Membrane Lipid Replacement is the use of functional, oral supplements containing mixtures of cell membrane glycerolphospholipids, plus fructooligosaccharides (for protection against oxidative, bile acid and enzymatic damage) and antioxidants, in order to safely replace damaged, oxidized, membrane phospholipids and restore membrane, organelle, cellular and organ function. Defects in cellular and intracellular membranes are characteristic of all chronic medical conditions, including cancer, and normal processes, such as aging. Once the replacement glycerolphospholipids have been ingested, dispersed, complexed and transported, while being protected by fructooligosaccharides and several natural mechanisms, they can be inserted into cell membranes, lipoproteins, lipid globules, lipid droplets, liposomes and other carriers. They are conveyed by the lymphatics and blood circulation to cellular sites where they are endocytosed or incorporated into or transported by cell membranes. Inside cells the glycerolphospholipids can be transferred to various intracellular membranes by lipid globules, liposomes, membrane-membrane contact or by lipid carrier transfer. Eventually they arrive at their membrane destinations due to ‘bulk flow’ principles, and there they can stimulate the natural removal and replacement of damaged membrane lipids while undergoing further enzymatic alterations. Clinical trials have shown the benefits of Membrane Lipid Replacement in restoring mitochondrial function and reducing fatigue in aged subjects and chronically ill patients. Recently Membrane Lipid Replacement has been used to reduce pain and other symptoms as well as removing hydrophobic chemical contaminants, suggesting that there are additional new uses for this safe, natural medicine supplement. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Membrane Lipid Therapy: Drugs Targeting Biomembranes edited by Pablo Escríba-Ruíz.
The article also noted that while glycerolphospholipid absorption in the upper intestines was over 90%, after a large meal, and transported into the blood within 6 hours, dietary MLR polyunsaturated phospholipids are oxidized and degraded during storage, ingestion, digestion, and absorption and need to be protected from acid degradation in the gut and bile salts and hydrolysis from the pancreas and gut microflora in the small intestines. The researchers found an answer to this problem by complexing MLR phospholipids with specific fructooligosaccharides (Inulins), which protect from oxidation and high temps, acidity, and phospholipases and bile salts.
Plants such as legumes or cabbage are good sources for MLR supplementation but in order to get a daily dose of 1.8 g of membrane phospholipids you’d have to have an intake of 15 kg of beans!
The most convenient, efficient, safe and cost effective method of membrane phospholipid administration in humans has been the use of daily oral lecithin supplements ; ;  ; . Most oral lecithin supplements are rather crude soy, egg yolk or marine preparations that lack oxidation, bile and phosphatase protection. In addition, most of these oral supplements have not been carefully analyzed for phospholipid composition, and in particular for lipid degradation products. However, there are oral MLR phospholipid supplements, such as NTFactor® and NTFactor Lipids®, that fulfill the requirements for efficacy, oxidation and degradation protection, safety and convenience ;  ; . The NTFactor® lipid supplements, and their use in clinical studies, will be discussed in more detail in 8, 9, 10 ; 11. NTFactor®, which also contains probiotic bacteria, growth media and other ingredients, and NTFactor Lipids®, without these additives, come in several oral forms, but almost all contain from 1–2 g of phospholipids per dose ;  ; . The recommended optimal daily oral dose of NTFactor Lipids® for most clinical conditions has been estimated at 2–4 g per day, and more recently at least 4 g per day, whereas its anti-aging use has been proposed at 2 g per day . Some updates in these recommendations will be discussed in Section 12.
A table in the article shows uses for MLR supplements such as fatigue, infections, autoimmune, and chemical detox and revised dose levels. These are issues nearly every Lyme/MSIDS patient has. The dosages for these issues are upwards of 4g/day, showing the intensive mitochrondrial damage these issues cause in the body.
Due to intense detoxification efforts by the liver, many Lyme/MSIDS patients have high liver titers. The good news is that patients with advanced liver cirrhosis were given oral MLR phospholipids and after just 3 months had normal blood results for liver function. They are also safe to use during pregnancy and have in fact been used in high risk pregnancies with success.
**The authors are part-time consultants to Nutritional Therapeutics, Inc. and Allergy Research Group, Inc.