Basket of Oranges - What's in Your Vitamin C ?


Vitamin C is probably the most common and frequently taken vitamin. Although you assume you are doing something good for yourself, do you really know what you are taking?

Most vitamin C purchased as a separate vitamin or included in composite vitamin formulas is NOT REAL VITAMIN C!

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, was discovered in 1912, isolated in 1928, and first synthesized in 1933. By the 1960s, China was mass producing the synthetic version of this vitamin, and the vast majority of vitamin C supplements you’ll find in the marketplace are of this cheap, chemically made form.


Often synthetic ascorbic acid is derived from genetically modified corn and processed with a host of chemicals such as acetone (yes – just like nail polish remover).

Well, you might argue that “I’m not taking ascorbic acid, I’m taking a Mineral Ascorbate, or a Liposomal Ascorbate, or it has bioflavonoids.” Maybe that makes you feel better about the synthetic ascorbic acid, but:

  1. Mineral salts of ascorbic acid, such as sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, potassium ascorbate, or magnesium ascorbate, are supplements that bond synthetic ascorbic acid to a mineral.These mineral ascorbates are less acidic and are therefore considered “buffered.”

    Because of this, mineral ascorbates are often recommended to people who experience an upset stomach from plain, synthetic ascorbic acid.

  2. Bioflavonoids, or flavonoids, are natural compounds found in plants. Most vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables are full of these beneficial compounds. Since they are antioxidants, just like vitamin C, they are thought to improve the efficacy of the supplement.

  3. Unfortunately, the majority of vitamin C supplements with bioflavonoids are simply synthetic ascorbic acid with some flavonoids sprinkled in. They are often marketed as “natural.” However, when a vitamin is marked “natural,” it only has to include 10% of actual natural plant- derived ingredients. The other 90% can be synthetic — as is often the case with these types of supplements.

  4. Liposomal vitamin C is yet another form of this essential nutrient that mixes synthetic ascorbic acid or a mineral ascorbate with a vegetable oil. The idea is that the fat helps in the absorption of the ascorbic acid.


The vitamin companies don’t want you to know this, or they don’t know this themselves. But to be sure, ASCORBIC ACID IS NOT THE SAME AS VITAMIN C.

To make matters worse, ascorbic acid is so similar to vitamin C that it gets taken up into your cells at the same receptor and doesn’t allow your body to absorb the real vitamin C. It competes with the real vitamin.

When Linus Pauling did his landmark research on vitamin C, he used real vitamin C, not ascorbic acid. Somewhere along the way, the lines between vitamin C and ascorbic acid became blurred until now the terms are used interchangeably. 

You will probably notice if you take a moment to read your vitamin labels that the vitamin C always has right after it in parentheses (as ascorbic acid) so as not to confuse the customer into thinking they are ingesting real Vitamin C.

There are, fortunately, real vitamin C products on the market, but they are not easy to find. I happen to have one in my online store made by PURE SYNERGY.

Of course, the best way to get your real vitamin C is to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

So be aware of what you are putting into your body in the guise of good health. Read those labels and question what doesn’t make sense. Most vitamin companies are not going to help make it easier for you. After all, they are in the business of selling vitamins at all costs.

As Always,
Yours in Radiant Health,

Dr. Howard Liebowitz,M.D.

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