This flu season you may find yourself, dazed and chilled, in the supplement aisle of your grocery store looking through vitamin c labels for some quick relief.
But before you grab the flashiest bottle, you should know that there are many different forms of vitamin C.
Which form you choose can make the difference between an effective supplement and a waste of money.
Form: Ascorbic Acid
This is a common form of vitamin C you will find in many supplements.
Ascorbic acid however, can be too acidic for the body and can cause problems if taken for longer than two days.
This form may also irritate a sensitive digestive system.
Form: Calcium Ascorbate or Ester C
This form of vitamin C has a neutral pH and does not cause the body to become more acidic.
Ester C provides good support for your immune system and can improve allergy symptoms by helping your body reduce histamine levels.
This form is generally better absorbed than ascorbic acid but not as well absorbed as liposomal vitamin C.
Form: Liposomal Vitamin C
This form is the best absorbed and is great for those with digestive problems because it can be absorbed without fully going through the digestive system.
Liposomal vitamin C is often made with sunflower lecithin which can help the liver detoxify the body from toxins.
For those with methylation (detoxification) issues, like those who are heterozygous or homozygous for the MTHFR gene, liposomal vitamin c can assist in methylation.
Form: Vitamin C With Bioflavonoids
Bioflavonoids enhance the bioavailability of vitamin C. This allows your body to use the vitamin C more effectively than if you took vitamin C on its own.
Those with digestive problems should avoid this form unless it is recommended by their doctor as it can irritate the digestive system.
Ester C with Bioflavanoids. The bioflavanoids (particularly the quercetin compound) helps to decrease histamine in the body.
Decreasing symptoms helps alleviate allergy symptoms.
For Chronic Or Severe Deficiencies
Liposomal vitamin C. This form is best because there is almost always a gut malabsorption problem underneath a severe deficiency.
For Long Term Supplementation
Ester C. This form can be taken long term for foundational repletion and is good for those with a hard time 'keeping up' normal levels of vitamin C.
For Sore Throat / Flu / Colds
Rose hip tea with Ester C and zinc picolinate. The addition of zinc helps support your immune system and rose hips have vitamin c and make for a soothing tea.
For Wound Healing
Ester C plus liposomal vitamin C. These two forms will be absorbed differently and work on different tissues synergistically.
These are a loose guidelines and should not be used to diagnose or treat yourself.
Only a functional medicine doctor should put together a plan for you which takes into account your current health status, recent testing, and any medical condition you may have.