Best Vitamin C Supplements to Take

woman taking vitamin c pills

"Drink your orange juice; you need to get your vitamin C." It is something you probably grew up hearing from your parents, right?

Well, when you get older, your need for vitamin C does not decline.

If anything, taking care of your nutritional needs becomes more important than ever.

Vitamin C is also referred to as “ascorbic” acid. It is a vital nutrient and a powerful antioxidant.

While it is found in many foods and beverages, many people could use more vitamin C.

To that end, you can take a vitamin C supplement.

In this guide, we will help you to choose a vitamin C supplement which fits your needs and which will provide you with quality at an affordable price.

But first, let’s learn more about what vitamin C supplements can do for you, what to look for in vitamin C tablets, and how to take them safely and effectively.

What Can a Vitamin C Supplement Do For You?

Vitamin C has numerous health benefits backed by scientific research:

  • Prevent and treat the common cold (1).
  • Boost iron absorption (2).
  • Prevent scurvy (3).
  • Decrease the chances of urinary tract infections (4).
  • Possibly prevent cardiovascular disease (5).
  • Potentially prevent Alzheimer’s in conjunction with vitamin E (6).
  • Fight oxidative stress and the effects of aging (7).
  • Possibly reduce your chances of getting cataracts (8).
  • Possibly slow age-related macular degeneration and subsequent vision loss (9).
  • Increase bone density (10).
  • Prevent muscle damage and soreness from exercise (11).
  • Boost mood and libido (12).
  • Improve blood flow (13).
  • Reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age lines (14).
  • Increase calcium absorption (15).

Learn more in our full guide to the Health Benefits of Vitamin C.

KEY POINT: Vitamin C supplementation can provide you with numerous health benefits. These can make you feel better in the short run while also having a protective effect on your long-term health.

​Our Best Vitamin C Supplements

How Much Vitamin C Can You Take?

It is recommended that you take 75-90 mg of vitamin C if you are an adult. If however you are attempting to treat a condition from the list above, you may want to augment your intake.

taking vitamin c by the spoon

The upper limit is set at 2,000 mg per day (17). So you can take a ton of vitamin C safely without ill effects.

With very high doses, there are some side effects you may encounter. These include gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, insomnia, and kidney stones.

Most people will not take enough vitamin C to run into these side effects.

In all likelihood, you will not experience any discomfort while you are supplementing. If you do, just reduce your dosage as needed.

KEY POINT: Vitamin C is among the safest supplements you can take. You can take a very high dosage before you encounter side effects.

Types of Vitamin C Supplements

You will find vitamin C in a number of different forms:

  • Ascorbic acid (this is the most common form)
  • Calcium ascorbate
  • Sodium ascorbate
  • Ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids
  • Mineral ascorbates
  • Liposomal-encapsulated vitamin C, i.e. Lypo-spheric™

All of these forms are equally effective (17) and easy to digest.

What is the Deal with Liposomal Vitamin C?

While researching vitamin C supplements, you have probably noticed that there is a big craze right now surrounding Liposomal-encapsulated vitamin C.

Indeed, one study (16) does indicate that this form of vitamin C may be easier for your body to absorb than other forms.

But right now there is still nothing definitive to say; more research is required on a larger scale to determine whether this type of vitamin C truly is superior to ascorbic acid.

Different Ways to Take Vitamin C

Vitamin C typically comes in tablet form, but you can also purchase gummy vitamins.

Some people particularly children find gummy vitamins easier and more enjoyable to take, though they do tend to cost more than the tablets.

Another form you can purchase vitamin C in is a powder which you can stir into water or juice for a drinkable beverage. This is another form which tends to be more expensive than tablets, but also may be more pleasant to take.

Vitamin C in beverage form is not necessarily always more expensive however. If you shop around, you can find some great options which provide you with high doses and excellent value as a result, like Nutribiotic Sodium Ascorbate Powder. I will tell you more about this product in the review section.

If you are specifically shopping for vitamin C for your skin, you also have the option of purchasing a topical serum.

KEY POINT: While vitamin C comes in many different forms, no form is definitively superior to any other. Choose a product which is affordable, provides you with the dosage you need, and comes in a form you like. For cost savings, tablets are the best choice.

What to Look for in a Vitamin C Supplement

holding vitamin c tablet on tongue

Since you do not need to be overly concerned about the form of vitamin C you are taking, what features are important to shop for?

The right dosage:

Research the condition you are trying to treat for recommendations on the amount of vitamin C to take. Purchase a product which can provide you with the dosage you need.

3 Studies PROVE Why Coconut Oil Kills Belly Fat (research update)

The right price:

Trying to figure out if you are getting the best value with vitamins involves some math.

You have to check

  1. how many vitamin C tablets are included in the supplement, and
  2. what the dosage is in each.

Sometimes products which appear to be a good deal are not, either because they do not contain a lot of tablets, or because each tablet does not contain a lot of vitamin C, forcing you to go through them quickly.

Sustained release:

Some vitamin C tablets have a sustained release formula. They have a coating which slowly dissolves as you digest the vitamin, resulting in a timed, gradual release of nutrition as the day progresses.

This can boost delivery, resulting in better absorption and greater benefits.

Freshness (for gummies):

Gummies may have a shorter shelf-life than tablets, so make sure that the supplements you are getting are fresh.

If you are buying the gummies online, check user reviews to see if the supplements were fresh when they were delivered.

Taste (for gummies and beverages):

For the gummy form of vitamin C or a drink mix, you will want to shop for a product which has a delicious flavor.

Otherwise taking it will be unpleasant, and you will be discouraged from keeping up with your supplementation.

Sugar content:

Some gummy products have sugar coatings. This prevents the gummies from sticking together.

But sugar is bad for you, and depending on your intake and your dietary goals, you may not wish to add any more to your diet.

So if it is important for you to avoid added sugar, make sure you check the ingredients carefully to ensure you will not be getting any.

Buffering:

Some vitamin C supplements are "buffered," which means that they contain some additional ingredients to make them easier for your body to digest.

Typically this means one or more minerals such as calcium, sodium or magnesium. Essentially, this helps to balance out the pH of the vitamin C so that it will not be overly acidic.

Overall, buffering is a good thing, though you may want to be mindful of what minerals are used (if you are already too high on sodium, for example, you would not want to be taking more).

Purity:

Sugar is not the only unwanted additive that can end up in vitamin C supplements.

Typically the cheaper supplements are going to include more fillers. You will have to weigh your priorities to decide whether you are willing to pay more to avoid these.

Generally speaking, the purer a supplement is, the better it is going to be for your health.

Ease of application and texture (for serums):

Thinking of purchasing a topical serum for use on your skin?

Reading customer reviews will let you know what the product feels like (some serums may feel too greasy to some customers) and what kinds of results you can expect from the topical application.

KEY POINT: While any form of vitamin C can be effective, not all supplements are equal in terms of quality and value. So do your research. Read up on the key features of the products you are considering and check customer reviews for some qualitative feedback on use and efficacy.

How to Take a Vitamin C Supplement

holding vitamin c tablet to mouth

The correct way to take a vitamin C supplement depends on the format of the supplement.

To take vitamin C tablets:

Use as directed. Take the dosage recommended on the bottle. Vitamin C tablets are best digested with a full meal.

To take vitamin C gummies:

Take as recommended by the directions (often 2 a day). Chew your gummies completely before you swallow them.

To take vitamin C in a drink mix:

Pour a full glass of water and add a packet of vitamin C drink mix. Stir it up so that the mixture dissolves completely.

The mixture will be fizzy; if you want, you can wait for the fizz to go down a bit, or you can drink it as it is. It is totally up to you.

Note that vitamin C drink mixes are relatively easy to digest, and you can take vitamin C this way without a meal.

But if you experience acid reflux, vitamin C drink mix on an empty stomach may trigger an episode, so you may want to eat something anyway.

To use a vitamin C skin serum:

Follow the directions on the bottle. In most cases, it is recommended to apply the serum to your skin daily after exfoliating.

You may also wish to follow up with a moisturizer to prevent dry or flaking skin. Use the serum for at least 6-8 weeks before you attempt to measure the results.

Additional Tips:

  • If you are taking vitamin C specifically to increase your absorption of iron, make sure that you are taking it at the same time as your iron supplements or food which is rich in iron.
  • If you use a timed-release formula, you should be able to take the vitamin C any time during the day and experience the same benefit.
  • If you are taking vitamin C to help increase calcium absorption, take it at the same time as calcium.

Cautions:

  • High doses of vitamin C may interact adversely with blood-thinning medications. Consult with a doctor before use.
  • As vitamin C may also affect blood sugar, diabetes patients may wish to consult with a doctor in case alterations to insulin or other drugs are required.
  • Vitamin C supplements may alter blood pressure. If you are on medications for blood pressure, you may also need to make adjustments.
  • There are a number of other medications and herbal supplements which vitamin C may interfere with. Mayo Clinic has a full list here which you may consult.

KEY POINT: Vitamin C is extremely safe for most users, but it is important to follow the directions and also to make sure that you will not experience any adverse interactions with medications you may be taking.

Vitamin C Supplement Action Tips
  • Research the condition you are attempting to treat to determine the optimal dosage.
  • Remember to check both the dosage amount and the number of tablets in a bottle to gauge the relative cost of a vitamin C supplement.
  • Choose a format (tablet, gummy, etc.) which you find pleasant to take and affordable for your needs.
  • Watch out for added sugar in some vitamin C supplements (particularly gummy products).
  • Avoid vitamin C on an empty stomach, even in liquid form. If you have a buffered supplement, acid reflux is less likely to be an issue, but it may still occur.
  • Always look up potential interactions before taking vitamin C.
  • Time your intake to boost calcium or iron absorption as needed.

A Quick Note About Reading Customer Reviews for Vitamin C Supplements

man holding question mark

While researching vitamin C products to recommend, I have noticed that a lot of buyers tend to fixate in their reviews on the supposed health benefits they have enjoyed.

This is understandable, but you should use your critical thinking skills while you are reading the reviews to evaluate them.

Vitamin C does have proven benefits, but it is not a miracle cure for the common cold or any other malady.

Furthermore, there is no way for the reviewers to be certain that the vitamin C supplement they have purchased is wholly responsible for the health benefits they have observed. Other dietary and lifestyle factors also can play a role.

The bottom line is that you already are familiar with the health benefits of vitamin C, so while reading the reviews, you should pay attention to comments which are specific to the supplement.

That means looking for comments regarding pricing, flavor, ingredients, digestibility, and so on.

These are all points which customers can concretely discuss with evidence from their experiences.

They cannot prove to you that one particular vitamin C supplement has spared them from a cold or flu for the past five years but they can speak to how easy it is to swallow and digest.

With that in mind, we can proceed to the next section: the reviews.

KEY POINT: While reading customer reviews for vitamin C supplements, keep your focus on information which pertains specifically to the supplements—not the overarching benefits of vitamin C.

Top Recommended
Vitamin C Supplements

Now that you know how to shop for vitamin C supplements, let’s take a look at top products in each category based on ​quality factors, popularity and customer reviews.

​1. NOW Foods Vitamin C-1000 Sustained Release
with Rose Hips

​Good option for sustained release

If you are looking for a product which will offer you sustained release, another supplement you can try is this one from NOW foods.

As of the time of this review, this very popular product has more than 640 customer ratings​.

  • 250 tablets
  • 1,000 mg
  • Sustained release formula delivers vitamin C to your body throughout the day
  • Vegetarian formula
  • Full ingredients list: Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid), Rose Hips Powder, Cellulose, Magnesium Stearate (vegetable source), Vegetable Coating
  • Contains no: salt, sugar, yeast, wheat, starch, soy, gluten, egg, milk, shell-fish, preservatives

Reviewers for this supplement say that they have gotten sick less and have felt better all around since they started taking it. They also report that it is relatively easy to swallow.

So this is another good choice if you are looking for a sustained release vegetarian formula vitamin C product.

​2. Vitafusion Power C Gummy Vitamins for Adults
Good for being easy to take

If you have a really hard time taking any type of tablet or capsule, you may want to consider taking vitamin C gummies instead.

One popular product is the Vitafusion Power C Gummy Vitamins For Adults wth ​more than 1,030 buyers ​reviews​.

Note that these gummies may appear inexpensive at a glance, but they actually cost quite a bit more than tablets, because you need to take a lot more of them to get the same amount of vitamin C (they only contain 240 mg, whereas most tablets contain 1,000 mg).

If you are supplementing at a lower dosage though, they could actually be a great deal.

  • 150 gummies
  • 240 mg
  • Natural orange flavor
  • Full ingredients list: Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid and Sodium Ascorbate), Sodium, Glucose Syrup, Sucrose, Water, Gelatin, Beeswax, Citric Acid, Color (Annatto Extract), Fractionated Coconut Oil, Lactic Acid, Natural Flavor.
  • Processed in a facility which also processes products containing tree nuts, soy, egg, fish and shellfish.

Customers say that these gummies are delicious, to the point where they taste just like candy, and you want to take them.  They have a good shelf life and retain their freshness well. 

There is one major drawback, however, and that is the sugar coating which was introduced to the current formula. 

If this is not a big deal to you, these gummies may work out well for you, but if you are avoiding sugar, you should probably stick with something else. 

Best Vitamin C Drink Mixes

If you are interested in liposomal vitamin C, you can try out Lypo-Spheric. This product is a drink mix which you can prepare in the same manner as Emergen-C.

But unlike Emergen-C, it is not a multivitamin; it simply provides you with an ample dose of vitamin C in liposomal form.

It is a popular product with more than 1,120 customer reviews​.

It is more costly than the other choices.

  • 30 packets
  • 1,000 mg
  • Vitamin C in liposomal form
  • Full ingredients list: Vitamin C (as Sodium Ascorbate), Sodium, Essential Phospholipids (from Soy Lecithin), Phosphatidylcholine, De-ionized Water, Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid
  • Contains no: sugar, dairy, gluten, hexane.
  • Vegan formula
  • Non-GMO

Customers who have used this vitamin C seem very happy with their purchase, and are undaunted by the extra expense.

Some customers have however commented that the taste is not to their liking.

​​4. Nutribiotic Sodium Ascorbate Powder
Best for having NO fillers

If you are looking for a vitamin C drink mix which can save you money, a good option is the Nutribioitic Sodium Ascorbate Powder. This powder gives you a high dose, and over time may cut back on your nutritional costs as a result.

As of the time of this writing, Nutribioitic Sodium Ascorbate Powder has more than 100 customer reviews, making it a popular purchase. ​

  • 16 ounces: 363 total servings
  • Serving size: ¼ teaspoon: 1,112 mg vitamin C
  • Buffered
  • Contains only vitamin C and sodium with no additives or fillers
  • Made without common food allergens
  • GMO and gluten free

Customers who buy Nutribioitic Sodium Ascorbate Powder love how inexpensive it is over time, and appreciate the fact that it is filler-free. You know what you are getting when you buy this product.

It also contains vitamin C in a form which is more alkaline than ascorbic acid crystals. This can make it easier on the digestive tract. So you may actually be able to take this supplement without food and not experience any problems.

If you need really high doses of vitamin C, it can be achieved through this powdered form.​

In terms of flavor, most buyers describe it as relatively tasteless, but slightly salty.

Best Vitamin C Supplements for Children

As one of the most popular and highly rated vitamin C supplements for kids, Yummi Bears Organics Immunity Health Supplement has more than 490 customer ratings​.

  • 90 gummies
  • 30 mg of vitamin C (children may take up to 6 each day; suggested serving size is 3 per day)
  • Available in several different delicious flavors for kids
  • GMO-free, preservative free, and free of artificial colors and flavors
  • Also includes: vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, folic acid, zinc and sodium along with organic Echinacea, organic astragalus and organic amla fruit extract
  • Natural colors and flavors included
  • Does contain added sugars

Naturally most customers are not impressed with the sugar on these vitamins, but sugar is pretty hard to avoid with gummies.

Aside from that, most parents who bought these for their children reported that they are tasty and their kids do not complain about eating them.

Note that this particular formula is ideal for children who are suffering from colds or who need an immunity boost during cold and flu season.

​​6. Nordic Naturals Vitamin C Gummies
Good for vegans

​They are suitable for both children and adults, and may be a good option if you are frustrated by the low doses available in most children’s vitamin C supplements.

They are not however multivitamins; vitamin C is the only benefit they give you.

  • 60 gummies
  • 250 mg of vitamin C as ascorbic acid
  • All other ingredients: organic sugar, organic tapioca syrup, citric acid, pectin, sodium citrate, annatto
  • Manufactured in a facility which is allergen-free and is also free of soy, wheat, nuts, shellfish, eggs, fish and milk
  • Vegetarian formula
  • Gluten-free
  • Contains no artificial flavors or colors

Many buyers who purchased these did so for their entire family, and say they are excellent for both children and adults.

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, this is a fantastic choice since it is gelatin-free. Tapioca syrup is used instead.

Best Vitamin C Serums

If you are shopping for a vitamin C product for your skin, this anti-aging serum is a popular choice with more than 950 customer reviews​.

  • 98% natural ingredients, 72% organic-certified
  • 20% Vitamin C + E + Vegan Hyaluronic Acid Serum
  • Doubles as a moisturizer (be sure to apply it to damp skin)
  • Also includes Organic Rosehip Oil, Sea Buckthorn Oil, and Plant Stem Cells
  • No alcohol or parabens
  • Manufactured in the USA

Buyers who tried this serum praise its low price and its effectiveness, reporting that daily use has reduced the appearance of age lines and sun damage.

Customers also say that the product has a pleasant but subtle scent (some buyers actually cannot smell it at all).

A slightly more expensive alternative to the Naturalico anti-aging serum is this one from NuNutrients.

With more than 280 customer reviews, it is a popular and highly rated option.

  • Contains 20% triple action vitamin C
  • Full ingredients list: Purified Water, Ascorbyl Glucoside (Vitamin C), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Hyaluronic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin
  • Needs to be applied with a moisturizer on damp skin

Buyers say that this serum has an ideal viscosity which makes it easy to apply.

You may feel a slight tightness in your skin after you do, but if you follow it up with a good moisturizer, that feeling should subside quickly.

Like Naturalico Vitamin C Serum, this product does not have a noticeable smell.

Customers say that it did a great job helping them to clear up their skin and restore an appearance of youth.

Conclusion: Vitamin C is an Affordable and Effective Supplement to Boost Your Overall Well-Being

If you have been searching for a supplement which is cost-effective and which can nourish your body with a healthy daily dose of antioxidants, vitamin C is a fantastic choice.

Because vitamin C is available in several different formats (tablets, capsules, drink mixes, gummies, and even skin serums), you should be able to find a product which is ideal for your needs.

Overall, our recommended vitamin C supplement is Nutribiotic Sodium Ascorbate Powder, since it contains no fillers and you can take as much or as little as you like due to it being a powder.

Pay close attention to pricing and ingredients, and you will be able to choose a high-quality supplement to support your health now and over the years to come.

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Overall, our recommended vitamin C supplement is Nutribiotic Sodium Ascorbate Powder, since it contains no fillers and you can take as much or as little as you like due to it being a powder.

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