Don’t Buy Vitamin C Until You’ve Read This

If you’re like most people, you’ve used Vitamin C to support your immune system (particularly over the last couple of years). ⁠ ⁠But did you know that there are a variety of different forms of Vitamin C, all with varying degrees of bioavailability? ⁠

The differences between various forms of Vitamin C need to be taken into consideration if you are:

  • Wanting to take higher doses
  • Supplementing with other products
  • Have certain health conditions that require you to watch your nutrient intake

Of course certain forms come with higher price tags, but in learning more about the absorption and side effects of various Vitamin C types, you’ll be able to make an informed choice.

1. Ascorbic Acid

Ascorbic acid is the form that Vitamin C takes within most foods. Vitamin C-rich foods include broccoli, sweet peppers, strawberries, and oranges. Ascorbic acid is well absorbed (around 85%) from foods and supplements making this a great choice from that perspective. However the downside of this form is that it can be acidic in the gut, and so not well-tolerated at higher doses. Side effects at higher doses include: diarrhoea, nausea, heartburn, fatigue, headache, gas and difficulties falling asleep.

2. Mineral Ascorbates

A “mineral ascorbate” refers to Vitamin C bound to a mineral such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, or potassium. In other words you will see “calcium ascorbate” or “magnesium ascorbate” etc. on the label. This is also known as “buffered” Vitamin C. Much like the name “buffered” suggests, this form may be gentler on the stomach and so better tolerated at higher doses. One big caveat however, is that you need to take into consideration the added minerals when you are taking higher doses. For example if you have issues with your kidneys, you will want to avoid high doses of potassium or sodium. It is best to check with your doctor if you have pre-existing health conditions before supplementing at higher doses.

3. Ester-C®

Ester-C® contains mostly calcium ascorbate, but also small amounts of Vitamin C metabolites. In literature from the manufacturers of Ester-C®, they state that these metabolites increase the bioavailability of the Vitamin C. Ester-C® is well tolerated at higher doses when compared to other forms of Vitamin C. It is also purported to have a higher bio-availability than other forms.

4. Liposomal Vitamin C

Liposomal Vitamin C refers to Vitamin C that is contained within a “liposome”. A liposome is a spherical vesicle that contains fats, mimics cell membranes within the body, and is absorbed directly across the gastro-intestinal lining. In this way Liposomes help to delivery Vitamin C more easily to your cells. Liposomal Vitamin C has been shown to be at least 1.77 times more bioavailable than other Vitamin C supplements. Whilst it often comes at a higher price tag, you effectively may get more “bang for your buck”. This form of Vitamin C is also significantly easier on your gut, which reduces the risk for gastrointestinal side effects such as bloating and diarrhoea.

Final Thoughts

The next time you’re browsing the aisles of your favourite health shop, you’ll make an empowered choice by first understanding the various types of Vitamin C products out there.

One final tip is to be wary of products where the type of Vitamin C isn’t described, as it will be anybody’s guess as to which form they’ve used, as well as the potential bio-availability or side effects you’ll experience.

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