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Vitamin C, Vitamins and Nutrients

When you think of all the Vitamin C variations by all possible supplemental forms, the types of Vitamin C possibilities seem infinite. Vitamin C, also known by the chemical name ascorbic acid, is one of the most popular supplemented vitamins. Find out the pros and cons of each type of Vitamin C.


While all Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, some types of Vitamin C supplements contain mineral salts of ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid can be rough on the stomach, so its less acidic mineral salts are often preferred as supplements. The minerals “buffer” the Vitamin C to reduce digestive irritation.

Sodium ascorbate is utilized in mega-dose IV Vitamin C treatments in clinics and hospitals. It’s also common in dietary supplements, including Lypo-Spheric® Vitamin C. Calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, zinc, and molybdenum are less frequently supplemented ascorbates. Calcium ascorbate has also been shown to be better tolerated by people who have difficulty with acidic foods, though it has no effect on bioavailability in humans.

Pros: Easier on the stomach.

Cons: Higher in the other minerals. For example, people wishing to limit calcium intake may find that more difficult with these supplements.


Synthetic ascorbic acid and the ascorbic acid in rose hip or acerola cherry powder all have the identical chemical composition. No studies conducted on humans have shown any differences in the bioavailability between natural and synthetic Vitamin C. Researchers are so confident this conclusion is infinitely repeatable that back in 2013 they recommended any additional studies on this topic are a waste of time.

They pointed out in their conclusions that the reason whole food consumption is preferable to relying on supplements is merely due to the concurrent benefits of consuming all the other nutrients in the fruit or vegetable.

Pros (natural): Allowing you to maintain the fantasy that somehow a pill, powder, or capsule is in any way natural, or that natural is always superior.

Cons (natural): More expensive than synthetic.


Bioflavanoids are compounds found in plants that often have beneficial antioxidant capabilities. They are often added to Vitamin C supplements, possibly in a futuristic effort to recreate plants in pill form. This is fine, if you’re a futurist, but it’s not the most effective way to absorb Vitamin C. Research has shown that bioflavonoids not only fail to enhance absorption, they may inhibit Vitamin C absorption in cells. The percentage of Vitamin C you absorb from traditional oral supplements significantly decreases in doses above 200 mg. Fruits and vegetables do not contain massive doses of Vitamin C like supplements do, thus it is more beneficial just to get your bioflavonoids from a whole orange, kiwi, or bell pepper instead of a flavorless pill.

Pros: Makes you feel like 1970s sci-fi movie predictions were accurate and flying cars can be next.

Cons: More expensive than regular ascorbic acid. Less tasty than a strawberry. Contains the substances used to make the capsules, which are definitely not found in broccoli.


Ascorbic acid is water-soluble, which means that it does its work in water-based tissues in the body. Other antioxidants like Vitamins A and E are fat-soluble, fighting free radicals in fat-based tissue. While your body can accumulate fat-soluble nutrients, it cannot store water-soluble nutrients. That’s a major reason why Vitamin C absorption is such a heavily researched topic and why there are so many types of Vitamin C supplements: any excess, unabsorbed Vitamin C leaves your body as waste.

Ascorbyl palmitate is a fat-soluble form of Vitamin C. In test tubes, it incorporates into cell membranes. In oral supplements, that is less likely as research suggests that the digestive system breaks the compound into palmitate and ascorbic acid, thereby shedding the fat-solubility.

Pros: Increases shelf life of potato chips.