Have you tried taking a cheap over the counter vitamin C supplement only to find it offered no noticeable health benefits?
ANSWER: Choosing the best vitamin C supplement for your health comes down to more than comparing prices.
Vitamin c plays an important rule in many processes however the human body does not store it. To maintain appropriate levels of vitamin C, humans must consume a daily intake through food and if need be supplements.
At Life Pharmacy, we typically start with dietary changes with the goal of boosting your vitamin C intake through consuming more fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, broccoli, kale, and spinach.
While the official daily intake for vitamin C of 75-90mg is realistic from diet alone, researcher Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, of the University of Michigan suggests that 500 daily milligrams of vitamin C is more appropriate for achieving the full list of health benefits of vitamin C.
We are inclined to agree with the higher daily recommendation and would even suggest higher levels still under specific circumstances. Further, a study published in 2004 in the Journal of American College of Nutrition found a ‘reliable decline’ in the nutritional makeup of fruit and vegetables for protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and vitamin C between 1950 to 1999.
As a result, we suggest taking a high quality supplement in addition to an increase in fruit and vegetables is a good idea.
To this end, what do you need to consider when looking to buy the best vitamin c supplement so you can maximise the health benefits?
What to Consider when choosing a vitamin C supplement
Types of vitamin C
To find the best vitamin C supplements in NZ starts with understanding what the different types of vitamin C are. All of the types mentioned below are either pure ascorbic acid or ‘ascorbate’ which essentially means the ascorbic acid is bounded to other minerals.
Is essential the official name for vitamin C and is known by several other names including ascorbate, L-ascorbic acid and L-ascorbate. The ‘L’ indicates the natural form of vitamin C. The vast majority of Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) supplements are synthetically derived using fermented GMO corn syrup sourced in China. The corn syrup is then treated with solvents such as acetone, sulphuric acid or sodium hydroxide to extract the ascorbic acid.
While multiple studies have shown that the natural and synthetic forms are chemically identical with no difference in bioavailability those same studies admit fruit and vegetables are rich in numerous nutrients and phytochemicals which may influence its bioavailability.
Ascorbic acid supplements may cause an upset stomach in some people.
As mentioned above, pure ascorbic acid can be too acidic for some people’s stomach and even cause heartburn. Mineral salts of ascorbic acid such as sodium ascorbate are less acidic and are often recommended in these instances. While there appears to be little scientific research to substantiate or refute this claim what is clear is both the vitamin C and mineral are well absorbed. Make sure to check your other sources of sodium when taking this type of supplement.
This form of mineral salts binds with calcium to achieve the same acid neutralising function as the sodium ascorbate. As the calcium is reasonably well absorbed the same consideration to overall calcium intake needs to be accounted for when taking larger doses above 1,000mg/day.
There are other bound mineral salt combinations such as Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc, Molybdenum, Chromium and Manganese. In each instance it is important to monitor your overall intake of each mineral to ensure you are not at risk of exceeding the daily recommended dietary intake.
Vitamin C with bioflavonoids
Bioflavonoids or flavonoids are plant compounds that function as antioxidants. Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables are typically a great source of these compounds. While research has been mixed as to how effective bioflavonoids are in enhancing the absorption rate of vitamin C it should be noted that they are beneficial compounds for overall health. Further, vitamin C is known to enhance their bioavailability so it follows that increasing their dietary intake is a good thing.
Vitamin C Liposomes
Liposomes vitamin C is able to achieve serum blood levels of vitamin C nearly twice those possible with traditional vitamin C products taken as capsules, tablets or powders.
In order to understand why liposomes are so effective you must understand that liposomes themselves are a delivery method. Most forms of vitamin C are processed in the intestines which limits the amount of ascorbic acid which can be absorbed into the bloodstream to as low as 12%. Not only is the excess water-soluble vitamin C lost in the urine but it can also cause gastric distress including gas, cramps and diarrhoea.
Liposomes are double-layered bubbles that are scientifically proven to act as a superior delivery system for nutrients to cells by effectively slipping across the intestinal wall and into the blood.
There are many ways vitamin C can be delivered to the body. Each option comes down to a combination of personal preference and functional requirements. At Life Pharmacy, we recommend the Liposomes approach for the highest absorption rate available.
Available in natural or synthetic form, as chewable tablets, capsules, liquids and powders. Typical reasons for picking one option over another include, chewable tables being easier for children to take with powders and liquids offering greater control of the amount of ascorbic acid being consumed at a time. Tablets are probably the most convenient and don’t require any measuring or liquids.
The timed delivery approach simply means that not all vitamin C is released from the capsule all at once. It is well known that the body is not designed to absorb so much vitamin C at the same time. This can lead to most of the nutrient passing out of the body through the urine. The effectiveness of this approach has not been definitely proven by studies to date.
The liposomes delivery method used double-layer bubbles to protect the nutrients and deliver them across the intestinal wall. By passing the nutrient directly into the bloodstream the absorption rate is almost twice that of other delivery options.
Intravenous Vitamin C
Another option which is beyond the scope of this article is intravenous vitamin c which involves using an IV drip to deliver the nutrient directly into the bloodstream.
Topical vitamin C
Concentrated serums can be applied directly to skin for protective antioxidant benefits. These serums are particularly popular in anti-aging formulas.
Official daily intake is 75-90mg with new research suggesting the number should be much higher. To really understand your current levels and how to fix any deficiencies you may have we would recommend booking an appointment with our qualified naturopath.
What foods are Victamin C rich? Take a look to our brochure:
As a water-soluble vitamin the risk of reaching overdose levels of toxicity is unlikely so increasing your intake through food and a high quality supplement is a good idea. Vitamin C is essential for hundreds of processes in the body including :
growth and repair of tissues
making skin, tendons and blood vessels
helping wounds heal faster
keeping bones and teeth healthy
general health maintenance
Is Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C right for me?
At Life Pharmacy we believe that the liposomes delivery method is the most reliable way to increase your vitamin C levels via a supplement. As with any supplement, we recommend you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before starting to use Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C. At Life Pharmacy, we stock only the highest quality products and have a certified naturopath on hand to provide personalised advice on vitamin C deficiency, products, dosage, benefits and any other questions you may have.
If you want specific advice tailored to your individual circumstances, including advising on the best magnesium supplement for health benefits please give our qualified Naturopath a call.