Product Reviews
Vitamin C Supplements Review
 

Initial Posting: 3/10/17 Last Update: 4/3/20

Find the Best Vitamin C Supplement

20% Of Vitamin C Supplements Fail CL's Tests of Quality

COVID-19 UPDATE: Should You Take Vitamin C for Coronavirus?
Vitamin C Supplements Tested by ConsumerLab.com
Vitamin C supplements compared in this review
American Health Ester-C Metagenics Ultra Potent-C Sundown Naturals Vitamin C
Bronson Laboratories Vitamin C Crystals Nature Made C The Vitamin Shoppe Vitamin C 1,000 mg - Capsule
CVS Pharmacy C Nature's Bounty C The Vitamin Shoppe Vitamin C 1,000 mg - Softgels
Dynamic Health Liquid Vitamin C for Kids - Natural Citrus Flavors Nature's Bounty C-1000 mg TwinLab C-1000 Caps
Emergen-C Nature's Plus Vitamin C Up & Up [Target] Vitamin C
Garden of Life Mykind Organics Vitamin C Nutrifii VinaliC Vitacost Vitamin C
GNC Vitamin C 1000 PipingRock.com Vitamin C Vitafusion L'il Critters Immune C Plus Zinc & Echinacea
Jamieson C Rainbow Light Gummy Vitamin C Slices Vitafusion Power C
Kirkland Signature (Costco) Vitamin C Rexall Vitamin C Vitamin World C-1,000 mg
Life Extension Vitamin C with Dihydroquercetin Shaklee Vita -C Well at Walgreens Vitamin C With Natural Rose Hips
LivOn Laboratories Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C Spring Valley [Walmart] C  
American Health Ester-C Bronson Laboratories Vitamin C Crystals CVS Pharmacy C Dynamic Health Liquid  Vitamin C for Kids - Natural Citrus Flavors Emergen-C Garden of Life Mykind Organics Vitamin C GNC Vitamin C 1000 Jamieson C Kirkland Signature (Costco) Vitamin C Life Extension Vitamin C with Dihydroquercetin LivOn Laboratories Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C Metagenics Ultra Potent-C Nature Made C Nature's Bounty C-1000 mg Nature's Plus Vitamin C Nutrifii VinaliC PipingRock.com Vitamin C Rainbow Light Gummy Vitamin C Slices Rexall Vitamin C Shaklee Vita -C Spring Valley [Walmart] C Sundown Naturals Vitamin C The Vitamin Shoppe Vitamin C 1,000 mg - Capsule The Vitamin Shoppe Vitamin C 1,000 mg - Softgels TwinLab C-1000 Caps Up & Up [Target] Vitamin C Vitacost Vitamin C Vitafusion L'il Critters Immune C Plus Zinc & Echinacea Vitafusion Power C Vitamin World C-1,000 mg Well at Walgreens Vitamin C With Natural Rose Hips
Make sure the vitamin C supplement you take passed our quality review and is right for you!
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Summary:
  • Does it help? If you get sufficient vitamin C from your diet (which you can get from a cup of tomato or orange juice), taking more from a supplement will generally not be helpful. Nevertheless, taking high-dose vitamin C daily from a supplement during cold season can slightly reduce the risk of getting a cold, particularly if you are deficient in vitamin C — although it 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. Taking vitamin C has also been associated with reducing the risk of gout. (See What It Does)
    • COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to vitamin C's role in maintaining immune system health, vitamin C supplements are being promoted by some to help prevent coronavirus (COVID-19), the infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This effect has not been proven, although it is generally advisable that one's intake of vitamin C meets the daily requirements. Prior to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, small studies showed that that very high doses of vitamin C given to people on ventilators reduced the time on ventilators. This is being tried in patients with severe COVID-19. See the COVID-19 section for more details regarding vitamin C.
  • How much should I take? If you want to be sure you're getting the daily requirement, a supplement providing roughly 50 mg to 100 mg of vitamin C is sufficient for most adults and is quite safe (see What to Consider When Using).

    When higher doses are taken in hopes of reducing the risk of a cold or gout, or to slightly reduce blood pressure, a typical dose is 500 mg taken twice daily or up to 2,000 mg per day. Be aware, however, that taking more than 500 mg of vitamin C per day on a regular basis (which will saturate your blood with vitamin C) may increase your risk of developing cataracts, and taking more than 1,000 mg per day may also increase your risk of kidney stones. Diarrhea can result from a single dose of more than 2,000 mg for an adult and lower amounts for children (see Concerns and Cautions). In short, there is a risk/benefit trade-off with taking high-dose vitamin C.
  • Which form is best? There are many forms of vitamin C available (ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, liposomal vitamin C, etc.) but there is no compelling evidence that one is much better than another. The ascorbate forms may be easier on your stomach, but you will still run a risk of developing loose stools at a very high dose. Whole foods will provide additional bioflavonoid compounds, which may be of some benefit, but are not necessary to meet your nutritional needs, and natural vitamin C, such as from rose hips, is in the exact chemical form as in most synthetic vitamin C supplements -- L-ascorbic acid. (See Forms of Vitamin C).
  • Which product is best? Among the products which contained the amounts of vitamin C listed and were "Approved" by ConsumerLab.com, five were chosen as CL's Top Picks. Unfortunately, we also discovered three products which contained roughly 50% more vitamin C than listed. Depending on the dose you take, this could increase your risk of adverse effects from vitamin C.
You must be a member to get the full test results along with ConsumerLab.com's recommendations and quality ratings. You will get results for 15 vitamin C supplements selected for testing by ConsumerLab.com as well as for 16 others which passed the same testing in CL's voluntary Quality Certification Program. In this comprehensive review of vitamin C supplements you'll learn:
    • Which vitamin C supplements passed testing, and which failed
    • Which high-quality vitamin C supplements are also lowest cost
    • What vitamin C can and cannot do for your health
    • The potential advantages and differences of forms of vitamin C, such as Ester-C, sodium ascorbate, slow-release vitamin C, and liposomal vitamin C
    • The value of additional ingredients, such as bioflavonoids (e.g., quercetin, dihydroquercetin, rutin, and hesperidin)
    • The dosage of vitamin C used for different purposes
    • The potential side-effects of vitamin C and its interactions with drugs and diagnostic tests
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Learn More About Vitamin C Supplements

ConsumerLab.com Answers -- for Vitamin C Supplements Review
Question:
Do vitamin C supplements help prevent cataracts? Get the answer >>

Question:
Is it better to get vitamins from foods or supplements, and are natural vitamins better than synthetic vitamins? Get the answer >>

Question:
Sometimes my powdered supplements get clumpy. Should I be concerned? Get the answer >>

Question:
Can vitamin C from a supplement cause blood in the urine and painful urination? Get the answer >>

Question:
What is Lipo-flavonoid and does it work for tinnitus or other ear problems? Get the answer >>

Question:
Some vitamin C products claim to use fully reduced vitamin C. Is this important? Get the answer >>

Question:
Which supplements have been shown to be helpful for autism? Get the answer >>

Question:
Do any supplements help prevent sunburn or skin damage from sun exposure? Get the answer >>

Question:
Some websites claim that synthetic vitamin C in supplements may be a combination the active "L" form and the inactive "D" form of ascorbic acid. Is that true? Should I be concerned? Get the answer >>

Question:
Is liposomal vitamin C (sold as Lypo-Spheric) better than other forms of vitamin C? Get the answer >>

Question:
Is there cause for concern with "gummy vitamins?" There are many different gummies out there. Are some better than others? Get the answer >>

Question:
Is it possible to take too much vitamin C? Get the answer >>

Question:
Do any supplements help with gum disease or periodontitis? Get the answer >>

Question:
I thought the B vitamins were all water soluble and did not build up in the body, so you would not build up toxic levels. Am I wrong? Get the answer >>

Question:
Do any supplements help prevent or improve cataracts? Get the answer >>

Question:
I take estrogen replacement (Vagifem), to help relieve the symptoms of menopause. Are there supplements I should avoid, or be taking, due to this drug? Get the answer >>

Question:
Which supplements can help to lower blood pressure? Get the answer >>

Question:
Which supplements are helpful for age-related macular degeneration (AMD)? Get the answer >>

Question:
Do any supplements help for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Get the answer >>

Question:
Are there negative interactions between the following supplements I take twice each day, as well as 60 mg of beta-sitosterol with dinner: Vitamin C (500 mg), CoQ10 (100 mg), grape seed extract (100 mg), fish oil (500 mg), vitamin D3/calcium/magnesium/zinc (200 IU/333 mg/113 mg/5mg)? Get the answer >>

Question:
Do glutathione supplements work to prevent aging or for other conditions? Get the answer >>

Question:
Are there any supplements I should avoid when taking acetaminophen (Tylenol)? Get the answer >>

Question:
How likely are Americans to be deficient in vitamins or minerals? Get the answer >>

Question:
After developing kidney stones, I was told to avoid tea -- but recently I've heard that green tea might actually be helpful for kidney stones. Is that true? Get the answer >>

Question:
Is Ester-C the best form of vitamin C? Get the answer >>

Question:
Does taking vitamin C (1,000 mg) deplete copper in the body? Get the answer >>

Question:
Which supplements can help lower or control my blood sugar? Get the answer >>

Question:
I've been taking a Daily Advantage multi but am now concerned by the very high % DV for vitamin C (833% DV), niacin (325% DV), and B vitamins (over 1,000% DV for several). The company tells me this formula is based on clinical experience and the scientific literature. What do you think? Get the answer >>

Question:
Can supplements with antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamins A and E cause you to die sooner? Get the answer >>

Question:
Are the "% DV" numbers on vitamin supplement labels really based on what I need? Get the answer >>

Question:
Which supplements can cause diarrhea? Get the answer >>

Question:
Are there vitamins or supplements that can reduce my risk of breast cancer? Do any increase cancer risk? Get the answer >>

Question:
Can vitamin C reduce the pain of shingles? Get the answer >>

Question:
Do any supplements reduce side of effects of chemotherapy? Get the answer >>

Question:
Do any supplements help prevent or reduce eye floaters? Get the answer >>

Question:
Can castor oil eye drops improve or dissolve cataracts? Get the answer >>

Question:
I was surprised when my doctor told me to stop taking supplements because my kidney function was low. But after stopping the supplements, my kidney function returned to normal. Can taking a lot of supplements really damage the kidneys? Get the answer >>

Question:
What are natural remedies for coronavirus (COVID-19)? Do supplements like zinc, vitamin C, or herbals work? Get the answer >>

Question:
I do moderate exercise for about an hour a few times a week. Which supplements might help me? Get the answer >>
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