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Ranking the best vitamin C supplements of 2022


Vitamin C plays an important role in keeping your immune system healthy, but it does far more than that. This essential vitamin also acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, leading to a number of other impactful applications beyond keeping your immune system healthy.

Here are the best vitamin C supplements on the market, ranked. Afterwards, we’ll break down what vitamin C does and how a supplement can benefit your body.

Why You Should Trust Us

    Our advisory panel and our research team rank the best health products and supplements based on performance, label accuracy, and the efficacy of the ingredients in the products.

Rankings

Last updated: September 29, 2022
Vitamin C supplements considered: 33
Hours of research: 46
Experts reviewed: 11
Scientific papers referenced: 20












IMAGE PRODUCT

Best Overall

1. DACHA Liposomal Vitamin C

  • Uses a unique approach to boosting bioavailability and absorption
  • Provides over 1000 mg of vitamin C in an easily-absorbed format
  • A high-dose supplement that’s super simple
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2. Doctor’s Best Vitamin C

  • Provides 1000 mg of vitamin C in a proprietary form known as Quali-C
  • A simple vitamin C that guarantees its purity
  • Has good quality control in the manufacturing process 
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Best naturally-sourced supplement

3. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw C

  • Uses naturally-produced ascorbic acid as the source of vitamin C
  • Includes a huge range of extracts from fruits and vegetables in their formula
  • Gives you phytonutrients that you won’t get in your regular vitamins
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Best bulk

4. Bulk Supplements Vitamin C

  • Comes in loose powder form
  • It is water soluble that you can mix in water, a protein shake, or a smoothie
  • A number one choice if you are looking for bulk vitamin C
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Best for workout recovery

5. Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C

  • Has a super-simple formulation that delivers 500 mg of vitamin C per dose
  • Scores very well on purity testing
  • Is gluten-free and has no preservatives added
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  • It provides 1000 mg of vitamin C in three forms
  • The tablets actually contain 1060 mg of vitamin C per serving
  • A good choice if you want a slow-release formula
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  • It helps supports the immune system and also the production of collagen
  • Contains 1000 mg of vitamin C
  • Manufactured in a soy-free, milk-free, and gluten-free
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Best gummy supplement

8. New Age Vitamin C Gummies

  • A great gummy vitamin C supplement if you’re tired of tablets and capsules
  • New Age keeps flavor and texture to a minimum without compromising on the dose
  • Vegan-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free
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9. Emergen-C Super Orange

  • Comes in a flavored powder in individual packets
  • Has notable vitamins and minerals in its formula: vitamin B6 and vitamin B12
  • Aimed at boosting your immune system
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  • It’s marketed as a countermeasure against mild illness
  • Helps to support the immune system with powerful antioxidants
  • Tasty, refreshing, and gluten-free
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  • Delivers 500 mg of vitamin C, along with a 200 mg mixture of citrus fruit extracts
  • Instead of ascorbic acid, it uses a salt form, calcium ascorbate
  • Vegetarian and is gentle on the stomach
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1. DACHA Liposomal Vitamin C

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DACHA makes a tremendous vitamin C supplement that uses a unique approach to boosting bioavailability and absorption.

By binding the ascorbic acid (vitamin C’s chemical name) to fat-soluble molecules, DACHA aims to make their vitamin C absorbed more readily by your body, helping it cross through membranes and into your body’s cells.

With over 1000 mg of vitamin C per serving, the dosage is fantastic, too, making it our number one pick of the year.

2. Doctor’s Best Vitamin C

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Doctor’s Best Vitamin C is a pretty standard vitamin C supplement. Sometimes, however, standard is just what you need.

Each capsule provides 1000 mg of vitamin C, in a proprietary form known as Quali-C. There’s nothing fancy about this form; it’s really just ascorbic acid, but the company that supplies it guarantees its purity.

This is reflected in independent lab testing of Doctor’s Best Vitamin C. In analytical assays, its actual vitamin C content comes in at 1070 mg, just seven percent over the label listed amount. This means there is good quality control in the manufacturing process and you’re getting exactly what you pay for.

3. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw C

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Garden of Life uses naturally-produced ascorbic acid as the source for their vitamin C, but they go above and beyond other brands by including a huge range of extracts from fruits and vegetables like broccoli, apple, carrot, bell pepper, and kale.

These ingredients give you phytonutrients you wouldn’t be getting if you just took pure vitamin C. And, at 500 mg of vitamin C per serving, you’re not skimping on dosage, either.

4. Bulk Supplements Vitamin C

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Bulk Supplements is a company that is widely known for their low cost, high quality philosophy. Bulk supplements sells its products in a loose powder form in a simple resealable foil bag, always in a highly purified form without any flavoring agents or adulterants.

That’s the case with their vitamin C supplement too. It’s 100% ascorbic acid—in independent lab testing, it easily lives up to its claim.

The advantage of this is that you can determine exactly how much you need, at what time, and in what format. Since ascorbic acid (the chemical name for vitamin C) is water soluble, you can dissolve the exact amount of vitamin C that you need in water, a protein shake, a smoothie, or pretty much any other liquid you want.

If you don’t mind taking the time to measure out the supplement with a scoop or a scale, Bulk Supplements should be your number one choice if you are looking for bulk vitamin C.

5. Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C

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Nature’s Bounty is super-simple formulation that delivers 500 mg of vitamin C per dose.

In terms of other ingredients, the tablet form demands some binders, anti-caking agents, and excipients, so the ingredient list is a bit longer than usual.

However, Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C scores very well on purity testing, with independent analytical testing determining that its actual vitamin C content was within four percent of its label-stated amount.

6. Solaray Vitamin C

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Though it’s not a common brand, Solaray Vitamin C sells surprisingly well online. It provides its 1000 mg of vitamin C in three forms: traditional ascorbic acid, rose hips (an herbal extract rich in vitamin C), and acerola cherry, another fruit rich in vitamin C.

According to independent analytical testing, the tablets actually contain 1060 mg of vitamin C per serving, which is quite good. That’s an error of only six percent.

There’s also no funny business with strange or unnecessary inactive ingredients either, making Solaray Vitamin C a good call if you want a slow release formula.

7. Ester-C Vitamin C

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This vitamin C supplement is unusual because it does not deliver its vitamin C in the standard format of ascorbic acid. Instead, it uses a salt form, calcium ascorbate, which is this company’s patented formulation.

The main benefit of this formulation is that it’s not acidic, which makes it a good niche pick for people with a sensitive stomach.

8. Now Foods C-1000

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Another among the big brands, Now Foods offers supplements starting with just about every letter of the alphabet. Vitamin C is no exception—Now Foods makes a 1000 mg vitamin C tablet that’s standard in most regards.

The purity of the ingredients is average; independent lab testing pegged its true vitamin C content at 928 mg per tablet. Though it’s disappointing to see a number lower than the advertised amount, this is still less than a ten percent difference between label-claimed and actual vitamin C content.

9. New Age Vitamin C Gummies

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Tablets and capsules not your thing? New Age makes a great gummy vitamin C supplement that has a solid dosage and relatively few extraneous ingredients.

Of course, any gummy vitamin requires more ingredients for flavoring and texture, but New Age keeps them to a minimum without compromising much on the dose. As far as gummy-based vitamin C supplements go, it’s easily the best.

10. Emergen-C Super Orange

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Practically a household name by now, Emergen-C comes in a flavored powder in individual packets that you can add to water or another drink to deliver 1000 mg of vitamin C per packet, along with several other vitamins and minerals aimed at boosting your immune system.

The other two notable vitamins and minerals delivered in major quantities in Emergen-C are vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. These are included in amounts of 10 mg (500% of your recommended daily intake) and 25 mcg (417% of recommended daily intake).

Because of this sugar, Emergen-C is not a good choice for a daily vitamin C supplement. As an occasional supplement to use if you get a cold, though, it should do its job.

Category winners

Best vitamin C supplement overall: DACHA Liposomal Vitamin C

DACHA makes a unique vitamin C supplement that’s designed to make the vitamin C fat-soluble. This means potentially quicker absorption and better bioavailability, garnering our top overall spot. 

Best vitamin C supplement for immune function: DACHA Liposomal Vitamin C

To boost immune function with vitamin C, your best shot is a high-dose supplement that’s super simple. That’s why we chose DACHA, which provides over 1000 mg of vitamin C in an easily-absorbed format.

Best vitamin C supplement for workout recovery: Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C

For optimal workout recovery, you don’t want the dose to be too high—otherwise you might override your body’s natural inflammation-based adaptation. Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C, with 500 mg of vitamin C per capsule, is a nice compromise. 

Best naturally-sourced vitamin C supplement: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw C

Garden of Life has made a name for itself as the best source for micronutrients in their natural form, and that’s exactly what you get with Vitamin Code Raw C. With yeast-produced vitamin C and extracts from a dizzying array of fruits and vegetables, you get a host of phytonutrients alongside the vitamin C. 

Best bulk vitamin C: Bulk Supplements Vitamin C

If you’re mixing up your own protein shakes, smoothies, or meal replacements, and need a good source of vitamin C, the ultra-pure bulk powder from Bulk Supplements is a clear winner. 

Best gummy vitamin C supplement: New Age Vitamin C Gummies

Gummy supplements usually mean low dosage and lots of artificial flavors and colors, but New Age does a good job of keeping the dosage high (250 mg per serving) and using only natural flavors and color from paprika.

Who should buy vitamin C?

You should buy vitamin C if you are looking for a simple, straightforward, and effective anti-inflammatory supplement that is very well-researched and has a broad range of applications. The best applications for vitamin C include:

Boosting the function of your immune system. Vitamin C is used used in a wide range of biological processes, but its most well-known application is still boosting the function of your immune system. Vitamin C is a common remedy for colds and other upper respiratory infections, and many of our top-rated supplements are engineered specifically for this purpose. 

Reducing muscle damage and soreness. Because vitamin C fights inflammation, it can be useful for soothing sore, painful muscles after tough workouts. Though there’s some concern this use could dampen the training adaptation you get, it’s a good tool to have at your disposal for when recovery matters more than adaptation, like during a multi-day competition or event.

People who want to protect their cognitive function as they get older. Like many other antioxidants, one highly researched potential application of vitamin C is protecting the brain from aging-related decline. Compared to other applications of vitamin C, this one is less well-understood.

How we ranked

With a straightforward supplement like vitamin C, simplicity, purity, and proper dosage are the name of the game. When formulating our rankings, we aggregated all of the supplements on the market that prominently feature vitamin C and used the following criteria.

Focus on vitamin C’s antioxidant capabilities. We dropped supplements that only incidentally included vitamin C alongside other biologically active supplemental ingredients (say, vitamin E for example).

Our reasoning here was to give you as much control as possible over the dosage and balance of all of the supplements you are taking.

Naturally-sourced vitamin C, potentially alongside phytonutrients. To make sure our vitamin C supplements were the most versatile and flexible options out there, we checked the sourcing of the vitamin C, and gave extra points to supplements like Garden of Life that included vitamin C alongside phytonutrients that naturally accompany vitamin C in citrus fruits.

High purity and high dosage. We aimed for highly pure products that delivered 500-1000 mg of vitamin C per capsule, and rewarded brands that used independent lab testing to verify their purity.

We also included powder-based vitamin C supplements for people who want precise control over their vitamin C intake, or who want to mix vitamin C into a protein shake or smoothie.

Here, BulkSupplements was the clear winner on all fronts, so it was the only powder-based product we included in the rankings.

Versatile delivery options. Finally, we accounted for the fact that some people (particularly children) don’t like or aren’t able to swallow standard vitamin C tablets. For these people, we made sure to include dissolvable or chewable gummy-based vitamin C.

While these products required some sacrifices on the purity front, it’s nevertheless a niche that needs to be filled. The lower purity of these supplements explains why they ended up closer to the bottom of our rankings.

FAQ

Q: What is vitamin C?

A: Vitamin C is a simple molecule that is one of the oldest known vitamins. It functions as an antioxidant in your body, which means that it takes advantage of its molecular structure to absorb free radicals, which cause chemical chain reactions and damage the cells of your body.

Vitamin C can capture these free radicals, halting these damaging chain reactions and preventing cellular damage. Maintaining high levels of vitamin C is important for everything from your immune system to your eyesight, highlighting the broad importance of this simple nutrient.

Q: How does vitamin C help your body?

A: Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for everything from immune function to maintaining eyesight. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, and helps capture free radicals and prevent them from causing damage to your body’s cells.

It’s also beneficial for high level athletes in certain circumstances, as research shows it may be able to help reduce or prevent muscle soreness, and prevent infection and illness after extremely demanding workouts.

Q: What does vitamin C do for your skin?

A: Vitamin C, as you know by now, is a powerful antioxidant, which means that it can prevent damage incurred by free radicals and oxidizing agents in your body.

One area of your body that suffers to a significant degree from oxidative damage is your skin: the ultraviolet light in sunlight creates free radicals, which damage skin cells, destroy the collagen matrix that holds skin cells together, and cause aging of your skin.

One potential solution to this is to prevent or perhaps even reverse this oxidative damage with a strong antioxidant like vitamin C. It turns out that this is indeed a good solution for keeping your skin young, radiant, and healthy, but the most effective way to deliver vitamin C to your skin isn’t through a tablet—it’s through a vitamin C serum.

These supplements are topical solutions that deliver vitamin C directly to the areas of skin that you care about, such as your face, neck, shoulders, and chest. Though the supplement that delivers it is different, the mechanism of action is exactly the same.

Q: How long does vitamin C stay in your system?

A: Vitamin C has an extraordinary ability to stay in your body for a long time—unlike other supplements, which may only last for a few hours, small to medium doses of vitamin C can last inside your body for eight to 40 days, depending on the person.

This is likely because your body is adapted to storing and using vitamin C for long periods of time without fruit or vegetable consumption, from hardships earlier in human history.

Given how important vitamin C is for maintaining health, it makes sense that your body would have a mechanism for maintaining high levels of vitamin C even with sparse or intermittent intake.

The very long elimination half life of vitamin C suggests that you don’t need to be perfect with your vitamin C intake to maintain high levels of vitamin C in your body.

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Recap

Vitamin C may not have the massive and long-lasting health benefits that some early researchers had hoped for, but it does have some specific niche applications in supplementation.

For high-level athletes, vitamin C could help prevent muscle soreness after particularly tough workouts, and could help prevent illness after arduous competitions as well.

Some evidence suggests that vitamin C supplementation could be associated with a decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, though research to date is not conclusive.

Vitamin C is quite safe, with no side effects up to doses of 2000 mg per day. Most research uses a daily dose of 500 to 1000 mg per day, though some research has found benefits with doses as low as 100 mg per day.

Though many people get sufficient vitamin C in their diet, some might benefit from supplementation for specific, additional benefits and niche uses.

For BodyNutrition‘s #1 vitamin C recommendation, click here.





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