Introducing Vitamin C
Vitamin C has gotten much attention thanks to its crucial role in maintaining a healthy immune system and cardiovascular health and absorbing other vital nutrients. Researchers believe in the potency of this powerful antioxidant, slowly making it one of the most studied vitamins.
Fortunately, you can find this vitamin in many delicious fruits and vegetables. However, consuming sufficient daily doses using food only is pretty challenging, especially if you are experiencing deficiencies. Therefore, an excellent alternative is to consume one of the best vitamin C supplements. While the market is flooded with top-quality supplements, you must choose your preferred form and stay consistent in your consumption to experience the incredible benefits.
In this article, we’ll review everything there is to know about the vitamin, its benefits, and its side effects. In addition, we’ll teach you how to recognize the signs of deficiency and give you a list of the top 10 vitamin C supplements.
- The body cannot produce the vitamin, yet it’s necessary for maintaining a healthy immune system
- Although it offers countless health benefits, huge amounts of vitamin C (over 2,000mg a day) can cause serious side effects
- Vitamin C supplements are safe for everyone, yet it would be best for people prone to kidney stones and those who consume certain medications to avoid them
- The daily recommended dose is 75mg for women and 90mg a day for men
What Is Vitamin C?
Ascorbic acid, or what we recognize as Vitamin C, is an essential vitamin. Our bodies cannot synthesize it, yet it is crucial for maintaining great health and well-being.
Fortunately, you can consume it through various foods packed with vitamin C to help you meet your body’s daily requirements. For instance, you can incorporate more broccoli, peppers, kale, pineapples, kiwis, strawberries, spinach, and oranges into your diet.
Since it is water-soluble, if the body cannot absorb all amounts of the vitamin, it will excrete it through urine.
Vitamin C plays a huge role in controlling infections, neutralizing free radicals, producing collagen, and healing wounds. It has powerful antioxidant properties, which leads scientists to believe it can prevent heart diseases and certain cancers.
What Does Vitamin C Do?
Vitamin C is not just a vitamin that will boost your immune system. Instead, it is necessary because it supports the formation of muscle, collagen, blood vessels, and cartilage. Furthermore, it’s a powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from free radicals; free radicals contribute to cancer and heart disease. It can also reduce DNA damage that leads to aging.
Since our body cannot produce collagen without vitamin C, it’s also essential for skin health. Collagen makes the connective tissue in our body, which firms skin, muscles, bones, and joints. So, this vitamin directly supports integumentary, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular health.
Although most people believe this vitamin can prevent sickness and common colds, the reality is different. By regular consumption, you can reduce the duration and severity of the illness but not prevent it altogether.
Types of Vitamin C Supplements
Vitamin C supplements come in many different forms. Here are some of the most popular ones on the market:
- Capsules/Tablets: this is the most popular form among supplement consumers. It is very effective and usually contains high doses of vitamins. On the other hand, capsules and tablets aren’t suitable for people with gastrointestinal disorders because they’re harder to digest.
- Gummies: this form comes in many flavors and shapes and contains a decent amount of vitamins. They’re especially popular among small kids because they resemble candy. However, they usually contain lots of sugar, with valuable exceptions.
- Powder: you can easily dissolve and drink this form in any liquid. But although powder vitamin C is easy to consume, it often contains many additives you might not need. Nevertheless, this is the preferred form for people who have difficulties swallowing pills and tablets.
- Lozenges: this form is meant to be sucked, making it look attractive for consumption. Unfortunately, lozenges usually don’t deliver the daily recommended dose of the vitamin. Still, they can boost your vitamin levels and soothe your throat.
- Liquid: you can mix this form with other liquids or food or consume it separately. However, many liquid supplements contain a lot of artificial sweeteners and sugars.
While ascorbic acid is the most popular and cheapest form, you can also choose the following forms.
- Mineral Ascorbates: sodium ascorbate and calcium ascorbate are less acidic forms. Therefore, this form is ideal for people with digestive problems when consuming ascorbic acid.
- Liposomal Vitamin C: this is a form encapsulated in liposomes. It is the most expensive alternative, but it delivers better absorption.
- Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids: bioflavonoids enhance the bioavailability of the vitamin and make your body use the vitamin more effectively. We don’t recommend this form for people with digestive problems because it can irritate the digestive system.
What Are the Benefits of Vitamin C?
Let’s see what regular consumption can do for your body.
Reduces The Risk Of Chronic Disease
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are the molecules that boost the body’s natural defenses. They protect our cells from free radicals and oxidative stress. The reality is that free radicals can devastate our bodies and health, leading to countless chronic diseases.
Research shows that consuming this vitamin can increase your blood antioxidant levels by more than 30% and significantly reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Lowers The Risk of Heart Disease
Did you know that the leading cause of death in the world is heart disease? High cholesterol levels, high triglyceride, and blood pressure can increase the risk of heart disease.
Fortunately, vitamin C can help reduce these risk factors, eventually reducing your chances of suffering from a heart condition.
Reduces Blood Uric Levels & Prevents Gout Attacks
Around 4% of the world’s population is affected by gout. It’s a type of arthritis that can severely impact a person’s quality of life. People who suffer from it experience swelling in their joints and severe pain attacks.
Gout occurs when there are huge amounts of uric acid in the blood. The uric acid crystallizes and deposits in the joints, causing devastating symptoms.
Studies have shown that vitamin C supplements can reduce the uric acid in the blood and protect against gout attacks.
Prevents Iron Deficiency
Iron is an essential nutrient that supports red blood cell production and transports oxygen throughout the body.
Studies show that consuming 100mg of vitamin C daily increases iron absorption by 67% and converts poorly absorbed iron into a form that is easier to absorb. Consequently, it reduces the risk of anemia in people with iron deficiency.
Supports Brain Health and Improves Memory
Dementia affects more than 35 million people globally. It’s a condition that influences memory and mainly occurs in older people.
Many studies show that oxidative stress ad inflammation near the brain can increase the risk of dementia.
Since vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that protects you from free radicals, it can also reduce the risk of getting this devastating condition. Regular consumption can also protect you from neurodegeneration related to aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and ALS. Finally, it can also help prevent mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
Who May Not Benefit from Vitamin C?
Vitamin C supplements are generally safe for everyone. However, certain people don’t need them because they won’t get the desired benefits.
The following population may not benefit from supplements:
- People with a balanced diet: if your diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, you probably don’t need supplements. While it’s challenging, some people manage to get the recommended daily dose through food.
- People prone to kidney stones: avoid consuming C vitamins if you have a kidney stone or your body is prone to making kidney stones. It can increase urinary oxalate excretion, a type of calcium salt that causes the formation of kidney stones.
- Those who take certain medications: if you take blood thinners, chemotherapy, statins, and estrogen, remember that they don’t work well with the vitamin.
Always consult your doctor before taking supplements because some medications can cause negative side effects mixed with vitamin C.
How To Choose The Best Vitamin C Supplements?
With so many supplement brands on the market, it’s important to be cautious when choosing the best product. To make sure that the formula is top-quality, all you have to do is follow these criteria.
A product tested by a third party is sent to a lab where it’s examined and tested to ensure that it doesn’t contain any contaminants. To ensure that the product you want to purchase is high-quality, check whether it has a third-party certificate—some of the most reliable certificates include NSF, USP, and ConsumerLab.
On the other hand, not having a certificate doesn’t particularly indicate that the product is bad. Research the manufacturer, and check their reputation and testing lab to determine whether they followed strict protocols.
Another thing to have in mind is the price. Don’t think that when a product is more expensive, it’s more efficient. Sometimes cheap vitamin C supplements contain the best ingredients.
Don’t make your decision based on the price.
Ingredients and Potential Interaction
Always check the ingredients list and the nutrition facts panel with all the ingredients and the daily recommended value. Also, make sure to check for potential interactions with other medications.
For instance, vitamin C interacts with chemotherapy medicines and statins and can potentially reduce their effectiveness. If you consume any of these medications, consult your doctor before taking supplements to prevent side effects.
Some vitamin C supplements also contain probiotics, adaptogenic herbs, and enzymes. These components might be good for digestion but impose additional risks and side effects for some individuals.
The great thing about vitamin C supplements is that they come in many forms: pills, capsules, chewable, gummies, powders, and liquids. Choose the best form that suits your needs, but remember that gummies, powder, chewable and liquid supplements usually contain a lot of added sugar.
The most famous form of vitamin C is ascorbic acid. Other forms you can find on the market are sodium ascorbate, Ester-C, food-based forms, and rose hip.
Check our explanations above to choose the best form for your needs.
The amount your body needs depends on age, gender, lifestyle choices, and health conditions. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for women is 75mg, and for men is 90mg a day. Pregnant women should consume 85mg; breastfeeding mothers get up to 115mg daily.
The most effective vitamin C supplements contain around 1,000mg of the vitamin, which is not too much. Still, make sure you don’t consume more than 2,000mg daily.
Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency
Although there’s a variety of food rich in vitamins, many people suffer from a deficiency. Aside from a poor diet, the most common factors of deficiency include alcoholism, anorexia, severe mental illness, dialysis, and smoking.
Here are some of the signs that indicate that your body doesn’t get enough C vitamins:
- Bleeding of the gums
- Teeth loss
- Severe joint or leg pain
- Red or purple spots on the skin
- Dry hair and skin
If you’re unsure whether you have a vitamin C deficiency, your doctor can help you by making a simple blood test.
Potential Side Effects of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. It means that our bodies normally get rid of the excess amount. But although it’s rare, it’s possible to take too much of it.
Consuming huge amounts of can lead to side effects such as:
- Flushed skin
Generally, the tolerable upper limit for vitamin C is 2,000mg daily for adults.
Vitamin C is an incredible essential nutrient that can do wonders for your body. But while it is easily accessible, many people suffer from deficiency, which can cause serious symptoms. If you can’t consume it through food, get the best vitamin C supplements to experience the amazing benefits. Stay consistent in your consumption, and give your body the proper daily immunity boost.