Vitamin C Benefits & Cautions

Vitamin C- sources benefits and cautions

This time of year, when the common cold is making the rounds, many people turn to Vitamin C to help ward off illness. It can certainly be helpful, but not all forms of Vitamin C are created equal.

Before downing a lot of prepackaged (with artificial colors and sweeteners) packets of Vitamin C, it is important to understand which forms of are most effective and how to safely consume it.

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that is needed for many reactions within the body, but that humans are not capable of making internally (most other animals can manufacture Vitamin C in their livers). It is a complex substance found in many foods, especially brightly colored vegetables like bell peppers and citrus fruits, among others.

Since the human body does not manufacture or store it, it must be obtained regularly from diet. Though low level Vitamin C deficiency is common, severe deficiency (also known as Scurvy) is rare in modern times.

The most common form of Vitamin C found in supplements and added to food is Ascorbic Acid, which is an isolated synthetic form. Just as with folic acid and folate, the body can have difficulty using a synthetic form and at times it can be actually harmful.

Benefits of Vitamin C

In its natural form, Vitamin C is a potent water soluble antioxidant that the body uses in many ways, especially:

  • Cellular health and support
  • Production of glutathione, considered the master antioxidant
  • Making collagen (keeps skin looking young)
  • Supporting adrenal health
  • Skin health
  • Immune health
  • Wound healing
  • Much more

I first learned about these benefits in high school when I had to do a research paper on Dr. Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize winning Chemist and Biochemist who is considered one of the fathers of Biochemistry.

He spent much of his career studying Vitamin C and even wrote a book about the importance of it. His work provided much of the current understanding of this important vitamin, but unfortunately, many forms of Vitamin C are now used interchangeably and considered the same when they aren’t.

Since up to a third of people are deficient in Vitamin C, it can be important to supplement, but the type of Vitamin C absolutely matters!

Types of Vitamin C

The most common form of Vitamin C in supplements and added to foods is synthetic Ascorbic Acid, but this isolated form that has potential for problems. Ascorbic acid was discovered in the 1930s, but after more research, the man who discovered it didn’t even recommend its use:

From Radiant Life:

In the 1930’s, Hungarian biochemist Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgi searched for the elusive nutrient factor that prevented scurvy and thus, won the Nobel Prize in medicine for identifying vitamin C and its many health benefits. Although he successfully isolated the structure of the ascorbic acid molecule in his research, his studies clearly demonstrated the vastly superior benefits of consuming foods rich in natural vitamin C, rather than the synthetic version. For this reason, even though he was the discoverer of ascorbic acid, he did not recommend its use! In fact, Dr. Szent-Gyorgi affirmed repeatedly that the best results occurred when people consumed vitamin C in its natural form as present in whole foods.

Today, many scientific studies have demonstrated vitamin C’s important health-enhancing and antioxidant benefits. What many people may not know is that like Dr. Szent-Gyorgi’s research, much of this research has been conducted using foods high in vitamin C, not synthetic ascorbic acid supplements. This is a very significant distinction — since many scientists and healthcare providers now emphasize the importance of obtaining all our nutrients from whole nutrient sources such as found in Premier Vitamin C.

The widespread use of synthetic ascorbic acid may be the reason for the association of high vitamin C consumption and disease in recent research.

This article explains:

The Winter 2009 edition of Wise Traditions cites 3 studies which give pause about large doses of vitamin C. The first study (from the Jun 15, 2001 issue of Science) showed that “synthetic vitamin C may contribute to the formation of genotoxins that can lead to cancer”.

A second study presented to the American Heart Association showed a link between consumption of only 500mg of vitamin C per day and a greater propensity toward thickening of the arteries (Los Angeles Times, March 3, 2000).
Even more recently, athletes taking 1000mg of vitamin C per day showed reduced endurance capacity from interference with antioxidant enzymes (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jan 2008). (source)

At the same time, there are studies showing that Vitamin C consumption in general can lower risk of heart disease and other diseases. (source) There is also much evidence showing benefits for adrenal and immune health.

So what is the difference? As this article explains:

Synthetic vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is not found in nature. It does not grow naturally in plants or trees and cannot be grown on a farm. It can only be made in a lab. Contrary to popular belief, ascorbic acid and vitamin C are not the same thing. Ascorbic acid is not a complete vitamin, but really only the outer layer of the complete complex known as vitamin C. The complete complex of vitamin C as found in natural food sources is composed of these elements:

– Rutinbiofavonoids (vitamin P) factor K

– Factor Jfactor P Tyrosinase

– Ascorbinogen ascorbic acid

All of the above elements must be present in order for the body to absorb and benefit from the vitamin complex. Since synthetic ascorbic acid does not contain the full complex, your body must either gather the missing components from the body’s reservoir, or simply eliminate the ascorbic acid from the body through the urine without benefit to the body. (source)

While synthetic Ascorbic Acid has been shown to kill bacteria and microbes, it doesn’t discriminate between good and bad bacteria and some evidence suggests that it may be harmful to beneficial gut bacteria. It is also often synthesized from corn syrup, which is  often genetically modified.

Sources of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is naturally found in many foods, and when possible, this is the best and safest way to consume it. As I’ve said before, you can’t out supplement a bad diet, so even if supplements are needed, diet must come first.

Vitamin C is found in many foods, especially raw vegetables and fruits like brightly colored bell peppers, Citrus fruits, Acerola Cherry, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and others.

Unfortunately, heating destroys much of the vitamin content in food, so unless a person is consuming a wide variety of raw brightly colored fruits and vegetables daily (which is difficult in the winter months), supplementation can sometimes be helpful. Studies have also shown that the nutrients in food (including Vitamin C) have declined over the last 50 years.

So the best option is to get Vitamin C from food and we should all consume enough brightly colored vegetables and fruits each day, but even with the best of diet, this can sometimes be difficult or not possible. In fact, Vitamin C is one of only five supplements that Chris Krsser recommends supplementing with since it can be so hard to obtain from food.

Thankfully, there are food sources that can be naturally preserved for supplemental Vitamin C including: Acerola, Camu Camu (highest vitamin C content of any plant in the world), various berries and others.

The Vitamin C I Take

I take a natural form of Vitamin C called Pure Radiance C (I’ve also taken pure ground Camu Camu powder, which is available in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs or in powder or capsule form from Radiant Life).

I also make sure to consume enough brightly colored vegetables and greens for their Vitamin C content and for their many other benefits (that Dr. Terry Wahls explains in this podcast). Vitamin C also helps the absorption of Iron, so I also try to take Vitamin C with meals where I eat a real food source of Iron.

What do you think about Vitamin C? Do you take it or try to obtain it from food?

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Reader Comments

  1. Just ordered pure radiance! Do you have a recipe for gummies for my kids to take it in that form? I have gelatin and can get juice but just don’t know proportions and dosage amounts. Thank you!

    • It would depend on how many gummies you’d want them to take a day and how big they were. I typically just added the vitamin C (or other vitamins) and wrote down how much I added so once I cut them up or popped them out of the molds and knew how many there were, I could figure out how much each individual gummy had.

    • Ok, so here’s my statement and question…. Whooping Cough and Vitamin C: Dr. Suzanne Humphries recommends a protocol that requires high doses of vitamin C that I have read from several people has proven effective in shortening the duration. But, as you have mentioned in this blog, synthetic vitamin C kills good and bad gut bacteria, which is not what you want when you have whooping cough. I have searched far and wide for a natural supplement that could replace these high doses, but none exists. There is the supplement you recommend by Pure Radiance and also one made by Activz, but both of these are pretty low on the mg chart. So, I know you are not a doctor, but I’m asking your opinion or any information you can provide dealing with this topic. Has your family dealt with whooping cough and what protocol did you use? Or, do you think using either of these Vitamin C’s in high doses would be a better idea? I am primarily concerned with Vitamin C options. Or, do you just bite the bullet and go with the synthetic for such an issue as whooping cough? Thank you.

      • I would say the sodium ascorbate would be a good choice for anyone dealing with whooping cough. Even if it does kill both the good and the bad bacteria I think it’s better than the antibiotics your doctor would prescribe you. Just have to make sure you’re taking/giving a really good probiotic between taking the vitamin C.

    • Just read on Labdoor vitamin C testing that Pure Radiance C was rated poorly- can read it yourself. Am disappointed was recommended on this site. What is up with that?

  2. What would be a good supplement for kids?

    • While it is certainly preferable to obtain nutrients from food, it is almost impossible to consume the amounts of vitamin C from food to achieve levels proportionate to those in other mammals (worse, I recall reading that recent tests of commercial oranges showed very low or almost nonexistent levels of vitamin C — organic were not much better — probably due to selective breeding to increase sweetness). Pauling and others have demonstrated a number of disease prevention/cures from high doses of ascorbic acid. The key is frequent consumption at lower levels — e.g., it’s better to take 500 mg. 4X/day than 2000 mg. 1X/day — as the absorption/excretion rate of C is fairly short (an hour or two). Others have recommended buffering ascorbic acid by add 1/2 as much (non-aluminum containing) baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) — it is sold as such (or with other mineral buffers) but it’s much cheaper to DIY.

      I usually take the buffered ascorbic acid with some lemon or lime juice as there are other factors in the fruit that may be beneficial either alone or in combination with the vitamin C. It is true that almost all ascorbic acid is manufactured from corn. While I avoid (esp. transgenic) GMOs, it is my understanding that these foreign genes/chemicals are in proteins, of which there shouldn’t be any in synthesized ascorbic acid. Whether it’s corn or any food source, extraction and purification involves chemical processes that are not “natural” — there’s a lot of hype about “natural sources” — it’s not possible to extract and concentrate vitamins from food by any other means.

    • Brandon, thank you for your amazing links. So much marketing and fear out there. Science uses ascorbic acid. If you got the money, i guess spend it on these WholeC products, but I’m not gonna be afraid of using ascorbic acid

    • Im a big fan of Katies articles and recipes, even though I sometimes disagree in certain things lol. Vitamin C is the safest supplement one can take, and we should take. Thanks for the links Brandon. I have been taking 9 grams a day of vitamin C in divided doses for eight months now, planning on doing it for life. If I ever come down with some sort of illness or dealing with extra stress, I also use the liposomal form from Liv On Laboratories. excellent website with a huge compilation of scientific papers related to vitamin C; including, of course, the two unshared Nobel prices winning Linus Pauling’s. I healed my depression thanks to doctor, and I was very suicidal. I am still struggling with some symptoms of chronic fatigue, but I am a lot better and recovering :))

      • I have the Doctor Yourself Book. Love it! Drastically improved our lives with Vitamin C megadoses.

  3. As someone who take high dose vitamin c daily as well as making my own liposomal c, I have done a ton of vitamin c research I have a bit of a different take on vitamin c:

    Unlike certain vitamins (vitamin e for example), vitamin c from natural and synthetic sources is molecularly identical, meaning there is absolutely no difference at all whatsoever between vitamin c from a natural or synthetic source. They have no difference in activity in the body, in absorption, in bioavailability, or in any other aspect, they are exactly identical molecules.

    “Natural and synthetic L-ascorbic acid are chemically identical, and there are no known differences in their biological activity. The possibility that the bioavailability of L-ascorbic acid from natural sources might differ from that of synthetic ascorbic acid was investigated in at least two human studies, and no clinically significant differences were observed.” [] (link for source citation)

    Also, vitamin c is one of the vitamins that has no co-factors that affect its bioavailability in the human body, no mammal that makes its own vitamin c makes the other molecules you mention, nor are those used by the body to assist with the usage of vitamin c in any way.

    “Results from the 10 clinical studies comparing the absorption of vitamin C alone or vitamin C in flavonoid-containing foods showed no appreciable differences in bioavailability of ascorbic acid.” [] (link for source citation)

    When you buy pure vitamin c it is only the vitamin c molecule, there are no genes or other chemicals or allergens present at all, only pure C. Vitamin c is crucial for humans because we are one of the few mammals that contain a damaged copy of the gene required to make vitamin c internally meaning we have to consume it. Mammals our size require a LOT of c. Vitamin C is one of the safest, most helpful supplements you can take, and ascorbic acid is ascorbic acid regardless of the source, just look for a pure form.

    As a long time reader and commenter on your blog, I appreciate the posts and resources you’ve provided. Thank you.

    • I totally agree. I have been making home made liposomal for two over years now and we have found it to be the single most effective treatment for colds and wound infections. I have a friend who uses liposomal and has gut dysbiosis. Taking straight ascorbic acid gives her symptoms of gut damage, but liposomal doesnt – which shows that it is truly going straight into the bloodstream bypassing the gut all together. When you take a dose of liposomal, you feel the benefit immediately!

      • Hi. So how do you make liposomal Vit C?

        • make sure your ingredients are all non-gmo

          • Non-GMO means nothing on it’s own. All powdered lecithins are produced with chemical solvents, acetone/hexane. So Non-GMO it’s pointless. Further there is no current sunflower lecithin on the market which is Non-GMO. The one company that produced it in Italy was put out of business. Liquid Lecithins are the only Non-GMO, non-chemically processed lecithins available.

    • Can you tell us how to make liposomal c. Also how much should one take if they have extreme adrenal fatigue.

      • I’ve been dealing with adrenal fatigued for two years. While I had been kind of fatigued for like ten years, sleeping 10 to 12 hrs a day, I would have a pretty normal life and feel energetic my awakened hours; but suddenly my adrenals shut down and I was in bed extremely fatigued sleeping 20hrs a day. Doctors wouldn’t know what was wrong with me for like a year and a half, so I started detoxifying and filling nutritional deficiencies with mega vitamin supplementation following advice. Doing that got me out of bed and completely healed my suicidal depression (I had that too). It did not healed my adrenal insufficiency but it helped a lot. Finally and ND found out about my adrenals and now am doing hormonal replacement therapy (since my case is so severe). Natural hormones are always better if you have to do them, but it’s safer to try and rebuild the endocrine system with herbs and glandular extracts. The book Adrenal Fatigue by Dr Wilson explains it. And as a curious note: the highest amount of vit C in the body is in the adrenal glands (Dr Jefferies Safe Uses of Cortisol). I hope this help 🙂

  4. I use Nature’s Way Alive Vitamin C. It’s made from only 5 ingredients: organic acerola, organic goji, organic kiwi, organic amla and manioc. Great in smoothies!

  5. Thanks, I have always used vitamin c and think it really helps. I was thinking that the cheaper powders were not a good source and now you confirmed that. I am with you whatever we can get from food sources are the best! I love your blog and so glad you have touched so many lives! I am a blogger as well and love helping people with their health! Keep up the great work Katie!

  6. So, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, kale, ect are not good sources of Vitamin C?

    • Not so much… Again, the heat breaks it down.

    • It does have a taste, mildly bitter but I actually really like the taste. I’ve found that I need less of this than ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate.

      • Katie, is this form of vitamin c tolerated by people with reflux? We usually have to avoid the acidic citrus fruits which makes getting our C more difficult.

  7. What are the 5 supplements recommended that you mentioned were hard to get from foods?

  8. Thank you for posting this informative article! I have already known of the importance of natural vitamin c but my husband and I have felt isolated on the subject amongst friends and family so it feels good to know that we are not alone. We use the natural vitamin c from Healthforce, and we also drink vitamineral green and earth. I think it is more effective than traditional medicine in the event of illness too. When my daughter was 2 months old I developed mastitis and drank nothing but water and vitamin c. My fever broke in less than 24 hours and I felt almost completely better within 48 hours. I have a couple of friends who used traditional medicine for the same thing and did not feel better for a good 5 days. Natural vitamin c is truly wonderful for the body.

  9. I was so sad after I read this. I am anemic and have been taking iron and vitamin c twice a day for almost a year now to get my iron levels back to normal. After reading this I thought I would check what my vitamin c bottle says and this is what I found on the label. Vitamine C (as ascorbic acid) 500mg % daily value 833%. This is so misleading and disheartening that people (me) can be taken advantage of because we don’t know the difference. It seems like when people are reading a food label they are more concerned with calories and fat and ignore the rest. Not to say you should look at that stuff too, but everything else is just as important. I started reading labels a few years ago while trying to manage my high blood pressure with my diet and exercise. It was a huge eye opener. Maybe you can do a blog on food/product labels and help us decipher what these marketing experts put on our products. Thank you for this and now I need to look for a healthier way to get my vitamin c.

  10. I was taking the lyposomal vitamin c but wasn’t taking it every day so I don’t know if it has helped me or not. I wonder how the lyposomal vitamin C compares to this brand. This brand appears to be really healthy too. Hmmm

    • Liposomal is supposed to be easier to assimilate for some people. I’ve experimented with it as well and it seems to be effective if it is from a good brand.

      • 1 g of liposomal C, if properly made, bypasses the need for digestion entirely and is equivalent to a gram of C injected right into the vein. It isn’t easier to assimilate for some people… but for ALL people. 😉

  11. In a lot of your past articles, you recommend Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid. Though I knew there was a definite difference between the synthetic and natural version all along, I am wondering why your opinion has changed all of a sudden.

    • Ascorbic acid is effective, and in the scientific literature, it is often the recommended form, but as I’ve continued researching, I’m more comfortable with the whole form Vitamin C, especially for everyday use.

  12. So I am a little confused, in one of your posts you mentioned how you treat your children with vitamin c till they hit bowel tolerance and then decrease the dosage till they are symptom free. So my son (18 months old) had a fever a few weeks ago and I tried the vitamin c method and didn’t give him Tylenol or ibuprofen. Instead i gave him vitamin c every two hours and he still didn’t hit bowel tolerance but his fever went down and he was symptom free the next day. But the vitamin c that I gave him was ascorbic acid. So was I actually harming him? And what brand would you recommend for children when they are sick? I’m just a little confused and really need some clarification because I loved it how I didn’t have to use anything else but the vitamin c to actually have him get over whatever he had! I just want to make sure I’m giving him the best form of it

    • Ascorbic acid is definitely effective it is just more harsh since it is the isolated form. Whole vitamin c does contain ascorbic acid as well, but in natural form and bound within the other parts of a complex substance. Ascorbic acid can be really effective for illness and a form of it is even used in Vitamin C IVs, but for everyday use, I’m using a whole vitamin C since less is needed.

  13. what I would like to know is it more potent therefore if I am taking 1000mg regular Vit C can I take lesss of this product to equal the 1000mg capsule absorbic acid?
    I don’t see this question answered anywhere when people are claiming their Vit C is better.
    Thank you.

    • Yes, since natural Vitamin C sources are so much more thoroughly assimilated and effective than ascorbic acid, you can take fewer milligrams of C to get the equivalent of much more ascorbic acid.

  14. Hi Katie, Thank you for the wealth of information you always share!

    I currently have and have used the NOW Foods Vitamin C Crystals (Ascorbic Acid) during illness, as recommended in one of your previous posts , however on this post you indicated “the body can have difficulty using a synthetic form and at times it can be actually harmful”. Is NOW Foods Vitamin C Crystals not a good source? Thank you in advance.


    • It will still be effective in helping with illnesses, but for everyday use, I’m now using a more natural form.

      • I now this is old but, can whole vitamin c powder be used for liposomal?

        • You would want to use ascorbic acid, which is vitamin C! There is no such thing as “whole” vitamin C and you’re wasting you’re money buying into this pseudoscientific trend.

          Great resource for making your own liposomal C.

  15. I was wondering what the best form of Vitamin C is for adrenal health. I read somewhere a few years ago that ascorbic acid was the best form for your adrenal health…. “Adrenal Fatigue” by Wilson book. He suggested taking in in a 1;2 ratio with bioflavonoids for the best benefit for adrenal health. I am confused now…. I don’t want a synthetic form of Vitamin C, I would much rather have a purer form. What form would you take? I see the brand but what is the form please.

    • Natural vitamin C contains ascorbic acid, just as part of a whole complex substance and not on its own. You’d still be getting ascorbic acid form, just not in isolation. The form is just pure Vitamin C. If it helps, I’ve been taking this for adrenal health and it works great!

  16. OH MY!!! I thought I helping my family and myself by taking this unabsorbable and potentially dangerous vitamin C. Two of us already have health issues, and as we learned from many of the online summits, (and you) health or lack of it starts in the gut. Ascorbic Acid can kill good bacteria which we need for a healthy immune system. So taking the wrong vitamin C is doing the opposite of what we’re aiming for!!! I made sure the C we were taking was non-GMO but it needs to be more than that. Thank you, Katie for this necessary information! I just threw out all of our Vitamin C and ordered some from Amazon, (a bit cheaper for the same vitamin you take and free shipping). So grateful for your research and integrity!

  17. Thank so much for the worth information. I used to have Camu Camu juice in my country they said they have much more vitamin than orange. I think is good to know what we are consuming and always read the labels.
    Thank you again.

  18. Can someone please reccomend a good brand for a 18 month old?

  19. Hey Katie, I have a question. You provided a link to a PubMed study measuring the declining nutrition in 43 different types of produce. One of the things they measured was ascorbic acid. But you said that ascorbic acid isn’t found in nature, so how can they isolate it and measure it in this study?

    Thanks, this article was helpful. I’m trying to get my mom to quit drinking so much “Emergen-C” packets.

  20. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but absorbic acid, and often times vitamin c, when listed in the ingredients (example in coconut water) often comes from corn! I only know this because I have a severe corn allergy and react severely to almost anything listed as vitamin c or absorbic acid.

    Just something interesting to keep in mind.

  21. Hi Katie, I didn’t realize not all Vitamin Cs are created equally & a few months ago I bought Vitamin C crystals Ascorbic Acid to make your DIY Vitamin C serum – which I love. I have a big jar of it so I hate to dump it for real Vitamin C…do you think used externally this is okay? Or is it not effective & I should be using real C in my serum? Thanks.

  22. I looked at the Camu Camu powder and it made me wonder if harvesting this, and it’s’ growing popularity, will have an ill effect on the Amazon region and it’s people?

  23. I learnt about vitamin C when I was a teenager. My dad read about Linus Pauling and since then I have been taking vitamin C. (I am 59 soon) I take up to 20 GRAM ascorbic acid daily and if there is a medical problem I will go to bowel tolerance level. My son, however, finds the ascorbic acid hurts his stomach but I have never had a problem with it. I am grateful to say that I am healthy, fit and do not need any chronic medication. I follow the advice of the Orthomolecular doctors (started by Linus Pauling) You can read about them on their website (

  24. I take lipo spheric Vit C by LivOn Labs. I also use camu camu if I’m making a smoothie 🙂

  25. Just received my Vit. C. Purchased the one that Katie recommended.
    Katie…do you take this everyday all year round? If yes how much do you take each day?
    I too have Hashimotos and I am hoping this will be a beneficial supplement to add to my routine.
    Is it true that taking this with collagen makes them both work more efficiently in the body?
    Thank you!!

    • I do take it most of the year, just a maintenance dose of the recommended amount unless I get sick, then I take more. It is supposed to help with collagen synthesis.

  26. I wanted to add that people may want to be careful with high doses of supplemental vitamin C in any form. If you have a tendency towards oxalate problems (such as kidney stones, interstitial cystitis, etc.) vitamin C can worsen them, due to it being able to convert to oxalate in the body.

    • I agree with oxalates….

      I guess thats the case with me… after take vit c i constantly go to the bathroom for urine galore

      and my left side hurts a bit?

  27. There is a lot of misinformation out there about Vitamin C Complex and ascorbic acid. I would encourage you and your readers to go over to the and read up for yourselves, if you haven’t already. On the forum there is a spot dedicated to the conversation over complex and ascorbic acid. For the record – I have no connection/affiliation with this site or anything Vitamin C related.

  28. as i am nursing, i decided to give vitamin c a try for my general health; especially my adrenal health as i have issues with stress management and sleep. i just got the capsule bottle. it says 120mg while you take 2,000 mg – that’s a lot. what is your take on this?


    • I’d definitely start with the recommended and talk to a doc before working up… that is just the dose that works best for me

  29. Does anyone get really gassy with Vitamin C? I’ve tried the regular ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate and even at a small dose (less than half a teaspoon) I am gassy all day. I’m taking it on an empty stomach, in between meals too!

    • Try taking it with a pinch of baking soda. What I like to do is mix my daily value of Vitamin-C in a water bottle (non-metallic), with water, the juice of half a lime and a pinch or two of baking soda. I sip a little all day long.

      • I’ll try that. I just figured that the sodium ascorbate would be buffered enough to not cause stomach upset.

  30. All I can say is that since I started making and taking my own sodium ascorbate, which is pure non gmo derived ascorbic acid plus half the ratio of non aluminium processed bicarbonate of soda in distilled water, my health has improved. I have M.E. which is a really debilitating condition of chronic low energy.

    First of all, my skin tone improved, then I noticed that my gums stopped bleeding. I had had mild gingivitis since my pregnancy 20 years ago, every time I cleaned my teeth. After only a few days of taking approximately 1 gram of C 3 times a day (sometimes 4) it went completely. Now some people understand that gingivitis can be caused by a vitamin C defficiency, yet, my diet was full of organic peppers, tomatoes, and many other sources of vitamin C (I eat a LOT of salad) in addition to 6 x 1g tablets of buffered vitamin C daily. So I must have had a defficiency.

    People had told me that the form of it was important before but because they were all pushing out the lipospheric/liposomal form because it’s the new trend and very expensive, or tricky to make, I dismissed it, thinking I must be getting enough vitamin C taking this much daily.
    But guess what, it can’t have been getting absorbed properly in the tablet form. Aside from the gums and teeth feeling stronger, I’ve also toned up much more in my muscles and am able to build them much easier, and I feel much stronger, generally, with a bit more energy.

    When I first drank the solution it felt like liquid light spreading out from my tummy, very uplifting, and I actually feel and I think look younger. I don’t use vitamin C serums on my face but I have much more tone for my age, and people say I look younger now than I used to. So I say the sodium ascorbate version is really working. It’s cheap and effective, and so long as your diet contains all the othe rmicronutrients or you can supplement then I don’t think you need to worry too much. I also take a probiotic an hour or so after one dose of C per day just in case this neutral ph version is destroying some of the good gut bacteria.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that I feel less need to snack in between meals because my energy levels are more stable. This could be to do with more glutathione availability, or just a stabilising in blood sugar. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth but now I don’t crave savoury carbs as much either, or if I do, I’m satisfied with much less. I’ll normally have a boiled egg or a small handful of sunflower seeds and that seems to do the trick. I’m hoping to finally loose a few stubborn pounds, now. Fingers crossed! 🙂

    • Hi, could I please get your recipe? I also have chronic fatigue, epstein barr issues and my gums are receding like crazy though I have tried many things. My muscle tone is not very good anymore because of the fatigue I don’t exercise enough. I do take the Vitamin c chewable flavored powders but notice they hurt my tummy. Of course I also have a compromised gut. And I eat healthy. Very healthy! I would be so grateful for this recipe. Thank you!!

  31. Is it safe to take the vitamin C you recommended from Pure Radiance while pregnant?

  32. Great, thank you!

  33. I am a long time reader and have been so inspired and enlightened by your blog over past years! I have a sort if off topic issue that I am desperate for any knowledge you may have to share! I am a first time mom and so gratefully breastfeeding my sweet 9 wk old. I have been dealing with, thrush for 7 wks and mastitis for 4 weeks which has now developed into a very large abcess that has been aspirated several times now. I have devoured every bit if knowledge on how to treat naturally and tried everything I can find to do with the topic and also finally breaking down to take not one, not two but now three differant antibiotics. I am being told by my doctors and breast surgeon that the next form of treatment will be surgery or a catheter placed to help heal the infection. However this may end up resulting in me not being able to continue breast-feeding as they may have to dry up my milk should a milk Fissure develop due to the procedure . I know this is a lot of information to throw out but I have been looking at this post in order to’s possibly see if I need to switch vitamin C methods! I would love love love to first of all know how much of this more natural form of vitamin C can I safely take while nursing and fight this infection to the best of my ability. Also if you have any other advice on treating a staff infection/breast abscess for a nursing mama. Thank you so much again you’re such a blessing and I love the way you approach the world and share it with all of us.


    • I’d personally take more vitamin C if I was fighting that type of infection, as the risk to baby would be less that the risk from the infection. Is there a naturopathic doctor in your area you could consult about ways to help build up your body to fight the infection. my sister in law had a similar infection and abscess and it was awful. I know she soaked the breast in warm epsom salt and baking soda water several times a day to help stop the infection. I think she also used cold laser therapy and an herbal poultice a few times a day.

  34. Your reference to Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgi is incorrect.

    My father knew Linus Pauling and Szent-Gyorgi told Dr. Pauling that he took at least 1,000 mg of supplemental vitamin C a day. This is noted on the Linus Pauling site.

    Further, a comprehensive study was published, “Synthetic or Food-Derived Vitamin C—Are They Equally Bioavailable?” ( that showed no difference between supplemental so-called “synthetic” vitamin C and vitamin C in food.

    There is nothing wrong with synthesizing natural-identical nutrients. The body synthesizes billion of molecules every second, including a couple of vitamins. Synthesis is just simple natural chemistry.

    You’re spreading fear-based misinformation that is contrary to published science.

    You could be helping people be healthier, but you’re spreading the nonsense that so-called “whole-food” vitamin companies spread, while they deliver nutrient potencies that are confirmed in thousands of published studies to not produce optimal effects while costing about 12 times more than the USP-type nutrients that over 300,000 studies show to be safe and effective.

    You should be studying the published medical literature, rather than depending on referring to commercial sites, like Radiant Life, that have an agenda, so they twist the facts to sell their products.

    • published science!!
      published medical literature!!

      James Brookman it is you who needs to re educate your self.
      published science & published medical literature are the dis info scum, owned &/or sponsored by corporations soley concerned with profit margins, the info they publish is controlled to suit them and the trail leads to the big medical-pharmaceutical system, their vital income stream based on keeping us all ill and diseased would dry up and the system collapse. As this is the biggest and most profitable industry in the world, this cannot be allowed to happen.

      The foods we eat is crap, WE ARE ORGANIC BEINGS, WE NEED ORGANIC FOODS TO FEED OUR ORGANIC BIOLOGY, WE ARE NOT SYNTHETIC BEINGS! SYNTHETIC PRODUCTS ARE NOT NEEDED (only needed by the systems need to keep us in illness to create trillions in profit) WHY THE HELL DO PEOPLE SCOFF AT ORGANIC AND NATURAL FFS (idiots), Organic means not grown with chemical sprays, pestesides & crap , it means grown how its ment to be grown, Its no good to wash fruit and veg to remove residue! its all been sprayed and poisoned from seed to sprout to fully mature, non-organic produce contains toxins in every single cell so washing is pointless.

      The FDA for instance allow one of the most toxic additives known to man – aspartame- to be included in a very high number of food products even tho evidennce shows its 3 types of toxins in one but the third toxin wen in the body then transforms into famaldahyde!!!
      So published science & published medical literature serve the money makers and they also change their findings every 5 minutes so what was so called fact last year was wrong, its now this fact bla bla bla.

      You are spreading false lies that help to profit the upper elite. by all means please carry on with your syntheticness, im sure you will most likely develop some nasty cancer that ‘they’ cant cure (but they can-but wont). All their crap is coming to light now and common sense is all around us if you open your eyes.

      • There is very little money to be made via ascorbic acid. In fact, promoting natural vitamin C over “synthetic” (sic) probably helps the profit margins of a number of supplement manufacturers. I happen to stand by published research on this topic. There is certainly nothing wrong with whole food vitamin C, but please don’t discount ascorbic acid and the contributions of Linus Pauling et al.

  35. I’m thankful that you write about and research all this stuff so that I don’t have to, but I seriously don’t know how you do it all without losing your sanity. It’s so much!

  36. I was wondering what kind of vitamin c you would recommend for 6 month.

  37. I noticed in your post about avoiding Group B Strep during pregnancy you suggest taking 2,000 mg of Vitamin C everyday. The link you have in that post is for a form of asorbic acid Vitamin C. I ordered the Pure Radiance Vitamin C (based on this Vitamin C post)–would you still recommend taking 2,000 mg of this type? That would be 16 pills a day! Lots of pills and money!

    • With the natural form, taking half as much (8 pills) would probably be just as effective since it is absorbed more easily.

  38. HI,
    I’d like to know if this vitamin C is safe for pregnant women please? 🙂
    Thank you!!!

  39. Hello Katie,

    I have seen a few questions about Vitamin C for babies and kids, but did not see a response. Can you help me? I have an 11 months old boy and a 4.5 year old girl and I would like to give them Vitamin C Supplements.
    I love your posts and I always come to your website when I have questions about various issues.

    Thank you,

    • I’ve actually been trying this one with my kids lately and it works really well: It is a liposomal liquid, and I just let them eat it or rub a little inside the baby’s mouth.

      • Hi, I’m just curious why you give a different vitamin c to your kids…is the Pure Radiance not safe for children? I too have been looking for one for myself and for my children.

        • It is, but it is a little more bitter and they like the liposomal one better but I have given them both. With the pure radiance, I found that mixing it with a little honey or juice helped the taste for them

  40. I used to really enjoy reading your blog. But this biased article spread with myths and affiliate links to Radiant website which sells uber-expensive ‘wholefood natural’ vitamin C made me pause. There is an overwhelming research regarding the benefits of ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate which has been used therapeutically from the 1940s.

    Look into the works of Linus Pauling – two times Nobel price winner, Albert Szent Gyorgyi, dr. Cathcart, dr Klenner, Irwin Stone and so many others who used pure ascorbic acid – which is what animals make in their livers as well, and which is what humans made as well until that particular gene became defect in us. There is not even one study which proves that the marketing-gimmick natural wholefood bla bla bla vitamin is any better than the straight up one, which is used in high quantities for almost everything that is an illness affecting people. But then again 1 kg of ascorbic acid costs the same as 100 gram of your affiliated product Radiant. How do you think people can supplement a ‘la orthomolecular therapy with Radiant product you are endorsing for $? No wonder – from ascorbic acid you’d get no commission, afterall it’s dirt cheap.

    With this I say this blog good-bye. You’ll probably not even allow this comment, but at least you’ll see it.

    Maria – who is taking 20-25 grams of ascorbic acid per day and is feeling better and better every day.

    • Hi Maria… I’m sorry to hear you feel this way, and while of course you might not see this since you plan to no longer read my blog, I felt the need to respond to certain claims that you made because they are incorrect and in some cases directly insulting. Yes, there is a lot of research on Vitamin C (often in Ascorbic acid form) since the work of Dr Pauling (and others). There are recent studies that show that ascorbic acid may cause certain genotypes that lead to cancer, may interfere with antioxidant production, can affect gut bacteria in a negative way, and potentially be linked to heart problems. Of course, if a person had a serious illness, concerns like those would be outweighed by the potential benefit of vitamin c, but it certainly brings questions of using synthetic vitamin c every day or for minor illnesses.
      As far as affiliate links…. I have never tried to hide in any way that I use affiliate links on this website (my affiliate disclosure is linked to at the top of every blog post: ), and I could have just as easily linked to ascorbic acid. That said, I recommend the products I think are best. Sometimes (and often) these products cost more as you typically get what you pay for, but I’ve also happily linked to products where I had no affiliate link if that was the product I felt was best. In other words, if I’m linking to a product I have an affiliate link for, I include it (this helps cover the cost of the rather expensive hosting it takes to keep Wellness Mama running each month), but if I don’t have an affiliate link, this does not affect my decision to link to it.
      Additionally, while ascorbic acid is what many animals naturally make, we do not, and it is highly unlikely that any person would be able to consume 20-25 grams of vitamin c from natural food sources, especially in an isolated form, so at that point it is more like a supplement or pharmaceutical and should be used with care (especially at this dose). I’m so glad you are having good results, but for the sake of anyone else reading this, I’d absolutely have to recommend finding a qualified naturopath or doctor to help with any treatment that involved that high of a level of any isolated nutrient.

  41. Hi Katie,
    Im wondering how much Camu Camu you took when you were taking it? MRH cant tell you how much vitamin C is in their Camu Camu powder, so I’m not sure how much to take daily?

  42. I also take vitamin C, especially in the winter months. I also like for my kids to take it. My mom owned a health food store when I was growing up, and she was a big believer in vitamin C to prevent illness and help us get better faster. It has stuck with me my whole life. Sometimes, I will blend up a mixture of immune building real foods – garlic, cayenne, ginger, lemon juice, raw honey, etc. and take it when I feel like I’m getting sick. I’ve heard that there is actually more vitamin C in the pith of the lemon than in the juice. One question – what are your dose recommendations when taking vitamin C as a supplement? My mom always said that since vitamin C is water soluble, the body will just use what it needs and eliminate any excess – so not to worry about getting too much.

  43. Do you take this Pure Radiance Vitamin C while pregnant? Is everything in it safe?

  44. Do you think dried fruit powders have the amount of vitamin c they say they have after being processed. Anybody know how they test camu camu after it is processed and packaged and how it retains it vit c after being opened and used. I suppose the ideal thing would be to freeze it as soon as opening it? What would be the next most concentrated Vit C powders?

  45. Vitamin c is not a complex. The substances claimed as part of a vitamin c complex are not made by the livers of animals that produce their own vitamin c which is ascorbic acid. There are many substances in plants that have beneficial effects of various sorts which is why we should eat plenty of whole foods. But the claim that vitamin c is a complex that includes such substances as flavinoids is unscientific and false as is the claim that the intake of generous amounts of ascorbic acid is harmful. If this was the case then most animals who make large amounts of ascorbic acid endogenously would be harming themselves.

  46. I would be highly skeptical if I were you about the claim made about dr szent gyorgi. I can’t find anything to corroborate this. There are a lot of people in the “natural vitamins” camp making up or parroting made up stuff like this. I’ll give you another example. Dally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions or the Weston a price website says that synthetic b vitamins failed to cure people with pellagra or beriberi and the unpolished rice was successful where b vitamin supplements were not. I was skeptical so I researched it. Every bit of info on these outbreaks and the treatment for them said the exact opposite that recovery was much better and faster with synthetic b supplements compared with food only.

    There are a lot of reasons why people have motives to twist the truth. It can be because they sell overpriced “natural” vitamins or because they have just fallen in love with this idea and want to promote it and believe it. It pays to always be very skeptical and not easily believe whatever you are told. Search out the opposing arguments before swallowing ideas.

  47. I just checked out your claim about vitamin c causing cancer. The only places I can find with a claim anything like this are coming from sources like the FDA and the American Medical association. Not exactly trusted sources of info on nutritional research. Numerous scientists and organizations have cretiqued these studies and pointed out the gross methodological flaws in them.

    I found a science daily article about how chromium 6 the toxic substance the the Erin Brochovich case is made more toxic by vitamin c, but the vitamin c in foods produces this effect. So the problem is the chromium 6 and the answer is to get rid of it not get rid of vitamin c.

    I think you need to do much more and much deeper research.

  48. this is what Dr. Thomas Levy says He has written many books of the subject of vitamin c and recommends sodium ascorbate

    That being said, I have to admire all the time that you obviously put into research.

    • Interesting article…it is completely opposite of what is written here about the Vitamin C. It makes it all confusing and challenging, if not disappointing to know which is the right Vitamin C source to use.

      • What is written here is wholly incorrect, ascorbic acid is NOT synthetic as it is the molecule nearly all mammals make within their own bodies. How can it not be natural? This is not folate vs. folic acid, this is not the Vitamin E complex of 8 natural forms vs. the rubbish dl-alpha tocopherol used to try and convince men that E increases prostate cancer risk, this is ascorbic acid. It’s like saying H20 is synthetic water.

        Here is a great resource –

  49. Im wondering how much Camu Camu you took when you were taking it?
    Adult dose and child dose please.
    Thank you.

  50. What about Vitamin C derived from Tapioca? It’s absorbic acid but is not synthetic. Am I missing something (probably!)?

  51. Hi, My name is Jacqueline. I started to take vitimin C and vitimin A to help out my arthritis, when I was 30 years old. It helped me a lot. As I got older different doctors (as my husband worked in a lot of states) would give me medicines to things they said I had. When I hit 45 years, I did not take anymore of anything they would give me, as it never seemed to help me. Bottom line, I remember reading a book by Brian Wilson, of the “Beach Boys”, and in it he says he was taking 20,000 vit. C a day, I had also read about Dr. Pauling, so I started to take more C, every 4 hours to bowel tolerance. vit. C does not stay in your body very long, Jump to now, I will be 87 years old in January, 2017, and will swear by vit. C. I also do take other vitamins with the C, but the C is by far the best. I can’t remember when I had a cold or flu. People tell me I don’t look my age, they say I don’t sound my age (on the phone). Also I don’t act my age, but to my dismay, I do walk my age. As you may have noticed, I am not good on paragraphs etc. , so I will chalk that up to old age. I hope this helps someone, as I always like to help people. I have 5 children, 13 grandchildren, and also 13 great grandchildren. I have a lot of them on vitamins. Take care Jacqueline

  52. “A second study presented to the American Heart Association showed a link between consumption of only 500mg of vitamin C per day and a greater propensity toward thickening of the arteries”

    Please see:

    “Vitamin C / Atherosclerosis scare”

    Excerpt: “1) The study demonstrates no evidence of occlusion (or clogging) contrary to media reports. The USC team used a new, sensitive method of carotid ultrasound that measures three factors: 1. arterial thickening; 2. degree of plaque or atherosclerosis; and 3. blood flow. While there was evidence of thickening, there was no evidence of plaque or diminished blood flow velocity.

    2) The clinical implications of “thickening” of the arterial wall are unclear. The sensitive technique of carotid ultrasound used in this study is brand-new, and researchers haven’t yet concluded that the tiny changes measured are indicative of eventual stroke risk. An equally plausible explanation of the thickening seen can be inferred from vitamin C’s known role as a collagen repair nutrient. Elderly patients with fragile, thinned blood vessel walls might well benefit from the effect.

    3) Last year, the same USC research team (Dwyer, et al) wrote a paper with opposite findings, casting doubt on the new study’s conclusions. Additionally, the new vitamin C paper doesn’t make sense and flies in the face of much of what we already know about vitamin C’s protective role against cardiovascular disease. Recently, studies have shown that vitamin C, when infused directly into the arteries, promotes relaxation of the blood vessel walls facilitating blood flow. We know that vitamin C is an important member of the antioxidant team, counteracting free radicals that are acknowledged to be culprits in promoting blood vessel disease, especially in at-risk populations such as smokers. A recent paper by Simon in Epidemiology (August 1998) showed that for each 0.5 mg. per deciliter increase in blood levels of ascorbic acid (C) there was an 11 percent reduction in coronary heart disease and stroke reduction in a group of more than 6,000 U.S. men and women. Compared to individuals with low or marginal levels of C, there was a 27 percent reduction in heart disease and a 26 percent reduction in stroke in the group with the highest blood levels of vitamin C. No wonder the Nobel Laureate Dr. Linus Pauling made vitamin C the cornerstone of his cardiovascular disease prevention program, personally taking up to 20 grams a day until his death at age of 92. The additional details are emerging on the vitamin C story, but I’m sure that the ultimate conclusions will only fortify our confidence in nutritional supplementation as the basis for a rational heart disease and stroke prevention strategy.”


    “Linus Pauling Institute’s response to the recent article on vitamin C and atherosclerosis”

  53. For anyone who’s interested: I’ve asked both a midwife and a doctor about taking vitamin C during pregnancy and they both cleared it. “Pure Radiance” is what I take, it comes in capsule and powder form. However, keep in mind that since it comes from a plant source you don’t need to take as much as if you were taking the synthetic stuff. During pregnancy, you can take anywhere from 500 to 2,000 mg depending on your practitioner’s recommendation.

  54. Is it safe to take Pure Radiance C while breastfeeding or even while pregnant? I have not found safe information about all the ingredients. Thanks.

  55. Juice fresh organic oranges a day and you will receive the vitamin C you need. Don’t take the synthetic. I’ve seen all the posts and watched quietly, but trust me the vitamin C you really need is in your juices, herbs and veggies. Juicing parsley has an extremely high amount of vitamin c, as well.

  56. We also just published a paper, “Liposomal-encapsulated Ascorbic Acid: Influence on Vitamin C Bioavailability and Capacity to Protect Against Ischemia–Reperfusion Injury.”

    There is plenty of evidence the vitamin c has significant positive health effects.

  57. Hi..Some people recommend taking vitamin C supplements twice a it safe to take like this..

  58. people that promote the principle of a ‘real’ or ‘natural’ vitamin C and say ascorbic acid is not good for you only are misguided or misinformed.

    you cannot change the history nor chemistry of vitamin C to fit a belief that is not supported anywhere in any medical literature that spans 80+ yrs on vitamin C.
    it simply does not work that way.

    If such a complex ( real or natural) really exists with vitamin C activity (minus ascorbic acid), this fact escaped the attention of all world scientists, including Linus Pauling. Such a complex is not reported in over 100,000 published studies, papers, reports and scientific articles regarding ascorbic acid (C6H8O6).

    Bioflavanoids or the ‘co-factors’ alone will not prevent, reverse, and cure disease. Yet, ascorbic acid will. Chemistry and anatomy will explain the whole thing. Honestly anyone that has no knowledge of these two thing has no knowledge of ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid donates electrons. In high doses the body has constant electron flow negating oxidative damage and protecting cells from death. The route cause of all illness and disease. Prove that bioflavanoids in such high doses is safe and we will talk. Did you know humans once produced ascorbic acid in our livers?! We never produced bioflavanoids. After all we are not plants.

    No one who is engaged in conventional medical research believes there is a C-complex, ‘real’ or ‘natural’ C.. nor are there any peer-reviewed papers accessible in the Medline medical database that support the idea that there is a C-complex, much less that it is the real vitamin C.

  59. Funnny, my sister had some health struggles recently and that’s exactly what the lady in our local pharmacy said. She recommended organic acerola juice as the synthetic Vitamin C would do absolutely nothing for her. Great article.