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Actualizado: 8 dic 2021

Venture in the new uses of Nanoemulsions.

The use of nanoemulsions is rapidly expanding to a wide variety of industries. After all, nanotechnology is one of short list of the industries that will revolutionize the world as we know it.

Did you know food-grade nanoemulsions have their origin on Pickering emulsions discovered more than a century ago?

Emulsions are defined as the dispersion of two immiscible liquids, with the spherical droplets forming the dispersed phase, whereas the liquid surrounding it forms the continuous phase. Typically, this would be oil and water.

Technically speaking, oil-in-water emulsions are mixtures wherein water is the continuous phase and oil is the dispersed phase, often stabilised by one or more emulsifiers, also named surfactants. These surfactants can be natural or artificial, and they are useful to reduce the surface molecular tension between oils and liquids.

Emulsions can be created at different sizes according to the dispersed phase particle size. Thus, emulsions can be macro, micro, or nano.

Nanotechnology has been recently applied to the food and nutrition industry in order to solve issues such as bioavailability and food consistency. Some of the results are water-compatible nanoemulsions of supposedly healthy ingredients that can be mixed into any beverage.

Nanoemulsions are generally produced by ultrasonic liquid processors that break the dispersed phase down into 10–1,000nm droplets.

These droplets are much smaller than the range for conventional macroemulsions (0.1–100µm), and they can be easily carried through the body by a water-based compound of choice. Practically speaking, the smaller you can break up your molecules, the more it will be able to penetrate your tissues alongside water.

Recent advances.

This century is witnessing a replacement scientific and industrial revolution because of the manipulation of matter at the nanometric level. Nanotechnology is a rising discipline that is expounded to the practices for planning, manufacturing, measuring and manipulating matter at the nm scale, growing at an accelerated pace and creating unique phenomena that facilitate novel applications.

Nanomaterials exhibit different chemical and physical properties, such as nano range size, size distribution, surface area and volume ratio, various surface properties, shape, chemical composition, and agglomeration state, which are not apparent in bulk materials. Therefore, it is not surprising that implementation of nanotechnology inventions is reaching several industrial areas, such as cosmetics, medicine, wellness, food, beverages, among others.

The applications of nanotechnology in food and agriculture sectors are comparatively more recent than the nano-drugs and nanopharmaceuticals.

Smart and efficient delivery of active food components, protein bioseparation, nanoencapsulation of nutraceuticals are few of the emerging topics in food and agriculture nanotechnology. However, both food engineering and pharmaceuticals creation use nanotechnology in the form of nanoemulsions to enhance products attributes and results. After all, consumers want better nutrients absorption and superior bioavailability of medical formulations.

It is the nano-films and their applications in packaging also the smart materials for sensing properties make it more fit to be used in food and agriculture sector. Industrialists, scientists and researchers are focusing to meet their need with the help of nanotechnology e.g. high nutrition level, efficient nutritional delivery, more shelf life, good mechanical properties as well as longer shelf life and durability of food-products.

Recent applications of Nanotechnology.

Some of the most recent applications are in food and nutraceuticals that also have identified the outstanding challenges to be overcome which further indicates future of this food nanotechnology. It is relevant to keep track of advances such as (i) the recently launched marketed nano-foods; (ii) major applications of nanotechnology in food and its allied sectors (iii) challenges and opportunities in nano-food processing.

Nanoemulsions for Drugs and Therapeutic Solutions.

Nanoemulsion is being studied as a way to deliver fast-acting antidotes to viruses, and for several other medical applications. Dozens of drugs with nanoemulsion technology have been approved so far, and research keeps progressing. As an example, a study[1] suggests that nanoemulsions significantly increase the bioavailability of transdermal δ-Tocopherol (a type of vitamin E).

Nanoemulsions have also been developed for improving the bioavailability of curcumin[2] and lutein in food supplements. The same progress is taking place in the cannabis industry. CBD and other cannabis components in oil form can be nanoemulsified into novel formulations to improve intestinal absorption[3].

A few pioneering laboratories have developed pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoid nanoemulsions, declaring that their nanoemulsified form of CBD provides an immediate onset, with much higher absorption and therapeutic effects at lower doses. Some next-level nanoemulsified cannabinoid formulations also incorporate natural absorption enhancers[4], such as piperine.

Does Nanoemulsions have any disadvantages?

The main drawback of this technology is the cost of production. Nanoemulsified CBD products are obviously more expensive than good old CBD oils. Their effect might also be different.

Nanoemulsions may offer more relief from pain or anxiety at the cost of a harder “landing” when the effects wear off. Moreover, their increased bioavailability also means increased potential for side effects, even if CBD is considered safe. Finally, only a few brands offer these new products, thus you won’t be able to read many independent reviews online yet.

How do Liposomes and Nanoemulsions compare?

Another recent, well-consolidated technology in the pharmaceutical arena are liposomes.

Liposomes can transport active ingredients through the gastrointestinal tract into target areas of the body without them degrading. The ingredients inside these tiny spheres are protected until they reach their target, resulting in greater bioavailability.

Liposomes are now being used by the nutraceutical and CBD industries to improve bioavailability and protect precious molecules, with no side effects. This drug delivery form can be applied to create CBD oil and water mixtures similar to nanoemulsions, being a step further from regular oils in terms of bioavailability. Until nanotechnology goes mainstream, liposomal CBD will remain one of the most healthy and efficient delivery forms available.

Is Nanoemulsions CBD Oil the future?

With their high physical stability and fast absorption supporting bioavailability ratios close to intravenous administration, nanoemulsions will likely take a respectable place on medical cannabis shelves.

In general, nanoemulsion doesn’t truly make CBD water soluble, and clinical research on this administration form is in the very early stages, even with promising preliminary results. The full potential impacts of nanoemulsions, nanoencapsulated phytochemicals, and even nanocrystals and polymeric micelles are still to be discovered, yet nanotechnology applications in cannabis derivatives are certainly more than just marketing hype.

However, water-based cannabinoids extracts can lead to water soluble nanoemulsions.

External Resources:

  1. Increased bioavailability of a transdermal application of a nano-sized emulsion preparation - ScienceDirect

  2. Improving the Oral Bioavailability of Curcumin Using Novel Organogel-Based Nanoemulsions

  3. Development of a Novel Nano­emulsion Formulation to Improve Intestinal Absorption of Cannabidiol

  4. The effect of Pro NanoLipospheres (PNL) formulation containing natural absorption enhancers on the oral bioavailability of delta-9-tetrahydrocannab... - PubMed - NCBI

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