Best Vitamin C Supplements to Take
"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.
Our Best Vitamin C Supplements
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.
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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.
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.
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.
What to Look for in a Vitamin C Supplement
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.
The right price:
Trying to figure out if you are getting the best value with vitamins involves some math.
You have to check
- how many vitamin C tablets are included in the supplement, and
- 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
How to Take a Vitamin C Supplement
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.
- 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.
- 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.
A Quick Note About Reading Customer Reviews for Vitamin C Supplements
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.
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.
Best Vitamin C Drink Mixes
Best Vitamin C Supplements for Children
Best Vitamin C Serums
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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