The 6 Best Vitamin C Supplements of 2021, According to a Dietitian

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First Look

Best Overall: Nature's Bounty Vitamin C at Amazon

"This supplement provides only Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) and no other herbs or complimentary ingredients."

Best Organic: Garden of Life Vitamin C at Amazon

"Great for on-the-go days, buyers can support their immune system and enjoy the antioxidant capacity of Vitamin C with this one."

Best Capsule: Solgar Vitamin C at Amazon

"The capsule is vegan, kosher, gluten-free, dairy-free, and non-GMO."

Best Gummy: NOW C-500 at Amazon

"In addition to being low in sugar, this product is also free of many top allergens."

Best Boosted: Pure Encapsulations Essential-C & Flavonoids at Amazon

"With over 600 milligrams of Vitamin C, these hypoallergenic capsules also provide two powerful nutrients: quercetin and rutin."

Best Tasting: Megafood C Defense at Amazon

"Just ten calories and two grams of sugar, these gummies can be consumed any time of the day and on an empty stomach."

Vitamin C is a well-known, powerful nutrient. Also known as L-ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. Unlike most mammals, humans do not have the ability to make vitamin C and must obtain it from the diet or supplements. Vitamin C is essential for the completion of many enzymatic reactions such as the production of collagen, one of the main components of connective tissue. It is also needed for the production of many neurotransmitters, as well as the regulation of gene expression.

Vitamin C is best known for its potent antioxidant powers. A few hundred years ago, Vitamin C deficiency, also known as scurvy, was fairly common. By the late 1700s, the British navy became aware that scurvy could be cured by eating oranges or lemons, even though vitamin C was not isolated until the early 1930s. 

Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of Vitamin C. Citrus fruits, tomatoes and tomato juice, and potatoes are major contributors of vitamin C to the American diet. Other good food sources include red and green peppers, kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe.

Deficiency of Vitamin C is rare today, as most people get adequate amounts from food; however, some people decide to include supplemental Vitamin C to optimize immune function, prevent colds, and support overall health. For most, Vitamin C supplements are safe for general use however it is always important to discuss supplement changes with your healthcare provider and seek medical help for illness.

Here, the best vitamin C supplements:

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Nature's Bounty Vitamin C

If you are looking for a quality supplement that won't break the bank, Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C 500 milligrams is the choice for you. Each bottle contains 100 capsules, so you will have at least three months supply. Nature’s Bounty keeps this supplement simple, providing only Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) and no other herbs or complimentary ingredients in their product.

Free of artificial flavor, sweetener, sugar, starch, milk, lactose, gluten, wheat, yeast, and fish, this product ticks off many boxes for those with dietary restrictions. This product also received an A rating by Labdoor, an independent supplement quality testing company.

Best Organic: Garden of Life Vitamin C

Garden of Life’s My Kind Organics Vitamin C Spray is the top pick for an organic supplement. Shoppers can stay on top of their Vitamin C game with this organic spray. Great for travel or busy on-the-go days, buyers can support their immune system and enjoy the antioxidant capacity of Vitamin C with this easy-to-consume product.

The serving size for 60 milligrams of Vitamin C is five sprays and it is best to refrigerate the product after opening, as the Vitamin C in this product is sourced from an organic food blend. No need to worry about added sugars or stevia in this product, it is free of sweeteners, preservatives, and pesticides. It's also certified Kosher, Non-GMO Project Verified, and NSF Certified Gluten-Free. 

Best Capsule: Solgar Vitamin C

Solgar has been in the dietary supplement industry for over 70 years. Their products are made from high-quality ingredients, and their manufacturing facilities follow strict guidelines from the FDA.

One vegan capsule provides 1,000 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is more than 1,000 percent of the daily value of Vitamin C. The capsule is vegan, kosher, gluten-free, dairy-free, and non-GMO. As a bonus, this product has been approved by, an independent company that tests products for purity, quality, and potency. It is important to note that that is a higher dose of Vitamin C.

A product of this dose might be more suitable for those who engage in vigorous exercise, smokers, or those who do not include many fruits and vegetables in their diet. 

Best Gummy: NOW C-500

Finding a gummy supplement that is not filled with extra junk takes a bit more time in the supplement aisle, but we have done the work for you. NOW Foods C-500 is our top pick for the best Vitamin C supplement. One of these chewable supplements contains 500 milligrams of Vitamin C and only one gram of sugar.

In addition to being low in sugar, this product is also free of many top allergens, such as wheat, soy, milk, tree nuts, gluten, and egg. NOW Foods is a leader in the supplement industry and is a budget-friendly choice that does not skimp on purity or quality of products. They manufacture their products in an NPA A-rated GMP certified facility, which means that every aspect of the NOW manufacturing process has been examined.

Best Boosted: Pure Encapsulations Essential-C & Flavonoids

Looking for a Vitamin C supplement that packs a punch? Check out this potent blend of Vitamin C and Flavonoids from Pure Encapsulations. In addition to providing over 600 milligrams of Vitamin C, these hypoallergenic capsules also provide two powerful nutrients: quercetin and rutin, free radical scavengers that complement the role of vitamin C.

Pure Encapsulations products are free from many common allergens like wheat, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, and gluten. They're also free of artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners, as well as coatings and shellacs, unnecessary binders, and preservatives.

Best Tasting: Megafood C Defense

Megafood is one of the most trusted brands in the supplement industry because of their commitment to transparency. These citrus-flavored gummies promote a healthy immune system with 180 milligrams of Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) from actual organic oranges.

Consumers will enjoy the tangy citrus taste of juicy, farm-fresh oranges without high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin, artificial colors, or sugary coatings. With just 10 calories and 2 grams of sugar, these gummies can be consumed at any time of the day and on an empty stomach.

These gummies are Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified B Corp, and Certified Glyphosate Residue Free. They're also tested for over 125 herbicides and pesticides and are free of gluten, dairy, and soy.

Final Verdict

When picking a supplement, one of the most important criteria to consider is purity, potency, and quality. For this reason, Nature's Bounty Vitamin C is the best overall pick.

What to Look for in a Vitamin C Supplement

Form: Vitamin C comes in a variety of forms, including capsules, sprays, gummies, and powder. Consider how and when you will take the supplement. If you prefer not to swallow pills, a spray, gummy, or powder may be preferable to capsules.

Dose: Always speak with your health care provider about the appropriate dose of Vitamin C for your individual needs. Although vitamin C is generally considered safe, and excess amounts are usually eliminated through urine, high doses can cause adverse effects, including heartburn, nausea, headaches, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. 

Certifications: Not all supplements are created equal, so it's best to look for certifications from independent, third-party testing companies, such as, NSF International, and U.S. Pharmacopeia. These organizations provide quality testing and allow products that pass their tests to display a seal of quality assurance that indicates the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.

What Experts Say

"Vitamin C is a great way to boost your immune system, but it's also involved in many other interactions in the body. It's an important nutrient for vegans and vegetarians to ensure that they are absorbing the iron in their diet. Simply pair your iron-rich food with a source of vitamin C to boost absorption, or consider a supplement if you don't think you're getting enough."—Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

Why Trust Verywell Health

As a Registered Dietitian, Sydney Greene takes supplement recommendations seriously. Every product has been researched and vetted by her against clinical research, product reviews, and third party testing websites. These are products she would not only feel comfortable recommending to her clients but she would take them herself if needed.

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Article Sources
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  2. Nature's Bounty Vitamin C-500 Review. labdoor.