In September’s blog, we explored the many benefits of Ascorbic acid, AKA Vitamin C, when it comes to health and beauty. Vitamin C is our favorite go-to healthcare product because of its antioxidants, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory properties. We stick by our product spotlight of September’s blog: Sanitas Vita C Serum. (This product is “a nutrient rich, antioxidant serum [that] addresses the visible signs of aging, brightens and delivers hydration”.) Bellagena loves Vitamin C for because intake can promote better skin health. Although, one thing we didn’t discuss was the different types of Vitamin C. In the growing field of dietary supplements, you want to make sure you are taking that right kind of Vitamin C for you!
Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamin C
Natural and synthetic vitamin c are chemically identical, according to the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University, and there are no known differences in their biological activity. According to the article, “A study of 12 males (6 smokers and 6 nonsmokers) found the bioavailability of synthetic ascorbic acid (powder administered in water) to be slightly superior to that of orange juice, based on blood levels of ascorbic acid, and not different based on ascorbic acid.” Although natural sources may differ slightly, there is no significant difference between a natural and synthetic vitamin c supplements.
Different Forms of Ascorbic Acid
When studying how the body absorbs Vitamin C in different forms, an interesting observation made by the institute:
“The gastrointestinal absorption of ascorbic acid occurs through an active transport process, as well as through passive diffusion. At low gastrointestinal concentrations of ascorbic acid active transport predominates, while at high gastrointestinal concentrations active transport becomes saturated, leaving only passive diffusion. In theory, slowing down the rate of stomach emptying (e.g., by taking ascorbic acid with food or taking a slow-release form of ascorbic acid) should increase its absorption. While the bioavailability of ascorbic acid appears equivalent whether it is in the form of powder, chewable tablets, or non-chewable tablets, the bioavailability of ascorbic acid from slow-release preparations is less certain.”
This may should like a bunch of nonsense, but let me explain! Basically, Vitamin C is most often absorbed by your digestive tract. It depends on what form it is absorbed in (taking the vitamin with food or taking it as a slow-release form) that determines its level of absorption. It appears, according to the study, that slow release forms of Vitamin C are less absorbable.
- Mineral Salts: less acidic, and therefore, considered “buffered.” Often recommended to people who experience gastrointestinal problems (upset stomach or diarrhea). The two most common are listed ..
- Sodium ascorbate: Individuals following low-sodium diets (e.g., for high blood pressure). Megadoses of vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbate could significantly increase sodium intake, so be careful!
- Calcium ascorbate: Calcium in this form appears to be reasonably well absorbed.
- Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, are often rich sources of flavonoids as Alex Kim of SmartyPants Vitamins goes into detail: “If you eat your 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies, you’re bound to get enough vitamin C, right? Maybe. The problem is that vitamin C is subject to change when exposed to light, air and heat. So, when our vitamin C-packed foods are cooked, they lose some (and sometimes more than some) of their vitamin C power.”
If you are considering supplements, it’s best to look for the “NSF Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) certification.” NSF is a non-profit company who administers the GMP certification to those facilities that meet only the highest standards for supplement manufacturing. You can also make sure to check with your Bellagena consultant to see if adding supplements to your diet is right for you.
Kim, Alex. “Vitamin C: Natural Vs Synthetic.” SmartyPants Vitamins, 10 Jan. 2014, www.smartypantsvitamins.com/blogs/articles/vitamin-c-natural-vs-synthetic.
“Supplemental Forms.” Linus Pauling Institute, 2 Jan. 2019, lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C/supplemental-forms.