Types of Vitamin C supplementation

There are many different kinds of vitamin C supplements available on the market due to the growth of the dietary supplement industry. Do you wonder if these vitamin C supplements are all the same or different from one another? You can look into the following varieties of vitamin C available on the market:

  1. Plain ascorbic acid

Ascorbic acid that is identical to that which occurs naturally in food, but usually entirely synthetic and not sourced from any foods or fruits. While it has good absorption at low dosages, some people may find it too acidic for their stomachs and unable to tolerate high dosages.


  • Cheap
  • Effective
  • Good absorption at lower dosage
  • Taste good in chewable form


  • Acidic to the stomach
  • Absorption is poor at high dosage
  • Short half-life
  1. Mineral ascorbates

Also known as ‘buffered’ vitamin C. Buffered means neutralised in a way; hence, the buffered type of vitamin C is usually stomach-friendly and can be consumed without food.


  • Stomach friendly


  • Cost more
  1. Time release vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin; hence, consumption of a high dosage in a single dose might end up being wasted in the toilet bowl as urine. Thus, a time-release formula aims to solve this problem without taking multiple tablets and by releasing vitamin C slowly throughout the day. Depending on the formulation, the duration of vitamin C in the body can be prolonged anywhere between 8-12 hours. The duration is usually affected by the type of food we eat, etc.


  • Longer half-life of vitamin C


  • Cost more
  1. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids

Polyphenolic compounds called bioflavonoids, also called flavonoids, are present in plants and are particularly abundant in plant foods high in vitamin C.  Plants produce flavonoids in response to microbial infection; there are approximately 5,000 distinct varieties of flavonoids. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids are frequently found in combination in supplements that work synergistically.  This is due to the fact that though some studies have found no difference, others have found that adding flavonoids may help to increase the absorption of vitamin C from supplements.

  1. Fully natural vitamin C from fruits/ vegetables

This kind of vitamin C comes from the direct extraction of fruits that are high in the vitamin. It typically has unique benefits when extracted from fruits, such as a pleasant flavour and chewability.

While the actual vitamin C molecule and synthetic vitamin C are identical, natural vitamin C has higher absorption rates, can lower oxidative stress and inflammation, and is therefore considered to have stronger antioxidant qualities. 


  1. Oregan State University. Micronutrient Information Centre. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/continuing-education
  2. Care Of. What Is the Form of Best Vitamin C for Absorption? The Science Explained. https://www.takecareof.com/articles/what-is-the-best-vitamin-c-for-absorption
  3. Nutriadvanced. https://www.nutriadvanced.co.uk/news/confused-about-the-different-types-of-vitamin-c/