How To Choose The Best Vitamin C Supplement in 2024

On This Page

    In this article we’ll discuss the benefits of vitamin C supplementation, how to choose the best quality product, and other important things to know.

    Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient, supplying the body with vital antioxidants and immune system support. There are many excellent food sources of vitamin C, but it’s also commonly taken as a vitamin supplement. In this article we’ll discuss the benefits of vitamin C supplementation, how to choose the best quality product, and other important things to know.

    What is Vitamin C?

    Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that humans require because the body can’t make it on its own. It is one of the most-researched vitamins, so there’s a lot that’s known about it.

    Vitamin C is needed for:

    • Antioxidant defenses (from things like tobacco use, air pollution, environmental contaminants, and even UV light)
    • Regenerating other antioxidants in the body (like vitamin E)
    • Healthy immune system responses
    • Collagen synthesis
    • Protein metabolism
    • Normal wound healing and tissue repair
    • Absorption of non-heme (plant-sourced) iron
    • Carnitine production
    • Supporting the production of some neurotransmitters

    Vitamin C must be consumed regularly, since it is water-soluble and excess is eliminated from the body via the kidneys. After you’ve consumed vitamin C, it is distributed through the body as needed, with highest concentrations going to white blood cells (leukocytes), the eyes, the adrenal glands, and the brain (including the pituitary gland within the brain). Vitamin C is not concentrated in blood plasma, making it challenging to monitor levels with lab testing.

    Are vitamin C supplements necessary?

    In short, no. Vitamin C supplements are not necessary for the average person who consumes fruits and vegetables daily. However, sometimes a vitamin C supplement is recommended to support healthy nutrient intake.

    Some instances can include:

    • Older age
    • Gastrointestinal absorption issues
    • Little or no fruit and vegetable intake
    • Restricted diets
    • Tobacco use
    • When taking certain medications

    Your healthcare provider can determine if you’d benefit from a vitamin C supplement.

    Vitamin C deficiency

    Vitamin C deficiency is rare, but when it happens, it leads to scurvy. This disease, which is often associated with historical accounts of sailors who spent far too long at sea without fruits or vegetables, includes extreme fatigue and connective tissue problems.

    What are the Benefits of Vitamin C Supplements?

    Vitamin C supplements can be useful for several reasons.

    • Antioxidant support: Acts as an antioxidant to support healthy cellular and tissue responses.
    • Immune system support: Supports and helps maintain healthy immune system activity
    • Healthy energy processes: VItamin C can support cell integrity, which can help keep the mitochondria (the energy-generating factories within cells) working properly.
    • Healthy focus and motivation: A randomized controlled trial found that vitamin C supplements were linked with better attention and motivation at work.
    • Resilience and stress support: Vitamin C was found to work better than placebo at enhancing resilience, which is helpful for processing stress.

    Different Types of Vitamin C Supplements

    Vitamin C supplements come in several different types.

    • Capsules: Vitamin C powder is placed inside a capsule, which is swallowed.
    • Chewables: Vitamin C is paired with flavor and other ingredients to deliver the nutrient in a chewable form.
    • Gummy vitamins: Vitamin C is formulated with gelatin and other ingredients to produce a softer chewable option.
    • Powder: Vitamin C has a tangy, citrus-like sourness to it, and the powdered form of the vitamin may also include a sweetener. This form can usually be dissolved in water or juice.
    • Liquid: Liposomal vitamin C, which is formulated to be delivered with phospholipids, may be delivered in liquid form. This often includes sweetener or other ingredients to make the supplement palatable.

    Whatever form you take, the most important factor is choosing a supplement that you can consistently follow through with and that is free from anything you may be sensitive or allergic to.

    How to Choose the Best Vitamin C Supplement

    There are several things to consider when choosing the best vitamin C supplement for your needs.

    Quality and Ingredients

    Dietary supplements can vary in quality based on how they are made. Things to consider about the quality of your vitamin C supplement include:

    • Supplement facts: This will tell you how much vitamin C you’re getting per serving. Be sure to check the serving size too. Sometimes it’s one capsule, but at other times, it could be 2 or more.
    • Other ingredients: If you have food allergies, sensitivities, or specific dietary requirements, you need to read the label closely to ensure that it aligns with your needs. Not all supplements are gluten free, vegan, or vegetarian. Don’t forget to check the additional ingredients section, too.
    • Cost: Supplements can range in cost by quite a lot. Consider the serving size and the cost to ensure they meet your budget.


    The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) has been set based on age and stage of life. Here are the ranges for adults:

    • Adults born female: 75 mg (+10 for pregnancy, +45 for lactation)
    • Adults born male: 90 mg
    • Tobacco users: +35 mg per day

    Healthcare providers may recommend intakes beyond these amounts based on your individual needs. The tolerable upper limit for all adults is 2,000 mg per day.


    Vitamin C comes in several forms.

    • Ascorbic acid: This is the scientific name for vitamin C, and it is available in synthetic and natural forms, with natural forms that contain bioflavonoids from whole foods to have the advantage.
    • Ascorbyl palmitate: A fat-soluble esterized form of vitamin C that has the same absorption rate as acorbic acid.
    • With bioflavonoids: Vitamin C is paired with phytonutrients (bioflavonoids) that enhance the properties of vitamin C and antioxidant use.
    • With calcium or other minerals: Vitamin C is paired with calcium or other minerals, resulting in a buffered form that may be less acidic, though this needs to be directly proven with human clinical studies.
    • Liposomal vitamin C: Vitamin C is formulated with fat (phospholipids) to support delivery and absorption.

    To determine which form will work best for you, you should think about why you’re taking it. Your healthcare provider can advise on which form(s) might be best for you.

    Brand Reliability

    The brand who makes your vitamin C supplement can play an important role in the quality. The U.S. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets regulatory standards for supplement manufacturers known as Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs). Many brands have their products third-party tested, verified, or certified by independent organizations. This demonstrates trustworthiness to customers and helps to establish brand trust and reliability.

    Some certifications to look for include:

    Care/of’s products are certified C.L.E.A.N., which has three unique core concepts of safety, minimal processing, and bioavailable nutrient forms.

    Are There Any Side Effects?

    Vitamin C has low toxicity when taken in normally recommended amounts. Serious side effects are rare, since it is not stored in the body. At very high intakes from supplements, it can lead to nausea, diarrhea, and intestinal cramping. Additionally, it could cause headaches or vomiting; this outcome, however, is more likely to result from IV vitamin C rather than oral supplements.

    Vitamin C has the potential to interact with medications, so anyone with existing health diagnoses should check with their medical provider before taking supplements.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How much vitamin C should you take daily?

    Most people get enough vitamin C from food. If you do take a supplement, the RDA ranges between 75–120 for adults, with an additional 35 mg recommended for those who use tobacco.

    Can you take vitamin C every day?

    Yes, it is safe to take vitamin C daily as long as you take it as recommended on your vitamin or product, or as your healthcare provider says.

    Are Vitamin C supplements safe?

    Yes, when taken as directed, they are safe and unlikely to cause side effects. If you have food allergies or other health conditions, verify the safety with your medical provider.

    What is the best food source for vitamin C?

    Many foods are rich sources of vitamin C, including bell peppers, citrus fruits, cherries, and berries.

    Will vitamin C affect the kidneys?

    Vitamin C can support kidney health by working as an antioxidant, supporting non-heme iron absorption, and enhancing erythropoietin production (which is needed for healthy red blood cells, circulation, and energy transport).

    Taking higher amounts of vitamin C comes with an increased risk of kidney stones. Consuming 250–499 mg daily may carry an 11% increased risk, while a daily intake of 1,000–1,499 mg of vitamin C supplements may lead to a 14% increased risk. However, these risks are mostly noted in people born male. If you have kidney issues or other health conditions, consult your medical provider before taking supplements.

    What is the best form of vitamin C?

    Vitamin C that comes from food is the best, and dietary supplements can’t replace a healthy diet. Forms of vitamin C are fairly comparable, with liposomal vitamin C having the highest absorption but only slightly.

    The Bottom Line

    The importance of vitamin C cannot be overstated. Most people get plenty from foods, but supplements can be an additional way to support healthy intake. Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system, tissue repair, collagen synthesis, and much more. If starting or changing your vitamin C supplementation regimen it should be discussed with a healthcare provider, especially those with existing health conditions or taking medications that could interact with vitamin C.

    You're unique. Your supplements should be too.

    Take the quiz
    Laurel Ash, ND
    Laurel Ash, ND: Medical Content Reviewer
    Laurel Ash, ND is a board-certified Naturopathic Physician. She holds additional credentials with a master’s in integrative mental health. Dr. Ash graduated from the National University of Natural Medicine in 2019. Dr. Ash practices in Oregon and Washington where ND’s scope of practice includes primary care. Using the best tools of allopathic/conventional medicine with the holistic tenants of naturopathic medicine has created a powerful force of healing for the patients in her practice. Dr. Ash focuses on combining integrative/functional health modalities with evidence-based medicine. She has experience as a medical reviewer in the holistic medicine field and partners with companies and practitioners to produce science-backed content for readers and consumers interested in holistic medicine. She is passionate about blending the strengths of allopathic and integrative medicine to transform the healthcare industry, empowering people with an understanding of all their options on their wellness journey.
    Mia McNew, MS
    Freelance Contributor
    Mia McNew is a nutrition science researcher with bachelor's and master's degrees in nutrition science and biochemistry. She holds additional certifications in clinical nutrition and formerly managed a private nutrition practice focusing on fertility and the management of chronic health and autoimmune disorders. She is currently pursuing a PhD in human nutrition with a research focus on disability, underserved populations, and inequities in popular nutrition therapy approaches. She has extensive experience as a fact-checker, researcher, and critical research analyst and is passionate about science and health communications that provide practical support.