Which is the best Vitamin C for you?

The most frequent question recently - which is the best vitamin C for you?

As I am working on some researches on supplements, I decided to jot down all that I've found regarding vitamin C. 

There have been a huge increase in vitamin C requirement since the Covid-19 started. Undeniably the efficacy of vitamin C in boosting your immune system have long been proven, thus there are mushrooming choices of vitamin C to be chosen from diverse range of brands with different names and dosage form. Vitamin C is mainly in the form of ascorbic acid, which has equivalent bioavailability to that of naturally occurring ascorbic acid in foods such as orange and guava. There are also other form of vitamin C supplements such as sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, and some other combinations. 

How does vitamin C boost our immunity?

In short, vitamin C stimulates immune system by enhancing T-cell proliferation in response to infection. These T-cells produce large quantities of cytokines, help B cells to synthesize immunoglobulins to control inflammatory reactions. Therefore our body uses extra vitamin C during times of illness or infection.

The question is, which form is the best?

Studies has shown that generally there is no significant difference between different forms in the efficacy, as they all show increase in plasma vitamin C levels. However, it was also concluded that ascorbic acid is the preferred source of supplemental vitamin C.

How do you know which form of vitamin C is used in the supplement? Check the nutrition label. Always go for reliable sources or manufacturers! :)

For those who has been continuously taking vitamin C for some time, do you feel some changes to your body?

Vitamin C, this water-soluble vitamin, is important in forming collagen! Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons. I hope you see great change in your skin. Vitamin C plays a critical role in wound repair and healing/regeneration process as it stimulates collagen synthesis. 

It also helps maintain capillaries, and aids in the absorption of iron (essential for blood production). Apart from that, Vitamin C is also required for the biosynthesis of L-carnitine and certain neurotransmitters. 

Note: L-carnitine is an amino acid derivative that transports fatty acids into your cells to be processed for energy. Neurotransmitters help to transmit signals from nerve cells to target cells. *staysane*

How much vitamin C do an adult need?

For adults 19 – 65 years, the recommended intake is 70 mg/day. Absorption of ascorbic acid decreases to about 50% with the single doses above 1000 mg. Consuming five varied servings of fruits and vegetables a day can provide more than 200 mg of vitamin C.

Ascorbic acid is generally non-toxic. Excess amount is excreted through urine. 

Vitamin C is water soluble and is destroyed by heat. Therefore, the vitamin C content of food may be reduced by prolonged storage and by cooking. Steaming or microwaving may lessen cooking losses.

Note: Humans can not synthesize ascorbic acid due to the absence of the enzyme L-gulonolactone oxidase. Hence, in humans ascorbic acid has to be supplemented through food and or supplements.

Read more about vitamin C requirement here

As this is a post dedicated to all supplement users in identifying the differences among the type of vitamin C, below are all the general types which I frequently checked out.

1. Vitamin C 500 mg/1000 mg (Tablet, Chewable tablet)

Be it in tablet form or chewable tablet form, it delivers the dosage as indicated in the ingredient labelling. Do not worry about which form is more effective! As the requirement for an adult is only 70mg, therefore 500 mg is in fact already more than enough for an adult.

Some formula is added with other ingredients such as Citrus Bioflavonoids to increase bioavailability and assimilation of vitamin C in the body, enhancing its antioxidant potency. Here is an example - VitaHealth Vitamin C 1000 mg.

The most commonly used vitamin C is Ascorbic Acid which has good bioavailability, but some people find it too acidic and their gut unable to tolerate higher doses.

Note: 500 mg of vitamin C is equivalent to 12 oranges!

2. Effervescent tablets 

One of the most common vitamin C comes in the form of effervescent tablets. This form will be able to provide optimal compatibility, promote superior and rapid absorption, increase a patient's liquid intake and circumvent the difficulty of swallowing large pills.

3. Buffered/ Low Acid Vitamin C

Since ascorbic acid, the most common form of vitamin C is acidic, and some people find that taking ascorbic acid irritates their stomach, there are other options of vitamin C such as Buffered vitamin C. This is a less acidic form of vitamin C, where the acidity is reduced, making it ideal for those with gastric conditions. Buffered vitamin C is usually in mineral ascorbates form such as calcium and magnesium ascorbate, natural form of vitamin C.

4. Acid Free Vitamin C

This is a completely non-acidic formula catered to all who unable to tolerate with acidic vitamin C supplements. Acid free vitamin C is usually in calcium ascorbate form as well.

5. Vitamin C + Zinc

Vitamin C and zinc play important roles in immune defence. Studies has shown that vitamin C plus zinc supplements can significantly relieve the symptoms of common cold rapidly as compared to merely vitamin C supplement only. 

Note: Zinc is an essential trace mineral essential for metabolize carbohydrates, fats and protein. It helps our immune system and metabolism function. Zinc is also important to wound healing and our sense of taste and smell.


So which is the best vitamin C for you?
Which you should choose is depending on your own personal preferences and needs.

I had tried all the types of vitamin C mentioned above, and I personally preferred Buffered vitamin C, which is the low acid formula to avoid irritation to my gut.
However, when I started to feel uncomfortable due to flu or catch a cold, I will opt for effervescent instead, as it promotes superior and rapid absorption.

Take care and stay safe! *do not take things lightly*