Which Form of Vitamin C is Best?

Because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C isn’t stored by the body and must be continually replaced. Question is, what’s the best way to do this?

Many foods are rich in vitamin C, including oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, green peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and potatoes. Fruit juices and breakfast cereals are also often fortified with vitamin C. It’s relatively easy to obtain the recommended daily intake (RDI) by regularly consuming these foods.

To achieve therapeutic benefits, many people take higher doses of vitamin C, usually between 500 mg and 1,000 mg daily. Doses should be taken two to three times a day with meals. Always consult with a physician if you plan to take more than the RDI of any nutrient or when providing a child with any supplement.

Here are some common forms of vitamin C:

Ascorbic acid
Available in natural or synthetic form, as chewable tablets, capsules, liquids and powders. Studies show that natural and synthetic forms are chemically identical and show no difference in bioavailability or bioactivity. May irritate the stomach, especially when taken in high doses.

Buffered vitamin C
Consists of mineral salts of ascorbic acid. Less acidic and recommended for people who experience gastrointestinal problems with pure ascorbic acid. Calcium ascorbate is a popular form of buffered vitamin C and is said to be well absorbed and gentle on the stomach.

Vitamin C with bioflavonoids
Bioflavonoids are plant compounds that function as antioxidants. Some research suggests bioflavonoids increase the bioavailability of ascorbic acid.

Topical vitamin C
Concentrated serums can be applied directly to skin for protective antioxidant benefits. Used in anti-aging formulas. Recommended because little orally ingested vitamin C actually reaches skin.

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