Vitamin C is an essential nutrient critically important for many biological functions. Notably, vitamin C acts as cofactor for a number of enzymatic reactions, including collagen, carnitine and catecholamine synthesis, as well as wound healing and neurotransmitter production. As a potent antioxidant, vitamin C strengthens the body’s natural defenses by scavenging damaging free radicals, thereby providing protection against oxidative stress-induced cellular damage. In fact, vitamin C is the body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant. Adequate daily intake of antioxidants like vitamins C and E is vital to combat the pro-inflammatory effects of free radicals. Several epidemiological studies have found that vitamin C may protect against coronary heart disease and gout, diseases with inflammatory components. Higher blood levels of vitamin C are associated with lower C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, a substance produced by the liver associated with overall and cardiac-related inflammation.
Unlike other mammals, the human body is unable to synthesize vitamin C, meaning it must be obtained through vitamin C-rich foods or through daily supplementation. Even in small amounts, vitamin C protects indispensable molecules including proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids from free radicals, as well as reactive oxygen species (ROS). Generated through normal metabolism and immune cell activity, as well as exposure to toxins and pollutants, ROS have the potential to wreak havoc on a broad range of macromolecules when produced in excess. Though the debate continues, overall evidence shows that regular intake of sufficient vitamin C may shorten the duration of, but not cure, the common cold. Additionally, by enhancing intestinal absorption of non-heme iron, Vitamin C increases the bioavailability of iron obtained from the diet. Plasma levels of vitamin C are tightly controlled by intestinal absorption, tissue transport and renal reabsorption.
Supplemental forms of Vitamin C explained:
Ascorbic acid: Ascorbic acid is the biologically active form of vitamin C found naturally in certain fruits and vegetables. It may also be obtained through extended-release capsules, lozenges, chewable tablets, powders and in liquid form. Vitamin C plays important roles in the growth and repair of all bodily tissues including skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. It aids in the repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones and teeth, as well as wound healing and scar tissue formation.
Mineral ascorbates: Less acidic, and therefore less irritating to the gastrointestinal tract than other forms, buffered mineral ascorbates are often recommended to those with intestinal issues. With mineral ascorbates, both the mineral and the ascorbic acid appear to be well absorbed. There are many forms available for those wishing to increase individual mineral intake along with vitamin C, including potassium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, manganese and molybdenum. Sodium ascorbate is milder than ascorbic acid and more stomach friendly but may not be suitable for those on a low sodium diet for high blood pressure. As well, those who are taking potassium-sparing diuretics or those with renal insufficiency should avoid significant intake of potassium ascorbate.
Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: Research suggests that vitamin C and bioflavonoids have a complementary effect. Naturally occurring plant-derived antioxidant chemical compounds known collectively as polyphenols, flavonoids work synergistically with vitamin C. Flavonoids may affect the transport of vitamin C throughout the body and may also influence the absorption and utilization of vitamin C. In addition, vitamin C with flavonoids may offer additional protection against coronary heart disease, as well as protect nerve cells from damage.
Ascorbates and vitamin C metabolites (Ester-C®): Ester-C® contains calcium ascorbates as well as small amounts of vitamin C metabolites, such as threonate, shown in studies to increase the bioavailability of vitamin C.
Vitamin C insufficiency can be seen in approximately 40 percent of the U.S. adult population. Smokers and those with diets deficient in fruits and vegetables are advised to increase consumption of vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries and kiwi, as well as cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Daily high quality vitamin C supplementation can help ensure adequate intake of this vitally important essential nutrient.
Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality vitamin C supplements in support of overall health:
Pure Ascorbic Acid by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic formula provides 1,000 mg of vitamin C as ascorbic acid per serving. Necessary for connective tissue heath and the maintenance of bones and teeth, this essential nutrient provides powerful antioxidant support for cellular and overall health. Also available in powdered form. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.
Vitamin C + by Professional Supplement Center®: ON SALE Vitamin C + provides high potency buffered vitamin C as well as bioavailable mineral cofactors and bioflavonoids for optimal absorption and utilization. Vitamin C is provided in ascorbate form to inhibit stomach irritation. Gluten free vegetarian formulation.
Ester-C® and Flavonoids by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic formula provides vitamin C as calcium ascorbate enhanced with flavonoid compounds to help maintain a healthy immune system, blood vessel integrity and cellular health. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.
Overview of Inflammation: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/inflammation
Vitamins C and E: Beneficial effects from a mechanistic perspective. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156342/
The Bioavailability of Different Forms of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid). https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C/supplemental-forms
Free Radicals and Reactive Oxygen. http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/topics/radicals.html
Vitamin C: Sources & Benefits: https://www.livescience.com/51827-vitamin-c.html
Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835915/
The Benefits of Taking 500 mg of Buffered Vitamin C. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-taking-500mg-buffered-vitamin-c-10912.html