By Arturo Galindo, Cert. Nutritional Therapist
To take vitamin C supplements is one the most important things you can do to fight disease and stay healthy . Enough vitamin C in the form that is right for you. In frequent enough doses. Every single day.
But what are the different forms of vitamin C? How do you know which vitamin C supplement works best for you?
There are many things to learn about vitamin C supplements. You can have a diet that is very high in vitamin C and that would be beneficial for your health.
But to unlock the powers of vitamin C to fight disease and stay healthy, you must take vitamin C supplements.
The scientific name of vitamin C is ascorbic acid. They are one and the same. All vitamin C supplements have ascorbic acid.
Now, the purest form of vitamin C is 100% ascorbic acid. This means that the vitamin C is not mixed with any other substances. But ascorbic acid is often mixed with other substances. And it comes in different forms or presentations.
Let’s explore the world of vitamin C supplements to help you decide what is best for you.
When vitamin C mixes with other substances it means it is “buffered”.
Below are some of the reasons why vitamin C is mixed with other nutrients or substances.
For example, sodium ascorbate is ascorbic acid mixed with sodium bicarbonate. This is to balance the PH or acidity and it is much easier on the stomach. This helps people that have problems taking only ascorbic acid.
An example is calcium ascorbate and magnesium ascorbate. These provide the body with extra calcium and magnesium.
Nutrients that can help enhance absorption include bioflavonoids and rose hips.
The addition of other nutrients can help treat specific chronic conditions. An example is the addition of the amino acid Lysine. This is for the treatment of heart disease as recommended by Dr. Linus Pauling, Nobel Laureate.
You can give your body the vitamin C it needs in different ways. You do not have to pick only one form. It’s OK to take different forms of vitamin C throughout the day.
The popular choices of vitamin C supplements are tablets, capsules, chewables and liquids.
But once you start taking more vitamin C, you want to incorporate other forms with least fillers. Other forms like powders and liposomes to help your body fight disease and stay healthy.
These forms offer convenience. You can carry tablets or capsules and have them more available than powders, gels or liquids. On the flip side, some of them have fillers and that may be a concern for some people.
Tablets compress the vitamin C powder in solid form. They have fillers to make sure the powder sticks together.
Tablets can also be slow release or time release. These forms help release the vitamin C over several hours after swallowing. It also helps with absorption over longer periods and increases average blood levels.
Capsules enclose the vitamin C powder in gelatin containers. They dissolve after swallowing and use less fillers than tablets.
Vitamin C powders are fine particles produced by grinding ascorbic acid crystals. Powders dissolve faster in smaller amounts of liquids, for example water or juice. Powders are as effective as the crystal form, and they also have the same sourness.
Vitamin C crystals are coarser than powders. Crystals take longer to dissolve in larger amounts of liquids. It has the same sourness as the powder form, and same effectiveness. Use of powders or crystals is a matter of personal preference.
Both powders and crystals offer an cheap way to deliver lots of vitamin C to your body. This is to make sure you will never have a deficiency of vitamin C in your body that predisposes you to disease.
Read my article about vitamin C powders to find more information, including what are the brands that my family use and trust.
This is the form of vitamin C that offers greatest potency and absorption by the body, when taken by mouth.
Liposomes are microscopic pockets of fat. They encapsulate the vitamin C and protects it from the digestive tract. This increases absorption by the body since the vitamin C goes straight to the blood cells.
Liposomal vitamin C is more expensive compared with tablets and powders. Adding liposomes to your daily intake of vitamin C is a good idea. If cost is a concern, you may want to buy it only when your body needs it most.
My article on liposomal vitamin C goes into more detail about this potent form of vitamin C, how it compares with other forms, and much more!
This form delivers ascorbic acid straight into the bloodstream via an intravenous injection. It’s a safe alternative therapy to help people struggling with long term illnesses. And also helps the body heal from chronic diseases.
It's also becoming a popular choice for many people who want to improve their health.
For example, IV Vitamin lounges are popping up across the country. These vitamin therapy places offer a blend of vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients. And vitamin C is an essential part.
These vitamin cocktails offer many benefits. Anti-aging, weight loss, energy boosters, recovery from hangovers, among many others benefits.
The best way for you to take vitamin C supplements depends on different factors. This includes your age, budget, dose amount, efficacy, convenience and personal preference.
For example, it may be difficult for children and older people to swallow pills. In this case, powders or crystals may be the only option.
Some people find powders and crystals taste different. This means you may prefer one over the other.
For greatest potency and protection, you may want to spend the extra money to get liposomal vitamin C.
Convenience, or easy access is also an important consideration. It's easier to carry tablets or capsules to work, or if you’re traveling.
The reality is that, once you're skilled at taking vitamin C, you'll start to use a combination of all forms. That’s what happened to me and many other people.
I use powders, crystals and tablets daily. And I take liposomal vitamin C as needed. For example, during flu and allergy season to better protect my body. I also always carry vitamin C tablets in my pocket.