Micelles and Liposomes

Micelles and liposomes are the way that we can take hydrophobic micronutrients and deliver them to cells. For simplicity, we call these blood soluble envelopes. 

Lipids are hydrophobic on the tail and hydrophilic on the head (a). The cell and mitochondria plasma membrane is constructed of a bi-layer sheet of lipids, with head facing out and tails facing in (b).  

Micelles are single phospholipid layer structures wheres liposomes are much larger bi layer structures. 

Pharmaceutical companies use these structures to deliver hydrophobic drugs orally.   Micelles have much smaller entrapment capabilities,  2-20nm whereas liposomes can hide compounds from 20nm to 3 microns. Astaxanthin having both hydrophobic and hydrophilic parts forms a multilayer structure of both micelles and liposomes.  This structure travels though the bloodstream and comes in contact with a cell.  The cell grabs lipids from the surface. ultimately exposing the embedded astaxanthin which then embeds itself into the cells plasma membrane and the entire structure falls apart.