It is safe to say that in The United States, we’ve all probably heard of vitamin C. This famous essential vitamin is appreciated by everyone, whether it is because they enjoy supplementing with it or otherwise. While it is mostly known for its antioxidant effects and benefits, this vitamin actually offers a wide array of wonderful properties that you could really benefit from.

Aside from its antioxidant powers, vitamin C is a compound that is essential in the production of collagen, which helps keep our skin, teeth and blood vessels in a healthy condition. Its ability to enhance the salutary effects of other supplements makes it the perfect ally for anyone interested in it’s supplementation.

Key Facts

  • Although rare in North America, a severe deficiency of this vitamin can lead to scurvy, a terrible disease that can be lethal in its most severe form.
  • It is considered safe to supplement with vitamin C, although people with more sensitive organisms may suffer from intestinal discomfort during supplementation.
  • Vitamin C is an essential substance for the proper maintenance of a normal metabolism, which contributes to keeping our system’s collagen in good condition.

Ranking: The best vitamin C supplements on the U.S. market

In this following section, we have ranked the very best vitamin C supplements available to Americans right now. By analysing factors such as quality, price, and user reviews, we came up with a comprehensive selection so that you can find the product that’s right for you.

No. 1: NOW Foods — Vitamin C – Sustained Release (tablets)

This formula from NOW Foods that contains 1,000 mg of vitamin C is one of the most popular vitamin C supplements in the American market. This high quality formula has been specially formulated to provide a sustained release of vitamin C, which is known for its vital role in supporting a healthy immune system. This formula includes rose hips, for better bio-availability and as an added source of vitamin C. This product is certified vegan/vegetarian, Quality GMP Assured, Non-GMO, Soy Free and Kosher, making it a great supplement for anyone.

GMP Quality Assured: NOW closely adheres to both mandatory U.S. FDA Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) regulations and voluntary Natural Products Association (NPA) Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) regulations. Good manufacturing practices to ensure compliance with sanitation, processing, documentation, and testing requirements that are designed to promote consistent, highly reproducible product quality and safety. This product is packaged in the USA by a family owned and operated company since 1968.

No. 2: Viva Naturals — Premium Non-GMO Vitamin C (vegetable capsules)

This product is a number 1 best seller on Amazon in the United States, with thousands of positive reviews from Americans all over the country. This manufacturers vitamin C contains premium Quali-C from Scotland, made by one of the world’s leading providers of this essential nutrient. Each batch is third-party tested for quality, providing a healthy 1,000 mg dose of immunity supporting vitamin C. This blend includes citrus bioflavonoids and rose hips, giving you additional antioxidant support with each and every serving. This formula is meant to help fight free radicals.

Viva Naturals vitamin C fires up your antioxidant action, helping you fight back against cell-damaging free radicals. You will also get the added benefit that it supports collagen production for healthier nails, hair and joints. Keep in mind that collagen is the holy grail of healthy hair, skin, nails and joints, and adding a high-quality vitamin C to your wellness routine can help your body make more of it. Last but not least, we should mention these capsules are both non-GMO and veggie-friendly, making them an easy addition to any wellness practice or dietary lifestyle.

No. 3: Amazon Elements — Vitamin C Vegan (tablets)

This product is manufactured by Arizona Nutritional Supplements (ANS) and sold by Amazon. Amazon has chosen this supplier because they have more than 20 years of experience in the world of dietary supplements and they are known for their high quality standards and thorough evaluation of products and ingredients at every stage. This container provides you with about 6 months of supplements, making it a great option for continuous supplementation. This product comes with a neat feature where you can scan the QR code on the bottle, and you will get a detailed description of each ingredient in the product and its origins.

Keep in mind that very batch of Amazon Elements supplements is tested to be sure every product meets their standards. These standards are developed using United States federal guidelines and thorough scientific analysis. This is also done to measure the supplement’s strength at production, remember that some ingredients may degrade over time, strength may decrease. This system also verifies that your supplement contains the exact ingredient the label says it contains and that the finished product does not contain GMOs. Last but not least, this shows that certain microbiological and chemical contaminants are not present above recognized safety standards.

No. 4: Nature Made — Vitamin C (tablets)

As we have already mentioned, Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps support the immune system and helps neutralize free radicals in the body. Additionally, vitamin C is necessary for the body to manufacture collagen, which is important for healthy skin. Nature Made Vitamin C 1000 mg is ideal for those looking to supplement their diet, if it is low in fruit and vegetables, to meet daily vitamin C nutrient needs. This products contains 300 tablets, containing over half a year worth of the supplement. This supplement contains no artificial flavors – no color added – no preservatives – no yeast or starch and it is Gluten Free. For 45 years, Nature Made has made quality their number one priority.

From ingredient sourcing, to one of the industry-leading manufacturing practices, to their third-party verification approach, it is clear they believe it is their responsibility to lead in delivering quality products and a quality consumer experience to North Americans. The manufacturer recommends to take one tablet daily, with a meal. For easier swallowing, take with water before and during ingestion. Moreover, Nature Made works with USP, an independent organization that tests for quality and purity. The Nature Made difference is easy to see – just look for the USP Verified Mark on the label of our products.

No. 5: Garden of Life — Code Raw Vitamin C Vegan Supplement (capsules)

Last but not least, this option from Garden of Life: Vitamin Code RAW Vitamin C supplies 500mg (830% Daily Value) of whole food vitamin C with bioflavonoids, blended in a base of 23 fruits and vegetables with live probiotics and enzymes. RAW Vitamin C also uses no high heat, synthetic binders or fillers, artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors or additives commonly used in tablets. This is vegan, whole food nutrition for supplementing vitamin C. The manufacturer suggest adults take 2 capsules daily, which may be taken with or without food.

Moreover, capsules may be opened and contents may be added to water or raw juice, this is not intended for children. This supplement is a whole food supplement that works to provide Immune system support; healthy heart; healthy skin & eyes; support for healthy digestion with live probiotics & enzymes. As with any dietary supplement, consult your healthcare practitioner before using this product, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, anticipate surgery, take medication on a regular basis or are otherwise under medical supervision.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about vitamin C

Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C is one of the most popular vitamins in the nutrition sector in North America. It is essential for the maintenance of body tissues, the development of immunity and the protection of neuronal tissue. Since our body cannot produce this substance on its own, it must be obtained through our diet.

Your diet can positively or negatively affect your behaviour.
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In 1749, a Scottish doctor named James Lind discovered that a substance found in citrus fruits could be used to cure scurvy, a disease common in sailors at the time. However, it was only in 1932 that Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi isolated this compound and gave it the current name of ascorbic acid or vitamin C.

Ascorbic acid deficiencies became a real problem and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands. Even though suffering from a severe lack of vitamin C in America today is very rare, it is still possible to find too low levels in certain individuals, particularly smokers for example.

What is vitamin C exactly?

The term vitamin is composed of the Latin word vita (life) along with the suffix amine (organic compound). It refers to a number of different substances that regulate the enzymatic and hormonal activity of the human organism. These vitamins must be obtained through our diet, as our body cannot synthesize them on its own.

Vitamin C is part of a group of vitamins called water-soluble vitamins: these are vitamins that can dissolve in water. This class of vitamins – which also includes B vitamins – are characterized by how easily they are evacuated through urine in the event of excessive intake. This is the reason why it is deemed almost impossible to suffer from ascorbic acid poisoning.

The functions of vitamin C are connected with the stabilization and protection of different body tissues.
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Ascorbic acid is stored in the majority of body tissues, such as plasma, skin, neurons and glands. The highest concentration of vitamin C is retained by the suprarenal glands, the ovaries and testes. Experts believe that these specific organs require high amounts of vitamin C in order to produce hormones.

What are the different functions of vitamin C?

While its antioxidant properties are the most commonly known by the general public, the functions of ascorbic acid are actually more closely linked to the stabilization and protection of various body tissues. We summed up its main functions in the following list:

  • Neural protection: Mature neurons consume huge amounts of vitamin C to protect themselves from oxidative stress generated by their frenetic activity.
  • L-carnitine synthesis: Vitamin C is an important cofactor for the creation of L-carnitine. This amino acid plays an important role in energy metabolism, accelerating the burning of fat that is then transformed into energy.
  • Cutaneous enzymatic defence: Vitamins C and E work together to capture and eliminate free radicals partly responsible for the ageing of our skin.
  • Melanogenesis inhibition: Melanogenesis – the creation of pigmented cells, or melanocytes – is inhibited by vitamin C, preventing the formation of patches on the skin, such as chloasma or age spots.
  • Production of intercellular matter: This matter acts as a cement by binding cells and tissues and providing stability to the body’s components.
  • Iron absorption: Vitamin C is able to bind to iron molecules (either through diet or supplementation), altering its structure to support its absorption in the intestinal tract.
  • Protection of the cardiac system: Experts believe that ascorbic acid can have an antioxidant effect on LDL or bad cholesterol, avoiding its oxidation and subsequent accumulation in the arteries that may give rise to the feared atheroma or cholesterol plaque.
  • Neural development: Studies have shown that brain tissue – in particular developing neurons – require large quantities of ascorbic acid to mature.
  • Collagen formation: Vitamin C promotes the expression of genes that regulate the production of collagen. It also acts as a cofactor in stabilizing the amino acids needed for the synthesis of this important compound which contributes to healthy skin, hair, teeth and joints.

Scientists are still investigating potential new functions of this vitamin, which is currently used as an experimental treatment for different allergies (such as hay fever), age-related macular degeneration, cystic fibrosis or even as possible anti-cancer therapy.

What is the recommended dose of vitamin C?

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of ascorbic acid has changed over the years. It was originally advised to consume 10 mg of vitamin C per day, which was considered enough to keep scurvy symptoms at bay. Nowadays, it is believed that an intake of 100 mg daily allows you to benefit from all the beneficial properties of this vitamin.

In reality, experts simply have not been able to determine whether there is an optimal dose that can be applied to the general population. The assumption is that the amount of vitamin C required by our organism varies from individual to individual, depending on genetic differences, disease and each person’s metabolic rate.

People who follow diets rich in fruits and vegetables have an ascorbic acid intake ranging between 200 and 250 mg per day. These individuals tend to have reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and an increased life expectancy.

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Consuming 100 to 250 mg of vitamin C every day would therefore offer the greatest health benefits.

How is vitamin C absorbed?

While ascorbic acid can be administered intravenously, it is most frequently obtained through diet or oral supplementation. In those cases, the absorption of ascorbic acid is primarily intestinal and has a high rate, reaching 90% – if the vitamin is ingested in small amounts throughout the day.

On the other hand, the absorption rate of the substance when administering a very high dose (around 1,000-2,000 mg) is drastically reduced to 40%. Not only that, most of the vitamin C that our body obtains this way won’t exert its beneficial effect and will be eliminated in our urine in the next few hours.

Citrus fruits have high levels of vitamin C.
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This is why, to ensure proper and optimal absorption of this substance, it is advised to use small doses of vitamin C (30-100 mg) spread throughout the day. Your organism has the ability to store up to 2,000 mg of ascorbic acid, excreting the surplus of vitamin C and preventing its excess from accumulating.

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Did you know that the majority of mammals are capable of generating vitamin C from other nutrients? Humans, however, are unable to produce this compound and must obtain it through diet.

What are the consequences of vitamin C deficiency?

It was during the 15th and 16th centuries that the lack of vitamin C was most problematic, causing the illness and death of countless sailors who embarked on adventures and spent months in ships without access to fresh food (especially citrus). This state of deficiency is what we called scurvy.

There are two different phases in scurvy, the first one manifesting itself as unexplained fatigue. It may also come with a metabolic imbalance that favors weight gain and eventual obesity. This type of hypovitaminosis C is the most frequently found in our North America.

Vitamin C is found in a great variety of foods.
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The second stage of scurvy, which will occur if ascorbic acid deficiency intensifies, is potentially lethal. In America nowadays, this phase is particularly rare, only affecting individuals suffering from extreme malnutrition. Here are the symptoms and signs of this stage of scurvy:

  • Apathy, sadness and psychiatric disorders: Ascorbic acid is essential for the maintenance of neuronal health. A lack of this substance will lead to a series of psychiatric and neurological symptoms, ranging from simple apathy to paranoia and hypochondria.
  • Severe infections: To develop the enzymatic compounds responsible for fighting infections, our immune system requires large amounts of ascorbic acid. The lack of this substance will therefore influence our risk of suffering from a number of diseases.
  • Weakened gums and teeth:When intercellular joints become fragile, gums bleed easily and teeth can fall out.
  • Fatigue and weakness: It is difficult to obtain energy without ascorbic acid, leading to the appearance of asthenia or tiredness.
  • Anaemia: Anaemia can be triggered by bleeding and difficulty absorbing iron may be caused by a vitamin C deficiency.
  • Difficulty in healing wounds: Vitamin C is essential for the healing process and the synthesis of collagen. Without it, wounds may not heal or they may do so very slowly.
  • Bleeding and spontaneous haemorrhages: The blood vessels are weakened and will bleed easily with the deterioration of the intercellular cement that binds the cells together.

Who is at high risk of suffering from vitamin C deficiencies?

The majority of Americans have sufficient levels of vitamin C, this is due in great part to the increased availability of fresh foods, as well as the vitamin supplements found in most packaged foods. That being said, up to 5% of the population may suffer from hypovitaminosis C, with the following groups being most at risk:

  • Eating disorders: People following very restrictive diets – such as those with anorexia nervosa – may suffer from ascorbic acid deficiency.
  • Restrictive diets:There have been reports of hypovitaminosis C in individuals that suffer from allergies and whose diets have little variety. This also applies to people who do not consume enough fruits and vegetables for any reason are also facing a higher risk of suffering from scurvy.
  • Alcoholics: People who consume alcohol excessively tend to suffer from numerous nutritional deficiencies, including vitamin C.
  • Women taking oral contraceptives: The use of such contraceptives has been linked with a decrease in vitamin C levels in women.
  • Smokers: Regular smokers face an increased probability of suffering from ascorbic acid deficiency (18% vs. 5% of the general population).
  • Dependent persons: Children and elderly people need a daily supply of ascorbic acid. Their diets should be carefully planned, or they will be at risk of suffering from vitamin C deficiency.

Individuals in these groups should be particularly attentive to the onset of scurvy symptoms. The good news is that this condition is very easy to treat: consuming vitamin C-rich foods or supplements will relieve symptoms in as little as 24 hours.

Terry MartinDirector of the Delphi Smoking Cessation Forum

“It is estimated that smokers require an extra daily intake of 35 mg of vitamin C compared to non-smokers.”

What foods are rich in vitamin C?

Varying amounts of ascorbic acid can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits and berries present particularly high contents of vitamin C, as do certain vegetables like broccoli. The following table indicates the content of the foods richest in vitamin C:

Food (100 grams) Vitamin C content (mg) % RDA (100 mg)
Murunga 3,000 3,000%
Acerola 1,600 1,600%
Guava 300 300%
Blackcurrant 200 200%
Red capsicum 190 190%
Parsley 130 130%
Kiwi fruit 90 90%
Grape 90 90%
Broccoli 80 80%
Brussel sprouts 80 80%
Green capsicum 60 60%
Kaki 60 60%
Papaya 60 60%
Strawberry 60 60%
Orange 50 50%
Lemon 40 40%
Grapefruit 30 30%
Spinach 30 30%
Cabbage 30 30%
Potato (with skin) 20 20%

It’s important that you keep in mind that the ascorbic acid values in the table above represent the content found in raw foods. Cooking fruits and vegetables will alter their vitamin C content, reducing it in most cases. This is why you are strongly encouraged to consume these foods raw or undercooked.

That being said, certain foods cannot be eaten raw, such as potatoes. In that case, you are advised to cook them for as little time as possible, preferably using cooking methods that preserve the vitamins the most. One useful tip is, for instance, to bake your potatoes with the skin, as this preserves a higher content of ascorbic acid compared to peeled potatoes.

Lemons are ideal if you want to increase your vitamin C intake.
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What are the benefits of a healthy intake of vitamin C?

A diet rich in ascorbic acid will help maintain your body’s homeostasis – its ability to preserve internal balance. The consumption of vitamin C offers various benefits, which will appear within a few hours or days after ingestion. The condition of your skin, brain, bones an immune system are all positively affected by the presence of vitamin C:

  • Prevention of ageing: Vitamin C reduces the deterioration of your skin and other tissues, hence slowing down the ageing process.
  • Lower uric acid levels: Excess uric acid is linked to the appearance of diseases such as gout. Various research has shown that vitamin C intake can decrease uric acid levels in the blood.
  • Cutaneous protection: The ascorbic acid stored in your skin protects the epidermis from the negative action of sunlight and radiation.
  • Healing of ulcers, burns and other wounds: High vitamin C levels contribute to the production of collagen and other skin components that are required for prompt wound healing.
  • Increased feeling of energy and vitality: High enough ascorbic acid supplies will contribute to your normal energy metabolism and will counteract both fatigue and apathy.
  • Reduction of cardiovascular risks: Vitamin C can reduce your risk of cardiovascular complications by avoiding the oxidation and deposition of atheromatous plaques.
  • Reduction in the symptoms of anaemia: A diet rich in vitamin C favors the absorption of iron, hence alleviating anaemic symptoms. This is particularly interesting for vegan and vegetarian individuals, since the iron found in plant foods is absorbed with more difficulty than that of animal products.
  • Weight control: Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of L-carnitine and for the correct metabolism of fats. Optimal ascorbic acid levels boost lipolysis (fat burning) and contribute to controlling body weight.
  • Reduction of convalescence period: Certain studies have demonstrated a correlation between high ascorbic acid consumption and a shorter length of the disease, as well as less intense symptoms.

There are still many studies on vitamin C underway. It is possible that this substance can also slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, alleviate the symptoms of numerous allergic reactions, treat chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), or act as an analgesic. The latest research on ascorbic acid are indeed very promising.

Who should take a vitamin C supplement?

You are always encouraged to obtain your daily intake of vitamin C directly from a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. That being said, the daily demands of the American dream – for instance a strenuous work schedule or insufficient time to cook – can make it very hard for you to meet your RDA. This is when vitamin C supplements come in handy, as you can easily add them to your diet.

Smokers who take oral contraceptives or those who are trying to lose weight will greatly benefit from ascorbic acid supplements. Individuals who suffer from anaemia can also take vitamin C to promote the absorption of iron from their diet or medical treatment, therefore speeding their recovery.

Vitamin C significantly increases our well-being.
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Finally, a positive relation was identified between ascorbic acid supplementation and a decrease in high blood pressure. Researchers have indeed observed a reduction of 5 mm Hg of diastolic pressure and a drop of 1.5 mmHg of systolic pressure in hypertensive patients. This proves that vitamin C intake may help control hypertension.

Dr. Josh AxeClinical Nutritionist & Health Author

“Interestingly enough, one study actually found that consuming 100 milligrams of vitamin C alongside a meal increased iron absorption by a whopping 67 percent.”

What types of vitamin C supplements are there?

If you simply cannot reach your ascorbic acid RDA through your diet only, you are encouraged to use supplements. You’ll find different types of vitamin C supplements on American markets, making it easier for you to get a product that is tailored to your personal needs. Here is a list of the most common types of supplements and how they work:

  • Topical vitamin C: You can also find ascorbic acid creams and powders on the market. These products are purely for cosmetic use. The work by contributing to blurring appearing spots and skin tone irregularities. This method only allows a minimal quantity of vitamin C to pass into your blood.
  • Vitamin C bound to minerals or salts: Vitamin C is sometimes associated with minerals such as zinc, calcium or magnesium. This form is much more tolerable for the stomach and is recommended for individuals suffering from intestinal discomfort after taking ascorbic acid supplements.
  • Ascorbic acid: This is the original form of vitamin C. It is available in its natural form and as an artificial formula. The effectiveness and degree of absorption of both types of ascorbic acid are very similar. Note that they can be hard to digest and produce diarrhoea or heartburn, especially in high doses.
  • Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: Bioflavonoids are plant-based compounds that confer antioxidant properties and promote the absorption of vitamin C.

Individuals seeking to enhance their vitamin C absorption should therefore focus on ascorbic acid-based supplements, or products with bioflavonoids. On the other hand, people who regularly suffer from heartburn should opt for supplements with vitamin C and mineral salts.

The latest studies on vitamin C are very promising.
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How should I take my vitamin C supplement?

The majority of manufacturers recommend taking the supplement once a day – be it in capsule, liquid, powder or effervescent tablet form. However, you can actually increase your body’s absorption by taking several smaller doses throughout the day: three ascorbic acid doses with your meals, for instance, will lead to higher absorption.

As you can imagine, it is more difficult to divide capsules and tablets into various doses. In that case, we recommend you opt for supplements in powder or liquid form. Consuming 100-150 mg of vitamin C with each of the three main meals is considered to be the most effective way to increase your levels of this substance.

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Since this vitamin is water-soluble, you are not obliged to take it with food. This means that its degree of absorption isn’t affected by the way you consume it. However, vitamin C ingested on an empty stomach can lead to intestinal discomfort, which is why experts recommend taking it with food.

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Since vitamin C is water-soluble, it does not accumulate in your body for long periods of time. This is the reason why you should have a daily intake to maintain its optimum levels.

Can vitamin C supplements cure or prevent colds?

It is true that many people believe that vitamin C intake can alleviate cold and flu symptoms. In reality, the relationship between ascorbic acid and infectious processes is quite controversial, and no studies have been able to prove that its intake can actually help prevent these diseases.

Vitamin C supplementation has also been trialled on people already sick with the flu or a cold, but the results were hardly positive. None of the studies carried out could prove a reduction in illness time or reduction in nasal congestion or discomfort associated with the catarrhal process.

Three small doses with meals will provide a higher absorption of vitamin C.
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That being said, it does not mean that ascorbic acid is useless against all infections. There have been reports of a significant reduction of the severity of catarrhal processes after supplementing with vitamin C in individuals subjected to excessive stress – a factor that increases our probability of getting sick.

Can vitamin C supplements trigger or bring forward menstruation?

It appears that ascorbic acid can oppose the actions of progesterone, the female hormone responsible for the changes in uterine tissue, by preparing it to receive the embryo in the event of successful fertilisation. Menstruation occurs when the levels of this substance fall below a certain value.

This is probably the reason why many women consume vitamin C-rich foods or ascorbic acid supplements to induce menstruation and alleviate the discomfort associated with the premenstrual phase of the cycle. These include breast pain, abdominal swelling and irritability, amongst others.

Janet Zand and Robert RountreeMedical Doctors &
Authors of Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child

“Vitamin C is a mild anti-inflammatory that may help decrease menstrual discomfort.”

In reality, no research has been able to back up the fact that ascorbic acid induces menstruation. However, many women claim that supplementing with high doses (about 1-2 grams) of vitamin C is helpful in alleviating the discomfort associated with premenstrual tension.

Is it possible to consume too much vitamin C?

The water-soluble properties of ascorbic acid mean that all excess is eliminated in the urine of healthy individuals who do not suffer from kidney dysfunction. It is therefore virtually impossible to be poisoned with vitamin C, and this regardless of the quantity taken.

However, there is still a maximum recommended amount of 2 grams of this substance per day. When excessively high amounts of this acid compounds are consumed, it can lead to intestinal discomfort such as gastroesophageal reflux, stomach pain, difficult digestion, diarrhoea and vomiting.

You should always consult with a health professional before starting supplementation.
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Individuals suffering from different types of kidney disease – such as chronic kidney failure – should always check with a healthcare professional before supplementing with vitamin C. Affected kidneys may be unable to remove excess ascorbic acid, worsening the state of the existing disease.

Are there contraindications linked with vitamin C supplementation?

Ascorbic acid supplements are considered safe in most cases, and they can be used by the vast majority of the population without potential side effects. However, individuals from the following at-risk groups should be cautious and consult their doctor before using any vitamin C supplement:

  • Individuals suffering from specific endocrine and enzyme disorders: Some rare genetic diseases, such as G6PD deficiency, may be aggravated by the use of ascorbic acid supplements.
  • Individuals with high levels of oxalates in urine: Oxalates are small crystals found in urine that may form kidney stones and obstruct the flow of urine. The consumption of ascorbic acid can contribute to the appearance of new kidney stones in people with a predisposition.
  • Individuals with excessively high iron levels in the blood: A common symptom amongst several blood pathologies – such as thalassemia – is an unwanted increase in iron levels. This mineral can build up in vital organs such as the heart, lungs, liver and brain; increased iron absorption is therefore not recommended.

Pregnant and lactating women face another relative contraindication. It is true that ascorbic acid supplementation has been used successfully to prevent the onset of gestational hypertension in pregnant women; however, supplementing without clinical supervision is not advised for these women, and a thorough medical guidance is necessary.

How much do vitamin C supplements cost?

Ascorbic acid supplements tend to be very affordable for Americans, it’s prices ranging from 10 to 25 dollars. The great news is that the price isn’t generally affected by the manufacturer’s brand, but rather by the amount of tablets or powder quantity found in the product.

There are other factors that may lead to an increase in the final price of the supplement. These include the addition of elements beneficial for the body such as minerals and other vitamins, antioxidant compounds, plant extracts or probiotics. Zinc, for instance, is often used as a remedy for colds and respiratory tract diseases.

Shopping Criteria

In North America today there are a large number of vitamin C supplements available on the market. It is therefore difficult to choose a product that perfectly suits the individual needs of each buyer. Our purchase criteria can help you narrow your search and find the perfect supplement for you.

  • Pharmacological interactions
  • Allergens
  • Vegan or vegetarian nutrition
  • Dosage form
  • Combination with other supplements
  • Value for you money

Pharmacological interactions

Vitamin C can interact with a number of different medications, dramatically altering their absorption and effectiveness. The following table will show you the interactions most frequently observed as a result of combining ascorbic acid supplements with drugs:

Medicine Result of interaction with vitamin C
Antacids with aluminium (Almax®) Increased aluminium absorption
Oestrogen (contraceptives) Increased oestrogen activity
Antipsychotics (Fluphenazine) Decreased quantity of medicine in blood
Chemotherapy Decreased effects of chemotherapy (suspected, currently under study)
Anti-HIV medication Reduced time of activity of the medication
Statins (hypercholesterolemia treatment) Reduction of the effectiveness of the medicine (suspected)
Niacin (vitamin B3) Decreased niacin effects
Warfarin (anticoagulant) Decreased medicine effectiveness
Paracetamol Increased time required to eliminate the medicine
Aspirin Increased time required to eliminate the medicine
Nifedipine Increased time required to eliminate the medicine

These effects are not considered to be particularly severe and should not generally pose a threat to your health. That being said, you are encouraged to wait two hours between taking the medicines above and any vitamin C supplement. As always, you should also check with your doctor before taking ascorbic acid in combination with any treatment.

Allergens

Ascorbic acid supplements rarely provoke allergic reactions. However, there have been reports of hypersensitivity reactions after an excessive consumption of vitamin C supplements. The artificial components bound to the vitamin may also lead to allergic manifestations.

You may see allergic symptoms within minutes or hours after taking the vitamin C supplement, the most common of which are: itching of the skin, swelling of the face, lips or mouth, appearance of rashes, difficulty breathing, vomiting and headache. It is essential that you seek immediate medical attention should you feel any of the above manifestations.

Vitamin C plays an essential role in strengthening your immune system.
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Vegan or vegetarian nutrition

Vegan and vegetarian individuals will have no difficulty finding ascorbic acid supplements, as this substance can also be obtained from foods of plant origin. That being said, you should always be particularly careful with the other ingredients that make up the product: certain elements of animal origin are found as part of the capsule or as an excipient.

The very best vegan supplements tend to feature a vegan seal of quality on the product, indicating that it has been thoroughly examined and that no animal elements were found inside. This seal of quality provides a practical, comfortable and safe way to know that the supplement you’re buying is perfectly suitable for your vegan or vegetarian diet.

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Dosage format

You should not forget to consider the format in which ascorbic acid is administered if you want to choose the product that’s best tailored to your needs. As we’ve mentioned before, various dosage forms are available on the North American markets. We’ve listed the most popular and used formats for you below:

  • Shakes, drinkable vials: You can also buy vitamin C in its liquid form, facilitating its intake. This will also allow you to divide it into smaller doses.
  • Effervescent tablets: The ease of use and storage of this dosage form are very similar to that of capsules and tablets, yet they are easier to ingest as they should be dissolved in liquid. The quality of the product will influence its taste.
  • Intravenous: This form of vitamin C is only available for medical use. It is used as a semi-experimental medication to treat severe diseases such as Parkinson’s or cystic fibrosis.
  • Capsules or tablets: This option is the most comfortable and simple to administer. However, the majority of tablets come in an excessive dose (about 1 gram), far exceeding the RDA of 250 mg.
  • Powder: Storing and using this dosage format is more complicated than others, as it needs to be dissolved in liquid and mixed before you can take it. However, the fact that it is so easy to dose greatly increases its value for your money.

All supplements, regardless of their dosage format, should be stored at room temperature (unless the manufacturer’s instructions state otherwise), away from sunlight and extreme heat. The good news is that their shelf life is very long, which means that they can be stored for years without losing their properties, as long as their packaging is kept in optimal condition.

The United States market has many different vitamin C supplements available for you.
(Source: andriano: 73544804/123rf.com)

Combination with other supplements

One of the greatest properties of ascorbic acid is that it can be combined with other supplements to increase both of their salutary effects. In the table below, we’ve briefly explained the different supplement combinations you can do, and what effects they will have on your organism:

Combination Effect Usefulness
Vitamin C + Vitamin E Increased antioxidant capacity Decreased cardiovascular risk (reduced oxidation of atheroma plaques).
Vitamin C + Vitamin D Increased antioxidant capacity and tissue regeneration Decreased cardiovascular risk (reduced oxidation of atheroma plaques), quicker wound healing, maintenance of bone health.
Vitamin C + Collagen Increased tissue regeneration Improved skin appearance, rapid healing, prevention of ageing, accelerated healing of bone fractures.
Vitamin C + Magnesium Increased collagen synthesis Improved skin appearance, prevention of ageing.
Vitamin C + L-carnitine Increased overall L-carnitine levels Increased energy levels and destruction of fat.
Vitamin C + Selenium Increased ossification Prevention of osteoporosis
Vitamin C + Zinc Regulation of immunity Reduction of rhinorrhoea (runny nose) and flu symptoms

Many manufacturers produce supplements that directly include some of the combinations mentioned above, allowing you to consume both compounds in a single capsule. You can also simply buy both supplements separately and take them at the same time: the end result will be exactly the same.

Value for your money

Ascorbic acid supplements often provide very high doses of vitamin C (500-1,000 mg). Please bear in mind that the RDA for vitamin C is 100-250 mg/day. We strongly encourage you to divide your intake into smaller doses, helping you get the most out of your supplement. You’ll save a lot of money while getting the same health benefits.

Summary

Vitamin C is one of the most popular supplements in North America, and it really shouldn’t be missing from your diet. Ascorbic acid can offer countless benefits to your body, helping you achieve optimal health in a very short time. You’ll find this substance extremely useful, whether you want to increase your energy, improve the appearance of your skin or overcome apathy.

We hope our guide on vitamin C has helped you better understand this substance. You should now know exactly how to make the most of ascorbic acid supplements, and how to get the best products at the best prices. Give this supplement a chance, and we’re ready to bet you’ll be more than pleased!

If you liked our article on vitamin C, feel free to share it on your social media, and leave us a comment in the section below.

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