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The Many Faces of Vitamin C

By this point, if you’ve been paying attention to Vine Vera’s blogs at all, you should be well-acquainted with the essential role vitamin C plays in your body, on your skin, and even in your hair, as well as just how prolific and multitudinous the benefits of having a high amount of vitamin C in your blood and on your skin care. And if you’re not, just read up on any one of the several articles we’ve given you on the subject this week.

But today, we’re going to expand on the topic of vitamin C in health and skin care, and explain the different forms vitamin C comes in, and what you should know about each to be as healthy and happy as possible.

Orange half filled with vitamin C tablets.

Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamin C
In this case, “natural” and “synthetic” simply refers to the way the molecule was created. Vitamin C, a molecule also known as ascorbic acid, which has the chemical formula C6H8O6 and a specific single-ring structure to it, is the same molecule whether it comes from a lab or from nature. It can be extracted from various plants, or it can be synthesized in a lab, but clinical studies have confirmed that either way will be equally effective, so this is one “difference” you don’t need to worry about.

Mineral Ascorbates
A mineral ascorbate is vitamin C that’s been “buffered,” which means it’s been combined with another element (a mineral) in a compound like sodium ascorbate or calcium ascorbate that should ultimately get converted back to regular vitamin C after it’s been digested and entered the bloodstream. This makes the nutrient less acidic, making it thereby less likely to irritate the stomach, so a mineral ascorbate-based supplement could be ideal if you tend to have a stomach that’s easily upset by acid, or if you have acid-reflux disease. In short, try pure ascorbic acid supplements first, and see how they affect you, turning to mineral ascorbates if your body seems to be informing you it doesn’t appreciate the extra acidity. Either way, the health benefits are the same.

Chemical formula of Ascorbic Acid.

Pure Ascorbic Acid
As already mentioned, ascorbic acid is just the chemical name for Vitamin C, and most supplements contain it in a pure form. Whether dissolved in water, swallowed in a tablet, or eaten in a chewable tablet, you will get the same dose at the same effectiveness. That said, time-release capsules (you can tell they’re time-release because they’ll have a plastic-like outer coating) tend to only be half as effective, so keep that in mind.