When we think of vitamins that help boost our immune systems, we may immediately think of vitamin C. It’s a well-known vitamin in everyday healthy diet staples like citrus fruits, tomato juice, and certain vegetables. And there is a popular conception that vitamin C helps prevent the common cold.
Although the jury is still out about links between vitamin C and the common cold, we do know (from scientific research and clinical trials) that vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps eliminate free radicals which can cause cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. We also know that vitamin C boosts immunity, enhances brain health, prevents iron deficiency, and helps our bodies stave off heart disease.
Many Americans get enough vitamin C in their diet, but you may want to try a vitamin C supplement if you have a deficiency or need extra immune protection. In this guide, we break down the top seven vitamin C supplements on the market and give details about their cost, effectiveness, and safety.
If you’re pressed for time, check out our top 7 recommendations below.
- Best for most people: Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C
- Runner-up: Thorne Vitamin C with Flavonoids
- Best liquid: Pure Encapsulations Liposomal Vitamin C
- Best powder: Swanson Premium Vitamin C Powder
- Best gummy: Nordic Naturals Vitamin C Gummies
- Best for vegans: NutraMedix Vitamin C 1000mg Capsules
- Best budget pick: Bulk Supplements Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) Powder
Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C
Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C contains simple but powerful ingredients designed to boost your immune system and fight against free radicals.
Nature’s Bounty has been a trusted source for vitamins and supplements for over 50 years. Just one caplet a day contains more than the recommended amount of vitamin C, plus it’s gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly.
- Vitamin C supplements: top considerations
- How our top recommendations compare
- What is Vitamin C?
- How Vitamin C supplements work
- Are Vitamin C supplements a good choice for you?
- Are Vitamin C supplements safe?
- Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C 1,000mg Caplets
- Thorne Vitamin C with Flavonoids
- Pure Encapsulations Liposomal Vitamin C
- Swanson Premium Vitamin C Powder
- NutraMedix Vitamin C 1,000mg Capsules
- Nordic Naturals Vitamin C Gummies
- Bulk Supplements Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) Powder
- Vitamin C supplement FAQ
- Why you should trust us
To give you a comprehensive view of our top picks, we evaluated them based on five essential criteria: cost, ingredients, effectiveness, safety, and convenience.
Winner: Bulk Supplements
Cost is always an issue when shopping for vitamin C supplements. You want to make sure you’re choosing a product that is a good value but will also deliver the immune-boosting benefits you seek. When we evaluated our top picks’ costs, we looked at pricing options, shipping costs, money-back guarantees, and unit pricing.
Bulk Supplements is our winner for cost and our most budget-friendly pick. The company prides themselves on a no-frills approach to product design, packaging, and pricing, and you can reap those benefits with low-cost, high-quality products. Their vitamin C powder comes in various product sizes (from 100g to a whopping 25kg), but the costs per serving stay low at less than $0.09 per serving for the 100g option. Also, take advantage of free shipping on orders over $59, a 30-day return policy, and a subscription service for a 5% discount.
Our runner-up for cost is Swanson because they offer 454 servings of vitamin C powder for only $19.99 ($0.04 per serving), but the Swanson site is not as thorough and transparent about the product’s ingredients and effectiveness as the Bulk Supplements page. And Swanson doesn’t offer the same variety of product sizes. But if you want the cheapest option out there, Swanson can’t be beaten.
Winners: Nature’s Bounty and Thorne
Some vitamin C supplements contain only ascorbic acid (another name for vitamin C). Others may include bonus ingredients for enhanced taste or effectiveness. For example, a capsule probably won’t contain sugar, but a gummy or powder product might. It’s essential to look for a product that contains ingredients that are acceptable for your diet and won’t cause other issues later on.
Our picks for best ingredients are Nature’s Bounty and Thorne. Nature’s Bounty has a straightforward approach to their vitamin C product, offering a vegetarian-friendly capsule free from artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, milk, soy, gluten, and many other unnecessary ingredients. We also picked Thorne in this category because of an element they add to their capsules — citrus bioflavonoids. This ingredient works in tandem with vitamin C to deliver more antioxidants and fight free radicals.
Winner: Pure Encapsulations
When looking for an effective vitamin C supplement, it’s important to pay attention to the product’s ingredients as well as the science behind its claims. Does the supplement deliver on its promises?
The supplement in our guide with the most effective ingredients is Pure Encapsulations. This liquid vitamin C supplement contains liposomes derived from sunflowers which protect the vitamin C as it travels through your digestive system. This ensures more effective delivery so that your body completely absorbs the vitamin C in the supplement.
Winners: Nordic Naturals and NutraMedix
Safety is always a concern with dietary supplements, especially because the FDA does not regulate them in the same way they regulate food and prescription drugs. It’s important to pay attention to what’s going into the formulation and how the company checks for quality, purity, and freshness.
Two of our top picks — Nordic Naturals and NutraMedix — stand out in terms of safety. Nordic Naturals offers a vitamin C gummy that is third-party tested for purity and high-quality ingredients. You can review certificates of analysis on their website for each product to see how they meet these strict quality standards. NutraMedix is also impressive regarding safety because of the careful process they use to select all-natural, high-quality ingredients. Their vegan capsules are made from high-purity ascorbic acid without GMOs, soy, gluten, sugar, or yeast.
When selecting a vitamin C supplement, it’s important to pay attention to dosing instructions and make sure they are easy to follow and stick to. Consistency is vital when taking a supplement to meet your long-term health goals.
Our winner for convenience is Swanson, not only because their vitamin C powder is ideal for people who don’t like to swallow pills but also because they provide a scoop so you can measure out the perfect amount of product every time. Mix one scoop per day into water or any other beverage.
|Nature’s Bounty||Thorne||Pure Encapsulations||Sansown||Nordic Naturals||NutraMedix||Bulk Supplements|
|Cost for one order||$8||$18||$39||$20||$15||$20||$12|
|Number of servings||100||90||24||454||30||120||133|
|Price per serving||$0.08||$0.20||$1.63||$0.04||$0.50||$0.17||$0.09|
|Subscribe & save?||
|Money-back guarantee (days)||60||30||30||30||30||30|
Vitamin C (also known as L-ascorbic acid) is an essential vitamin that your body does not produce, so you need to ingest it through food and supplements. This vitamin is known for offering many health benefits, including:
- Boosting immunity
- Improving high blood pressure
- Reducing heart disease risk
- Enhancing cognitive function
- Preventing iron deficiency
Some health claims about vitamin C are not backed up by scientific research, including the conception that taking vitamin C will prevent the common cold. While vitamin C boosts immunity, clinical trials’ results have not demonstrated a clear link between vitamin C and common cold prevention. Some studies have shown that it may shorten the duration of a cold, while others show no connection between colds and vitamin C intake.
Generally, those who eat a balanced diet get enough vitamin C from the foods they eat daily. It can be found in foods like:
- Citrus fruits
- Bell peppers
- Tomato juice
- Brussels sprouts
Women should get 75mg of vitamin C per day, and men need 90mg. But this number varies based on your age and overall health. The National Institutes of Health provide a comprehensive guide to daily recommended amounts for all age groups. Check out the chart below for more info.
|Birth to 6 months||40mg||40mg|
Necessary amounts also vary for pregnant teens (80mg), pregnant adults (85mg), breastfeeding teens (115mg), and breastfeeding adults (120mg). If you smoke, you should add 35mg to your daily recommended amount.
Studies show that about 8.4% of the U.S. population has a vitamin C deficiency, leading to a fatal disease called scurvy without intervention. Symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency include:
- Gum disease
- Small red skin spots
- Poor wound healing
Vitamin C supplementation is usually prescribed for treatment of a deficiency and scurvy.
Getting the daily recommended value of vitamin C helps your body function well and boosts your immunity and overall health. Without enough vitamin C, you may develop symptoms like fatigue or gingivitis. Below, we outline several ways that vitamin C supplements impact your health.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens immune defenses by reducing oxidative stress and demonstrates antimicrobial properties. It can help repair and prevent tissue damage and infections (including respiratory infection), which is especially useful since those with vitamin C deficiency show a higher infection rate. Clinical trials have also shown vitamin C to reduce the “risk, severity, and duration of infectious diseases.”
Better dietary iron absorption is another benefit of vitamin C supplementation. The easier your body can absorb iron, the less likely you are to have an iron deficiency, which can lead to illnesses like anemia.
Conclusions about vitamin C’s relationship to heart disease are mixed, with some studies showing a strong connection and others showing no link. One study found that women who took vitamin C supplements were slower to develop coronary heart disease than women who did not take supplements. Another review of studies pointed out that vitamin C deficiency has been linked to death from cardiovascular disease. Still, that evidence was insufficient to show that vitamin C supplementation could prevent or reverse the disease.
Although more research is needed, some studies have shown that vitamin C supplementation can help prevent and alleviate the symptoms of illnesses that impact the brain. For example, one study showed a connection between depression symptoms and vitamin C deficiency, while another clinical trial showed that vitamin C supplementation mitigates anxiety symptoms. Further research suggests supplementation can help with other cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and ALS.
Vitamin C supplements are a good choice for anyone who wants to boost their immunity or reap the other benefits of vitamin C supplementation. They’re an especially good option for people who suffer from a vitamin C deficiency, which generally results from less than 10mg of vitamin C per day for a month or more. You know you have a deficiency if you experience:
- Rash of small red spots
- Slow wound healing
If you experience these symptoms, you should consult a doctor who may put you on 100-200mg of vitamin C per day to restore ideal vitamin C levels. This treatment can take as little as a day and as much as a few months to take full effect.
You’re more likely to experience vitamin C deficiency if you:
- Don’t eat a balanced diet
- Live with a malabsorption disorder
Sometimes, a severe deficiency can lead to an illness called scurvy. If scurvy is left untreated, it can be fatal. Symptoms of scurvy include:
- Bruising easily
- Bleeding gums
- Muscle weakness
Who should avoid them
Even though vitamin C is generally safe to take, some medical conditions can prevent or alter its effectiveness. Talk to your doctor before starting vitamin C if you:
- Are undergoing cancer therapies
- Live with chronic kidney disease
- Have glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (or G6PD)
- Take iron supplements
- Have had kidney stones
- Take estrogen
- Are pregnant or nursing
You should talk to your doctor before beginning any new supplement, but it’s imperative to do so if you fall into any of the above categories.
Vitamin C is safe to take for healthy adults. However, the supplement may lead to side effects, especially if taken in high doses over the recommended daily intake. These side effects include:
- Stomach cramps
- Kidney stones
Vitamin C can also interact with certain medications, making them less effective or speeding up their absorption. Talk to your doctor before starting a vitamin C supplement if you also take:
- HIV medications
- Chemotherapy drugs
Best for most people
- Easy to take with straightforward dosing instructions
- Gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly
- Choose from a variety of vitamin C products
- Boosts immunity and helps fight free radicals
- Inexpensive price for 100- or 300-count
- Complete your purchase through iHerb or in-store
- No direct purchases from company website
- 1,000mg dose may be too much for some (500mg products also available)
Nature’s Bounty is our top pick because of its simple and straightforward vitamin C delivery from a trusted brand. Each 1,000mg caplet contains more than the suggested daily value of vitamin C, but it provides an amount that can help adults boost their immunity. Simply take one caplet per day with a meal for best results. Nature’s Bounty has been around for over 50 years and is a renowned and respected brand committed to safety and quality. Chances are, you’ve seen this brand before and may even have a product of theirs in your cabinet.
In addition to their straightforward approach and sparkling reputation, Nature’s Bounty has designed their product to help with a variety of health issues, including:
- Immune support
- Antioxidant boost
- Free radical defense
The caplets are vegetarian-friendly and free of many fillers, allergens, and other unnecessary ingredients like:
- Artificial color
- Artificial flavor
- Artificial sweetener
In addition to the 1,000mg caplets, Nature’s Bounty offers a variety of other vitamin C products for adults and children:
- 500mg Vitamin C Chewable Tablets
- 500mg Vitamin C Tablets
- 500mg Vitamin C Time Release Capsules
- 500mg Vitamin C Tablets with Rose Hips
- 1,000mg Vitamin C Coated Caplets
- 1,000mg Vitamin C with Rose Hips
- Kids Vitamin C Gummies
- Vitamin C Gummies
- Vitamin C Plus Zinc Quick Dissolve Tablets
- Vitamins C, D & Zinc Gummies
You won’t purchase the caplets directly from the Nature’s Bounty website. Instead, you’ll be directed to iHerb to complete your purchase. A 100-count bottle of caplets costs $8, while a 300-count bottle costs $36.64. These prices may change due to availability. The Nature’s Bounty site also provides a Find a Retailer link where you can enter your zip code and find local stores that sell the products, including Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart.
- Includes citrus bioflavonoids for added antioxidant benefits
- Helps boost collagen production and speed wound healing
- Free from gluten, dairy, and soy
- 60-day satisfaction guarantee
- Subscribe and save 10%-20%
- Variable dosing instructions — one to three capsules daily
Thorne Vitamin C with Flavonoids is our runner-up for best overall, not only because it contains 500mg of vitamin C per capsule, but each capsule also includes 75mg of citrus bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids are antioxidants that help your body fight free radicals — unstable molecules that can damage cells in your body, causing issues like premature aging. Adding bioflavonoids to vitamin C, which already helps the body fight free radicals, boosts your body’s antioxidant power.
In addition to these benefits, Thorne’s capsules can also help:
- Support your immune system
- Boost collagen production
- Speed wound healing
- Promote tissue formation
- Enhance liver detox
Thorne’s product only includes natural flavors and colors and is free from gluten, dairy, and soy. For best results, take one to three capsules per day.
You can make a one-time purchase of 90 capsules for $18 or choose from Thorne’s subscription options. A subscription saves 10% on each refill order and benefits from free shipping. You can opt to have your product shipped every one to four months. If you subscribe to three or more products, you’ll save 20%.
A 60-day satisfaction guarantee covers all orders. You may return your product anytime within the 60 days for a refund, credit, or replacement.
- Effective delivery and absorption system
- Each serving contains 1,000mg of vitamin C
- Tasty citrus flavor
- Free from soy and GMOs
- Vegan- and vegetarian-friendly
- 30-day return policy
- Contains ethanol and sodium
- No subscription or auto-ship options
- Not a budget-friendly option
Pure Encapsulations Liposomal Vitamin C is our pick for best liquid because it contains sunflower liposomes to protect the vitamin C and help it safely travel through your digestive system to be absorbed by your body. This method ensures more effective vitamin C delivery and absorption, resulting in many health benefits like:
- Enhanced mast cell function
- Boosted antioxidant levels
- Immunity support
- Protection from free radicals
- Increased lymphocyte formation
The liquid is citrus-flavored and contains 1,000mg of vitamin C in each serving. It’s also free from GMOs and soy and fits nicely into a vegan or vegetarian diet. For best results, take one teaspoon with a meal each day.
One 120ml bottle costs $38.50 and contains 24 servings. Pure Encapsulations does not offer subscription or auto-ship services. In the contiguous U.S., you can take advantage of free shipping on orders over $100. Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska customers earn free shipping on orders over $500.
A 30-day return policy covers your order. Return the product for a refund minus shipping and a 15% processing fee.
- Powder easily dissolves and is water soluble
- Designed for people who can’t swallow pills
- Tasty orange flavor
- Boosts immune response and collagen production
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Subscribe and save 15%
- Not much info on their website about the formulation
Swanson Premium Vitamin C Powder is our best powder pick as a water-soluble, easy-dissolve powder with a refreshing orange flavor that contains 1,000mg of vitamin C per serving. You can mix the powder into water, a smoothie, or any food or beverage of your choice, and it is an excellent option for people who don’t want to swallow pills or chew gummies.
Not only is it convenient to take, but it provides several health benefits, including:
- Immune system support
- Antioxidant boost
- Free radical defense
- Collagen production
In addition to its health benefits, this powder is also an economical choice. Each canister includes 454 servings, and the suggested intake is one scoop per day. This means that one $20 canister could last you over one year before you need to purchase another. The product also includes a scoop that measures out each serving.
One 16oz canister of powder costs $19.99, and one-time purchases qualify for free shipping over $50. You can also subscribe to save 15% off your order and receive free shipping on orders over $35. You can choose to auto-ship your order every 30-90 days. A 30-day money-back guarantee covers all orders.
Best for vegans
- Does not contain dairy, gluten, GMOs, soy, sugar, or yeast
- Easy-to-swallow capsules
- More likely to provide cardiovascular support and tissue repair
- Free shipping on all U.S. orders
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- No subscription options
- Contains magnesium stearate
NutraMedix Vitamin C 1,000mg Capsules is our best vegan option because the easy-to-swallow capsules do not contain dairy, and NutraMedix takes a lot of care to source and select natural, high-quality ingredients. The capsules are also free from GMOs, soy, gluten, sugar, and yeast. This supplement is made from highly purified ascorbic acid, which means it is safe to take every day and provides several overall health benefits, including:
- Antioxidant support
- Boosted immunity
- Free radical neutralization
- Collagen production
- Cardiovascular support
- Tissue repair
For best results, take one or two capsules daily with food. NutraMedix provides precise instructions for using the product:
Wash your hands before handling the capsules.
Place the capsules on the tongue and wash them down with a full glass of water.
Tightly close the bottle’s lid and store it in a dry place between 59-86°F.
Purchase a 120-capsule bottle for $19.95. NutraMedix offers free shipping on all orders placed in the U.S. If you register with the website, your purchase of the vitamin C capsules will earn 100 Reward Points, which will help you earn product discounts. The company offers a 30-day return policy that provides a product replacement or full refund.
- Tasty tart tangerine flavor
- Good for adults or children
- Third-party tested for purity and safety
- Boosts antioxidants and provides immune support
- 30-day return policy for full refund
- Free standard shipping on all orders
- Includes 4g of added sugar and 10mg of sodium per serving
- Products must be resalable (unopened) for refund
We chose Nordic Naturals Vitamin C Gummies as our favorite gummies in this guide because of their delicious tart tangerine flavor and the company’s commitment to pure, safe ingredients. The gummies are tasty and will provide you a little treat each day when you take them. Nordic Naturals is also committed to third-party testing each product for purity and to ensure high-quality outcomes. They even provide certificates of analysis for each of their products so you can view how each product met their rigorous quality standards.
The pectin-based gummies are vegan and free from gelatin, gluten, GMOs, milk, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. They offer the following health benefits:
- Immunity protection
- Antioxidant boost
- Collagen formation
Their vitamin C gummies are made for adults and children over four. Each gummy includes 250mg of vitamin C, and the company suggests taking two gummies daily with food.
Choose between a one-time purchase or subscription option. The chart below breaks down the different pricing opportunities.
|Cost (one time purchase)||Subscription price||Savings|
If you choose a subscription, you can have your order auto-shipped every 30, 60, or 90 days. Nordic Naturals offers free shipping on all orders. Returning your product within their 30-day return window will give you a full refund.
Best budget pick
- Purchase over 100 servings for less than $0.09/serving
- 30-day refund policy
- Might boost immune function, metabolism, and collagen production
- Free from sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, and gluten
- Free shipping on orders over $59
- Not flavored (naturally sour)
- Specific dosing instructions but no scoop provided
Bulk Supplements Ascorbic Acid Powder is our best budget pick because Bulk Supplements provides pure, simplified supplements for a fraction of the cost of competitors. They also offer their products in both small and large quantities (so you can benefit from bulk purchase discounts) as well as offering a subscription option that helps you save even more. The company offers free shipping on orders over $59 in the contiguous U.S. and a 30-day refund policy on unopened items.
The powder contains pure ascorbic acid, which is another name for vitamin C, and no added sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, or additives. Ascorbic acid has a natural sour taste similar to lemons or other citrus fruits. It offers the following health benefits:
- Immune system protection
- Tissue building
- Collagen strengthening
- Carnitine synthesis
- Metabolism balance
- Antioxidant boost
- Cardiovascular system support
Each day, take up to four servings of powder. Each serving is 1/6tsp and contains 750mg of vitamin C.
Bulk Supplements provides free shipping on orders over $59 placed in the contiguous U.S. and a 30-day return policy. You can make a one-time purchase or opt for a subscription order and save 5%. Subscription orders auto-ship every 30, 60, or 90 days. The chart below breaks down the product size options and prices.
|One-time purchase||Subscription purchase||Number of servings|
Bulk Supplements also offers a 25kg (55lbs) option, but it was sold out at the time of this writing.
What do Vitamin C supplements help with?
Vitamin C has many benefits to your overall health. It is a potent antioxidant that helps protect your cells against free radicals that can contribute to fatal illnesses like heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C can also help boost your immunity by preventing or shortening infections, speeding iron absorption, promoting brain health, and lowering blood pressure.
What is the best form of Vitamin C to take?
When searching for a vitamin C supplement, you may discover many variations of vitamin C available, but no one form of vitamin C is better for you than another. Some common types of vitamin C are:
How much Vitamin C should you take?
Adults can tolerate up to 2,000mg per day, with the daily suggested amount being 75mg for women and 90mg for men. Daily intake varies based on age, gender, and health status.
Does vitamin C protect against the common cold?
While it’s a popular idea that vitamin C helps prevent colds, this is not backed up by scientific research. When looking at studies and reviews of studies conducted about the connection between vitamin C and the common cold, it’s clear that the connection is inconclusive. Some studies show that vitamin C can shorten the duration or lessen the severity of colds while others show no direct link.
What foods are high in Vitamin C?
Many foods provide high levels of Vitamin C, including citrus fruits, guava, kiwi, bell peppers, tomato juice, strawberries, parsley, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cantaloupe.
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