transfer protein located in the membrane or lipid bilayer. Transfer proteins are important in lipid signaling and supporting cellular function among many others. A study in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications concluded phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitors enhance insulin secretion in rat insulinoma cells and affect beta cell insulin secretory responses. Deficiencies in transfer proteins are linked to neurodegenerative, and intestine malabsorption diseases in mice (National Center for Biotechnology Information).
Personal Use and Opinion
I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did feel more energetic when I took Altrient C and Altrient ME. It was a subtle difference, but I felt a bit more alert. The taste leaves a bit to be desired, so I’d recommend taking this quickly and in juice, rather than water, so that the flavor isn’t as distinct. If you’ve ever had a vitamin on your tongue a bit too long before washing it down with water or juice, the flavor is like a much more pronounced version of that. The vitamin packets don’t actually dissolve in liquid, so I prefer taking them in a small amount of liquid very quickly, as opposed to drinking them in a large glass. But overall, I like the direction these vitamins are going, and I felt good when I took them.
Unlike other forms of supplements, Altrient C and Altrient ME use the liposome encapsulated delivery system to directly supply your body’s cells with essential vitamins. Vitamin C is a beneficial antioxidant, aids in the regular flow of electrons in our bodies and assists in healing wounds. Vitamin B6 is important for metabolism and chemical reactions in the body and B12 is important for proper DNA and RNA methylation (gene regulation). Altrient C and ME also supply essential phospholipids that provide the body with many beneficial functions. Overall, they’re not the best tasting, but they’re a good way to supplement vitamins you might be missing in your diet.