Vitamin C’s claim to fame is well-earned. It is involved in the growth and repair of every cell in the body and has been shown to reduce the severity of colds, accelerate recovery from injury, and even block production of cancer causing agents.
Stroll down the supplement aisle and you will quickly discover that there are many forms of vitamin C available. If you are trying to pick out the best one it can be downright overwhelming.
So what’s the best vitamin C supplement to take?
Choose a vitamin C supplement that is:
1. Encapsulated (vs chewable)
2. Includes bioflavanoids. These phytonutrients increase the absorption of vitamin C.
…and some other considerations
3. If taking vitamin C tends to bother your stomach, try a non-acidic buffered form such as calcium ascorbate (vitamin C buffered with calcium).
4. Note that there is no difference between natural and synthetic versions. Although this is not the case with many vitamins such as vitamin D and E, when it comes to C, don’t be swayed by natural marketing claims.
The chewable form of vitamin C is quite popular so I want to discuss two of its major drawbacks (and what makes the encapsulated forms generally preferable).
1. Chewables usually contain a fair amount of added sugar. Among other pitfalls, added sugar actually requires vitamins and minerals to turn it into usable energy that is does not contain. From this perspective, it can be seen as a consumer of vitamins and minerals. It also promotes inflammation.
2. Chewables may leech calcium from teeth due vitamin C’s natural acidity. Calcium can be drawn from the enamel to buffer the acidity of the vitamin C (a.k.a. ascorbic acid) which does not bode well for your teeth.
You might also be interested in:
- Vitamin D: Why it matters and how to get enough of it
- Low stomach acid can cause gas, bloating, and indigestion
- Probiotics and biological warfare in your gut
Lieberman, S., & Bruning, N. (2007). The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book. Penguin Group: New York.