Lafayette’s Christopher Shade has a lot in common with Odysseus. Like the famed Greek warrior king, Shade builds Trojan horses—only his microscopic versions sneak in good guys.
Shade, an organic farmer turned chemist, is the founder of Quicksilver Scientific, which specializes in supplements—everything from vitamins A and E to the powerful antioxidant glutathione, which helps eliminate mercury and other heavy metals from the body. Plenty of other companies in the $36.7 billion nutritional supplement industry make these things, but it’s not about what’s in Quicksilver’s supplements; it’s how they’re delivered.
Most supplements are eaten, meaning the compounds pass through your digestive system, which breaks them down so the body can absorb them and rebuild the good stuff later. The problem: You don’t absorb as much of your supplement as you might if it could pass directly into the bloodstream. Sure, you could go the injection route, but who wants to get stuck with a needle every day? That’s where Shade’s liposomal delivery system—science speak for a Trojan horse—comes in.
For something to pass directly into the bloodstream, it has to be tiny (we’re talking nanoparticles) and neutral (neither positively nor negatively charged). Most antioxidants and vitamins have charges. So to sneak them into the bloodstream, Shade tucks them inside tiny lipid sacks called liposomes (what your cell membranes are made of), essentially hiding the charged element inside a neutral water balloon that’s small enough to pass through the lining in your mouth directly into the bloodstream. Translation: You bypass the digestive system and increase absorption of the supplement you’re taking.
In 2010, Shade released his first liposome supplements—glutathione and vitamin C—small enough to pass through the mouth’s mucus membranes. “Now, we’re starting to work on other compounds that have poor absorption in the body,” Shade says, “like vitamin B12 and coenzyme Q10, which is good for cardiovascular health.”
This past spring, Quicksilver (whose sales have shot up almost 200 percent over the last three years) debuted PuRxpressions, its first direct-to-consumer line of supplements. If you’re battling for your health, these Trojan horses might just help you win the war.