What is Ascorbic Acid, really?

During flu season and especially when feeling the onset of a cold coming, we always get out our trusty Vitamin C from the medicine cabinet. The typical dosage people take when feeling sick or for immune building is about 500-1000 mg a day (more when sick). But when you look closely at the bottle, 98% of the time you'll see ascorbic acid (or the less acidic form called ascorbate) as the main form of C, but I'll teach you a little something you may not know.

Ascorbic acid is NOT vitamin C. It represents the outer ring that serves as a protective shell for the entire vitamin C complex, much like an orange peel that serves as a protective shell for an orange.

In essence, you're not really taking Vitamin C. You're taking a synthetic form that is not as readily bioavailable as C from food. You're not getting the full benefits of what the entire C complex contains. For example, vitamin C contains the following components:
  • Rutin
  • Bioflavonoids (vitamin P)
  • Factor K
  • Factor J
  • Factor P
  • Tyrosinase
  • Ascorbinogen
  • Ascorbic Acid
New Chapter C Food Complex
It's unbelievable how many times I see people buying all or some of these in their synthetic form when all they have to do is consume foods containing vitamin C (which has the full complex) or taking a C supplement that is whole food based. 

Here's the deal: When you take only ascorbic acid found in your synthetic vitamin C tablet or powder, your body must get all of the other components listed above from your body’s tissues in order to make use of it. 

Garden of Life Raw Vitamin C
Please understand that ascorbic acid itself DOES NOT provide any of the health benefits that the full vitamin C complex does. 

After circulating through your system, the unused ascorbic acid is eliminated through your urine.

There are several GOOD supplement companies that offer food based vitamin C from the following sources: acerola fruit, amla berry, and camu camu. Two of my favorite supplement companies that ONLY use whole foods and herbs are New Chapter and Garden of Life. 

When looking at whole food based supplements, don't look for the same milligrams you're used to. All are NOT created equal. When you take 1000 mg of ascorbic acid, you only absorb about 10-30% of the tablet or capsule, which is why we take such high doses. When you consume natural forms of C, you're getting it from food, not from a foreign synthetic form that is unrecognized by your body. 

Bottom line: always try to take the food based form, whether in supplement or in food form, of vitamins and minerals for all your health needs, but especially with vitamin C.

RDA (Recommended Daily Amount) = 60mg
ODA (Optimum Daily Amount - good for daily use) = 1,000-3,000mg
TDA (Therapeutic Daily Allowance - by doctor's recommendation only) = 10,000mg

1 comment:

  1. New Chapter and Garden of life are my favorite supplement brands too!

    I'm so excited to see you this weekend!