Different Forms of Vitamin C and Why?

  • Nature's Source

Have you ever felt confused or overwhelmed with all the different Vitamin C products out there? Going to your local health food store with the intention of improving your health but unsure which one is the right or the best one for you?

In this article, I want to clear up that confusion and teach all about Vitamin C, what forms of vitamin C there are, and what their specific functions are in the body, so you can make the best educated decision to help promote better health in your body.

Let’s start with the basics…

What is Vitamin C and Why Should We Take It?

Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients and is a water-soluble vitamin essential for at least 300 metabolic functions in the body.

Beneficial Reasons to Take Vitamin C Are

  • Tissue Growth and Repair
  • Adrenal and Thyroid Function

  • Healthy Gums

  • Strengthening of the Immune System

  • Helps Treat Anemia by Increasing Iron Absorption

  • Collagen Production

  • Heart Health

  • Protects Against Harmful Effects of Pollution

  • Anti-cancer

  • Anti-bacterial, Anti-fungal, Anti-viral, and Anti-parasitic

Risk Factors for Vitamin C Deficiencies

  • Poor Diet: Low Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables

  • Smoking: Each Cigarette Loses 40-60mg of Vitamin C

  • Air Pollution Exposure

  • Heavy Metal Exposure: Smoking, Unfiltered Water (Tap), Vaccines, and Amalgam Fillings

Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiencies

  • Easy Bruising

  • Bleeding Gums

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle, Joint, and Bone Pain

  • Depression

  • Frequently Sick and Unable to Fight Off Infections

Food sources are a great way to get vitamin C in the body. Some of the foods highest in vitamin C are berries, citrus fruits, red peppers, broccoli, mangoes, green vegetables, pineapple, and papayas.  However, most of us, unless we are eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, won’t get all the vitamin C required. So, this is where supplementing can be beneficial.

Forms of Vitamin C You Would Find at Your Local Health Food Store (Nature Source)

  1. Ascorbic Acid – commonly consumed and least expensive. Due to the acidic component, it can be hard on those with digestive disturbances. Available in tablets, capsules, or powder.
  2. Ascorbate – Can come in Calcium, Magnesium or Sodium ascorbate. This means it contains both calcium, magnesium and/or sodium and ascorbate (making it an alkaline version of ascorbic acid). Great for those wanting to improve bone health, prevent osteopenia/osteoporosis, those taking magnesium lowering medications, chronic headaches, constipation, leg cramps and want to reduce the risk of heart disease. Caution with Sodium ascorbate for those who are on lower sodium diets. Ascorbate formulations cause less gastric irritation while maintaining equal antioxidant capacity (for those who react negatively to the acidity in ascorbic acid base vitamin C supplements.
  3. Ester-C – created by having the vitamin C react with a necessary mineral such as also known as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, or zinc. This results in a form of the vitamin that is nonacidic and that contains vitamin C metabolites identical to those produced by the body. This form of vitamin C enters the blood stream 4 times faster than standard forms of vitamin C because it moves into the blood cells more efficiently and also stays in the body tissues longer.
  4. Buffered – mineral salts of ascorbic acid (mineral ascorbates) are less acidic (makes them buffered). Good for people with gastrointestinal problems (upset stomach or diarrhea) who react with plain ascorbic acid. Buffered vitamin C is well absorbed and will come in the following ways, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and molybdenum, chromium, and manganese ascorbate.
  5. Bioflavonoids – you may see this added to your vitamin C supplements. Bioflavonoids are antioxidants + plant derived compounds. Used to enhance action and absorption of vitamin C, anti-allergy, and anti-inflammatory.
  6. Liposomal – uses a fat-soluble covering that helps the ascorbic acid molecule pass through the digestive tract more easily. High blood concentrations have been found greater in liposome encapsulated vitamin C than just ascorbic acid on its own.
  7. Ascorbyl Palmitate – rather than water soluble vitamin C, this is a fat-soluble source. Best used on the skin as a topical preparation. Also used in suppositories and as food preservatives.
  8. Rose hips – a vitamin C supplements with rose hips is usually ascorbic acid. Rose hips come from the fruits of the rose plants and contain high amounts of vitamin C and is well absorbed.

For maximum effectiveness, vitamin C should be taken in divided doses, 2-3 times daily.

Follow Kaitlin H. CNP. @ms. holistic_ on IG or for alternative and holistic health education.


  • Davis et al. Liposomal-encapsulated Ascorbic Acid: Influence on Vitamin C Bioavailability and Capacity to Protect Against Ischemia–Reperfusion Injury. Nutrition and Metabolic Insights 2016:9 25–30 doi:10.4137/NMI.S39764.

Balch, A. Phyllis, CNC, and Stacey Bell, DSC. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. The Penguin Group, 2010.