Supplemental Forms of Vitamin C

Posted by Blog Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Vitamin C is rapidly absorbed and rapidly eliminated from the body. When using supplements containing vitamin C, it is best if the vitamin C is released slowly, over a period of time. This reduces the rebound effect, where less vitamin C is available than normal after a supplementary dose has been used up. Taking vitamin C supplements throughout the day is another way of ensuring availability. Taking a timed-release form of vitamin
C before going to bed can help keep it available all night.

Guidelines for Vitamin C Supplements

Use timed-release tablets or periodic dosing.

The ascorbated form is less acidic and better transported.

Include bioflavonoids to offset possible capillary fragility.

Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid has a pH of 2.8, which is slightly less acidic than lemon juice. This acidity is not usually a problem if less than 100 mg are taken in any one dose. However, if doses are higher, such as one gram or above, the acidity may irritate the intestines or urinary tract, causing mild discomfort or diarrhea. To avoid this acidity, vitamin C supplements can be ascorbated with a mineral.

Ascorbation is a process where an acidic vitamin is combined chemically with an alkaline mineral. Calcium ascorbate and sodium ascorbate are the most common forms, although many other minerals can be ascorbated. The ascorbated vitamin C is easier for the body to transport. Ascorbated forms of vitamin C are pH neutral, so intestinal irritation does not occur.

A tolerable upper intake level for vitamin C is set at 2 grams (2,000 milligrams) daily in order to prevent most adults from experiencing diarrhea and gastrointestinal disturbances due to the acidity of vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid. On the other hand, ascorbates, with their neutral pH, are not associated with these problems.

Natural vitamin C in food is the same chemical as the synthetic L-ascorbic acid found in supplements. The natural ascorbic acid in food is digested and absorbed slowly, providing a timed-release effect. Also, because of natural buffering, many  foods that contain ascorbic acid do not cause irritation of the intestines. One exception is citrus juice, which, in excess, can irritate the intestines.

Vitamin C in food has several advantages over synthetic ascorbic acid.

Natural ascorbic acid found in food is also commonly accompanied by bioflavonoids. The white partitions of citrus fruits are rich in bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids have their own powerful antioxidant effects. One of the effects of bioflavonoids is to decrease capillary fragility. Since ascorbic acid slightly increases capillary fragility, this action of the bioflavonoids offsets this tendency. Natural ascorbic acid in food may also ascorbate with minerals in the food, thereby easing absorption  and transport.

Some vitamin C supplements contain small amounts of the vitamin C metabolite dehydroascorbate (oxidized ascorbic acid) and other vitamin C metabolites. Absorption has not been shown to be higher with these additions. Other supplements contain a fat-soluble form of vitamin C known as ascorbyl palmitate. The ascorbic acid is combined with palmitic acid and becomes fat soluble. Ascorbyl palmitate is often used in cosmetic creams as a fat-soluble antioxidant. Taken orally, ascorbyl palmitate is broken down to ascorbic acid and palmitic acid before absorption.

Toxicity of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the least toxic substances used in supplements. Even in huge doses of 10 to 20 grams daily, no health problems or side effects were noted, other than gastrointestinal disturbances if ascorbates were not used. There has not been reliable data to show that vitamin C has a clear relationship with kidney stone formation in the human body. This is in spite of the fact that excess vitamin C in the blood does break down to oxalic acid and is eliminated through the kidneys.

In test tube experiments, vitamin C can interact with some free metal ions, such as iron, to produce potentially damaging free radicals. However, free metal ions are not generally found in the body. Supplemental vitamin C has not been found to promote these free radicals inside a human body. Generous amounts of vitamin C keep us healthy and protect us from illness in many ways.

More about C-Vitamin:

Vitamin C The Citrus Antioxidant

Most Popular Supplement

Biosynthesis of Vitamin C

Collagen and Vitamin C

Vitamin C as an Antioxidant

Vitamin C, Infections, and the Common Cold

Vitamin C and Disease Prevention

Other Roles of Vitamin C

Vitamin C Food Sources

Supplemental Forms of Vitamin C


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