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Along with providing information on whether Vitamin C supplements might be right for you, this article also links to Fullscript where you can buy supplements online through Fullscript’s secure healthcare formulary and get free shipping and 20% off the retail price of professional-grade supplements.
Vitamin C has been known since the age of sea exploration, when sailors discovered that consuming citrus fruits like limes prevented scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. Today, we understand that vitamin C, found abundantly in fruits and vegetables, is critical for immune function, skin health, and collagen synthesis. This article will explore the benefits of vitamin C, delving into how incorporating this essential nutrient through both natural food sources and supplements can profoundly impact our overall health and well-being. If Vitamin C supplements are right for you, this article also links to Fullscript where you can buy Vitamin C online through the secure healthcare formulary and get free shipping and 20% off the retail price of professional-grade supplements.
What Is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for overall health. Known scientifically as ascorbic acid, it acts as a powerful antioxidant. This nutrient aids in repairing tissues, healing wounds, and maintaining the health of bones and teeth. It also plays a crucial role in the production of collagen, a protein vital for skin elasticity and joint health. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, enhancing the body’s ability to ward off infections. It helps in the absorption of iron from plant-based foods, reducing the risk of iron-deficiency anemia. Many fruits and vegetables like oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and kale are rich sources of vitamin C. The body does not produce or store it, making regular dietary intake important. Supplements are available to ensure adequate daily intake, especially for those unable to meet their needs through diet alone.
What’s The Difference Between Ascorbic Acid and Vitamin C?
Ascorbic acid and vitamin C are terms often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between them:
- Ascorbic Acid: This is the pure, chemical form of vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is a specific molecule with a specific molecular structure. It is the most common form of vitamin C found in dietary supplements. Ascorbic acid functions as an antioxidant and is essential for the synthesis of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
- Vitamin C: This term is more general and can refer to the vitamin C complex as it occurs naturally in foods. In food sources, vitamin C is not just ascorbic acid but also includes other components such as bioflavonoids, which are compounds that often exist in fruits and vegetables alongside ascorbic acid. These additional compounds can enhance the absorption and effectiveness of vitamin C.
So, while ascorbic acid is the pure form of vitamin C and the form most often used in supplements, the term “vitamin C” can refer to both ascorbic acid and the other naturally occurring elements that can be found alongside it in food sources. Both forms are essential for health, but some argue that the natural form with its additional components can offer more holistic benefits.
What are the Health Benefits of Vitamin C?
- Immune system support: Vitamin C helps maintain the immune system by supporting the production and function of white blood cells, which play a role in fighting infections. Prevention of infection might be optimized with 100-200 mg/day of Vitamin C, which is needed to reach tissue saturation. [PMC5707683] Much higher amounts are needed during infection to help deal with oxidative stress. [PMC7655735]
- Skin health & collagen synthesis: Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, a structural protein that contributes to the health of skin, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bones. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in your skin’s health and appearance by stimulating collagen production, providing antioxidant benefits, and protecting against the sun’s UV rays. † [PMC5579659]
- Antioxidant activity: Vitamin C neutralizes harmful free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and contribute to the development of various diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders.
- Iron absorption: Vitamin C helps increase the absorption of non-heme iron, a type of iron found in plant-based foods, thereby helping prevent iron deficiency anemia.
- Wound healing: Vitamin C is involved in various stages of wound healing, including the formation of blood vessels, collagen production, and tissue repair.
- Cognitive health: Vitamin C plays a role in the production of neurotransmitters, which are essential for normal brain function and overall cognitive health.
- Eye Health: Supports the health of blood vessels in the eyes. May help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Blood pressure: A meta-analysis of 8 clinical trials showed that Vitamin C significantly reduced blood pressure in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure). † [PMC7034722]
- Blood vessel function: Pooled data from 44 clinical trials found Vitamin C supplementation improved blood vessel function in patients with heart disease or diabetes. † [PMID: 24792921] Blood vessel function is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Stabilizes Mast Cells: This may be helpful for people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or histamine intolerance. [DOI: 10.4172/2155-9600.1000456]
Food Sources of Vitamin C
Here’s a table listing some common food sources of vitamin C and the approximate amount of vitamin C they contain. Please note that these values are approximate and can vary depending on factors like serving sizes, ripeness, and food sources.
|Amount of Vitamin C (mg) per serving
|Guava (1 medium)
|Red bell pepper, raw (1/2 cup)
|Kiwi (1 medium)
|Orange (1 medium)
|Papaya (1/2 cup)
|Strawberries (1/2 cup)
|Broccoli, cooked (1/2 cup)
|Pineapple (1/2 cup)
|Brussels sprouts, cooked (1/2 cup)
|Cantaloupe (1/2 cup)
|Cauliflower, cooked (1/2 cup)
|Mango (1/2 cup)
|Tomato (1 medium)
|Spinach, cooked (1/2 cup)
|Green bell pepper, raw (1/2 cup)
|Grapefruit (1/2 medium)
Is Vitamin C Safe?
Vitamin C is widely recognized as a safe and essential nutrient for our bodies. It’s water-soluble, meaning excess amounts are excreted through urine, reducing the risk of toxicity. However, that doesn’t mean that extremely high doses won’t have any side effects — excessive intake, generally from supplements exceeding 2000 mg per day, may cause diarrhea, nausea, or cramps. Thankfully, these symptoms are usually temporary and resolve when the high dose is reduced. Despite these issues, Vitamin C’s safety profile is exceptional.
High Vitamin C and Kidney Stone Risk In Men
Moreover, vitamin C supplementation at daily dosages of both 250–499 mg and 1000–1499 mg was associated with an 11–14% increased risk of kidney stones. It is remarkable that it occurs in males but not in females [20,23].PMC9959749
Medication interactions with Vitamin C.
- Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs):
- Examples: Ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin
- Vitamin C can increase the absorption of these drugs, potentially increasing their side effects, such as gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Antacids containing aluminum:
- Examples: Aluminum hydroxide, Maalox, Mylanta
- Interaction severity: Mild
- Vitamin C can increase the absorption of aluminum, which may lead to an increased risk of side effects or toxicity from aluminum-containing antacids.
- Chemotherapy drugs:
- Examples: Doxorubicin, cisplatin, cyclophosphamide
- Interaction severity: Moderate to severe
- High doses of vitamin C may interfere with the effectiveness of some chemotherapy drugs, potentially reducing their anti-cancer effects. Always consult a healthcare professional before taking vitamin C during cancer treatment.
- Examples: Atorvastatin, simvastatin, lovastatin
- Interaction severity: Mild
- Some studies suggest that vitamin C may reduce the effectiveness of statins in lowering cholesterol levels, but more research is needed to confirm this interaction.
- Warfarin (blood thinner):
- Example: Coumadin
- Interaction severity: Moderate
- Vitamin C, in high doses, may affect the effectiveness of warfarin, potentially increasing the risk of bleeding or blood clots. Regular monitoring of blood clotting time (INR) is essential for individuals taking warfarin and vitamin C.
Supplement Interactions with Vitamin C
- Vitamin C enhances the absorption of non-heme iron from plant-based foods.
- This interaction can be beneficial for individuals at risk of iron deficiency anemia, but excessive iron intake may lead to iron toxicity in some people.
- Vitamin E:
- Vitamin C may help regenerate vitamin E, another antioxidant, after it neutralizes free radicals.
- However, high doses of vitamin C may interfere with vitamin E’s antioxidant activity, so it’s essential to maintain a balance between the two.
- Vitamin C may reduce the absorption of copper, an essential trace mineral.
- Long-term, high-dose vitamin C supplementation may lead to copper deficiency, but this is rare.
- Vitamin B12:
- High doses of vitamin C may interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12.
- However, the clinical significance of this interaction is uncertain and may not be relevant for most people.
- Folic acid:
- Vitamin C may increase the breakdown of folic acid in the body, potentially reducing its effectiveness.
- The clinical significance of this interaction is not well-established, and more research is needed to understand its implications.
This list is not exhaustive, and other nutritional supplements may interact with vitamin C. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting, stopping, or adjusting the dosage of any supplement, and inform them about all the supplements you are taking to avoid potential interactions.
Why Professionals Choose the Fullscript Formulary
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C-500 with Rose Hips by NOW Foods
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient well known for its vital role in immune system function.* It is a highly effective antioxidant that can protect the body’s structures from oxidative damage generated during normal metabolism.* Vitamin C is also necessary for the production of collagen and is therefore important for skin, bone, and joint health.* It is also needed for amino acid metabolism and the utilization of many nutrients, such as folic acid and iron.* Rose Hips, which are natural sources of ascorbic acid, have been included to complement this formula.
Natural color variation may occur in this product.
Take 1 tablet 1 to 3 times daily, preferably with food.
Amount Per 1 Tablet Serving
Vitamin C … 500mg (as Ascorbic Acid)
Rose Hips Powder … 40mg (Rosa canina)(Fruit)
Vitamin C – 500 mg Capsules
Vitamin C provides antioxidant protection, supports immune function, and strengthens collagen for healthy skin.* Bioflavonoids are found in fruits and vegetables; bioflavonoid complex is sourced from citrus fruits. Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids.
Take 2 capsules as needed, preferably with food. If pregnant, nursing or taking any medications, consult a healthcare professional before use.
Amount Per 2 Capsule Serving
Vitamin C … 1g (ascorbic acid)
Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex … 600mg**(orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime and tangerine)
Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.
Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.
To Sum It Up
Vitamin C is a powerhouse vitamin and plays a crucial role in numerous body functions, ranging from boosting immunity to maintaining skin health and aiding in the absorption of other nutrients. Not only does it offer extensive preventative qualities, but it also acts as a potent healer, capable of speeding recovery and rejuvenating the body. While it is widely available in various fruits and vegetables, it’s essential to ensure a consistent and adequate daily intake, whether through diet, supplements, or a combination of both. Vitamin C’s significance to our overall health is undeniable, making it a vital pillar in our pursuit of optimal well-being.
This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice
Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.