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Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that the human body needs to function. The human body uses it in a variety of life-sustaining reactions within your cells, including several reactions necessary to synthesize collagen. Without at least a little bit of vitamin C in your system, you would die, but consuming more than the bare minimum necessary to stay alive is great for both your general health and well-being, as well as keeping up the appearance of your skin.
Like we said, vitamin C is used in reactions that create collagen, which is a substance necessary to maintain the elasticity and youthful appearance of skin, helping to avoid wrinkles and other signs of aging. As such, taking a vitamin C supplement can be hugely beneficial for your skin care. To help you navigate the world of vitamin C supplements, Vine Vera has put together a handy guide to the different forms of Vitamin C supplements.
Vitamin C Supplement Basics
Some studies suggest that around 500 mg a day of vitamin C is the optimal intake. It’s impossible to overdose on Vitamin C as log as you drink enough water, because it’s water soluble, and excess will come out when you go to the bathroom. That said, taking more than 500 mg, while not harmful, is probably a waste of money. To get the most out of your supplement, take around 500 mg a day, but split it into a morning and evening dose of 250 mg each.
Synthetic Vs. Natural
Whether vitamin C is “synthetic” or “natural” simply refers to how it was made or obtained; synthetic being synthesized in a lab, and natural being extracted from existing sources where it occurs naturally (such as from certain plants). The vitamin C molecule is 100% chemically identical regardless of source, and studies have not shown there to be any clinical difference between the two regarding efficacy of supplements, so it doesn’t really make any difference whether you opt for synthetic or natural.
Buffered Vs. Non-Buffered
The molecule we know as vitamin C is called “ascorbic acid.” If a vitamin C supplement uses non-buffered vitamin C, what this means is that you’re getting ascorbic acid in its pure form. If you chose a buffered vitamin C supplement, however, you’re not getting straight ascorbic acid. Instead, you’re getting a mineral ascorbate like sodium ascorbate or calcium ascorbate. It’s a different molecule, but your body metabolizes it into vitamin C, so whether you get buffered or non-buffered, your body still gets the dose of vitamin C you were trying to give it. That said, the main difference—practically speaking—between the two is that non-buffered Vitamin C is highly acidic, and it can upset your stomach in some instances. Most people should be fine regardless of which form they take, but if you have a particularly sensitive stomach, or you have digestive problems, you may want to opt for buffered vitamin C supplements.