Launched in 2020, Aguulp was co-founded by UK rap artist Stephen Manderson. It sells a range of liquid supplements targeting brain and immune health as well as boosting sleep quality.
What these health benefits have in common is the role of the gut, which Aguulp uses as a basis for its product range.
“I was born with a condition called pyloric stenosis which meant that my stomach couldn't empty and so I was constantly being sick,” said Manderson, also known by his stage name as Professor Green.
“I started to read and learn a lot about the gut, specifically the colon, where probiotics and prebiotics come into play. Everything that I’ve learned is a reason why I co-founded Aguulp.”
NutriProtect developed the nutrient delivery tech
Key to the startup’s success has been the adoption of a nutrient delivery technology, developed over a 10-year period by Aguulp’s partner lab, Nutrivitality.
The system uses tiny, fat-like particles called liposomes that bind to the nutrients. With traditional pill-based supplements, corrosive stomach acid destroys a large percentage of vitamins and minerals before they reach the small intestine for absorption.
According to the startup, pill-form vitamins only provide up to 20% nutrient absorption but Aguulp’s liquid supplements can deliver up to 98% nutrient absorption.
To further aid in the absorptive process, the liposomes use the liquid-based medium that, according to Aguulp, assimilate with the nutrient in just four minutes.
“We couldn’t consider anything less for Aguulp’s gut health formulas,” it said. “Nutrients delivered through pills take 30 minutes to break down before the body can assimilate them, so delivering nutrients through liquid supplements seems like the sensible choice.”
Liposomal tech an established and efficient delivery system
The liposomal technology has been around for several years. Other firms using the delivery technology include turmeric shot brand The Turmeric Co and UK-based Known Nutrition, which uses it for its formulations that include hydrolysed marine collagen and vitamin C.
Unregulated liposomal market results in unscrupulous products
In the rush to incorporate liposomal technology in the nutrition space, a handful of companies have been caught out by regulators for making unauthorised and misleading marketing claims.
In November 2021, UK-based firm YourZooki was ordered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to withdraw adverts claiming its food supplement Vitamin C Zooki contained liposomes and liposomal encapsulation technology that enabled greater vitamin C delivery.
The ASA concluded that particles with double rings, which YourZooki’s report attributed to the presence of liposomes, were in fact more likely to be diffraction rings around individual scattering objects.
“We considered that the evidence was therefore insufficient to show that the product contained liposomes,” said the ASA in its assessment. “[...] We concluded that the claims ‘liposomal vitamin C’, and similar claims about the liposomal nature of the product, had not been substantiated and were therefore misleading.”
Meanwhile, at the start of the pandemic, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issued 15 infringement notices to a doctor who claimed a number of liposomal products could prevent, treat, or kill Covid.
These included Quicksilver Scientific Liposomal Melatonin, Quicksilver Scientific Liposomal Vitamin C with R-lipoic acid and Seeking Health Optimal Liposomal Vitamin C Plus with Quercetin.
“Liposomal supplements are a fascinating technology for delivering maximised absorption,” said Dr Thomas Levy, cardiologist and vitamin C expert for LivOn Labs.
“Making a high-quality, high-tech liposomal vitamin C is not a fast, easy, cheap, or simple process, and the industry needs to be better regulated to avoid this kind of misleading behaviour.”