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Best Vitamin C Supplements? ConsumerLab Selects Its Top Picks
White Plains, New York, December 13, 2023 —  It’s officially cold season in the U.S., a time when many people may turn to vitamin C supplements to help “boost” their immune system and ward off colds. But do vitamin C supplements really help prevent or treat colds, and which vitamin C supplements on the market provide the best quality and value?

To find out, ConsumerLab carefully reviewed the clinical evidence, and selected, purchased, and tested popular vitamin C supplements including tablets, capsules, gummies, powders, and liquids. All of the products were found to contain their claimed amount of vitamin C, and all tablet and caplet products were found to properly break apart to release their ingredients in solution. Products containing a natural source of vitamin C or large amounts of minerals were also tested for the heavy metals lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury, and none were found to exceed ConsumerLab's strict limits for contamination.

However, there were significant differences in dose, which, based on the amounts ConsumerLab found in testing, ranged from about 40 mg to over 4,000 mg of vitamin C per suggested serving. The cost to obtain 500 mg of vitamin C from the products also varied widely, from 2 cents to over $8. Most supplements provided far more than the daily requirement for vitamin C in a daily serving, which can be helpful if taking for a cold or other condition, but is generally not necessary, and could increase the risk of adverse effects.

Among the products that passed all tests of quality, ConsumerLab selected those representing the best quality and value as its Top Picks among vitamin C supplements, including moderate, high, and very high-dose products, natural, plant-based vitamin C, and vitamin C for children.

The results are available online in ConsumerLab's new Vitamin C Supplements Review, which includes test results and comparisons for 15 products. Thirteen products were selected for testing by ConsumerLab: Emergen-C Crystals – Strawberry Burst, Ester-C, Kirkland Signature [Costco] C 1,000 mg, Mary Ruth’s Organic Kids Vitamin C Liquid Drops – Orange Vanilla, Microingredients Organic Acerola Powder, NaturesPlus Chewable Orange Juice JR Vitamin C 100 mg – Natural Orange Flavor, NOW C-500, ProCaps Laboratories Andrew Lessman Vitamin C 500 Complex, Solaray Vitamin C Powder 5,000 mg, Solgar U-Cubes, Swanson C-500, Terrasoul Superfoods Camu Camu Powder, and Webber Naturals Chewable Vitamin C – Tropical Breeze. Two additional products passed the same testing and were Approved through CL's voluntary Quality Certification Program: GNC Vitamin C and Nutrifii Vinali.

As discussed in the review, taking high-dose vitamin C daily from a supplement during cold season can slightly reduce the risk of getting a cold, particularly for people who are deficient in vitamin C, but vitamin C supplements won't help once you're sick. Vitamin C supplementation may also slightly reduce blood pressure, although it has not been shown to reduce rates of cardiovascular disease, and getting adequate vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of gout. High doses of vitamin C can cause diarrhea, and, taken regularly, can increase the risk of developing cataracts and kidney stones. The review also explains the different forms of vitamin C available in supplements, including ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, and liposomal vitamin C, and whether certain forms are better absorbed, or more gentle on the stomach, than others. It also discusses possible side effects and drug interactions with vitamin C. A video with expert tips for choosing and using vitamin C supplements is also available.

Founded in 1999, is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Membership to is available online and provides immediate access to continually updated reviews of nearly every popular type of dietary supplement and health food, answers to reader questions, and product recalls and warnings. ConsumerLab also provides independent product testing through its voluntary Quality Certification Program. The company is privately held and based in New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.

Vitamin C Tips From ConsumerLab

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