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Vitamin C — also known as ascorbic acid — is an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in some of your body’s most vital functions.
Whether your goal is to give your immune system a boost or support skin health, you’re going to want to get plenty of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a particularly unique nutrient because it also functions as an antioxidant that protects your cells against potential damage (1).
Vitamin C deficiency is rare in developed countries, but inadequate intake can lead to symptoms like dry skin, achy joints, bleeding gums, and poor wound healing (1).
Acute vitamin C deficiency is known as scurvy and potentially fatal if left untreated (1).
If you smoke, have kidney disease, take certain medications, or consume a very limited diet, you may be at an increased risk of vitamin C deficiency (
Vitamin C can be found in a variety of whole, plant-based foods like citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, and broccoli (1).
Obtaining nutrients from whole foods is always the best approach, but if you have difficulty meeting your nutrition needs for any reason, a supplement may be necessary.
The supplements on this list were chosen based on quality, manufacturing standards, usability, and price.
Here are the 10 best vitamin C supplements of 2020.
A note on price
General price ranges with dollar signs ($ to $$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher price range.
Generally, prices range from $0.02–$1.48 per serving, or $14–$35.60 per container, though this may vary depending on where you shop.
Gummies and liquid formulations generally have a slightly higher price per serving, compared with tablets or powders.
Note that serving sizes vary by product.
- $ = under $0.20 per serving
- $$ = $0.20–$0.40 per serving
- $$$ = over $0.40 per serving
1–3. Best capsules
Capsules are the most popular form of vitamin C supplements. These are among the best on the market.
1. Thorne’s Vitamin C with Flavonoids
Thorne is well known for producing some of the highest quality supplements on the market, and this product is no exception.
Thorne’s manufacturing facilities are certified by several globally recognized third-party regulatory agencies, including NSF International and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
All of Thorne’s supplements are tested for potency, purity, and quality multiple times throughout the manufacturing process, so you always know you’re getting a top-tier product.
2. Integrative Therapeutics’ Buffered Vitamin C
Integrative Therapeutics is a supplement company that has held a strong reputation for quality for over 3 decades.
Each capsule provides a dose of 1,000 mg of vitamin C with added minerals that may improve digestive tolerance. This feature makes it a great option for anyone with a sensitive stomach or history of difficulty tolerating nutritional supplements (
Integrative Therapeutics holds itself to some of the highest ingredient sourcing and manufacturing standards in the industry, so you never have to wonder whether you’re getting a good product.
Their manufacturing facilities are certified by NSF International, a third-party regulatory agency.
3. Kirkland Signature’s Vitamin C
Kirkland Signature provides an affordable alternative to expensive, high-end supplement brands without sacrificing quality.
Each of their vitamin C capsules contains a 1,000 mg dose of vitamin C and citrus-derived flavonoids for an added antioxidant boost.
Kirkland Signature’s vitamin C capsules are verified for purity and quality by United States Pharmacopeia (USP), so you can rest assured you’re getting exactly what the label claims.
4. Best chewable: NOW Foods’ Chewable C 500
If you’re not a fan of swallowing pills, NOW Foods’ chewable vitamin C tablets may be the product for you.
NOW Foods is a reputable brand that produces a variety of affordable, high quality nutritional supplements.
Each orange-flavored tablet provides a 500-mg dose of vitamin C and contains just 1 gram of added sugar. They’re also 100% vegan and free of major allergens.
NOW Foods prides themselves on their meticulous testing protocols. Each supplement is tested in-house for purity and potency, and all of their manufacturing facilities are certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
5–6. Best Gummies
Gummy vitamins are one of the hottest trends in nutrition supplements — and understandably so. Whether you’re a kid — or a kid at heart — taking your vitamin C has never been easier or more delicious.
However, although gummy vitamins are convenient and taste great, they should not be confused with candy.
It’s important that you don’t exceed the recommended dose, as too much vitamin C could lead to unintended side effects. Like other supplements, be sure to store them away from little ones to avoid a potential overdose.
5. Nordic Naturals’ vitamin C gummies
Nordic Naturals’ vitamin C gummies are made from high quality, natural ingredients and suitable for adults and children over the age of 4.
Each 2-gummy serving contains 250 mg of vitamin C and 4 grams of added sugar.
The orange-flavored gummies are sweetened with cane sugar and colored with natural fruit and vegetable juices. They don’t contain any artificial sweeteners or flavors and are gluten- and dairy-free.
Nordic Naturals’ vitamin C gummies are third-party tested for purity and potency, so you know you’re getting what you have paid for.
6. Carlson Labs’ Kid’s Vitamin C Gummies
Carlson Labs’ vitamin C gummies for kids are a great option if you’re looking for a quality supplement specifically designed with your children in mind.
Each orange-flavored gummy provides 125 mg of vitamin C and contains only 2 grams of added sugar. They don’t harbor any artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives and are 100% gluten- and soy-free.
When it comes to quality, Carlson Labs has been an industry leader since 1965. All of their products are manufactured in an FDA-certified facility and come with a purity and potency guarantee.
7–8. Best liquid
Liquid supplements are a convenient option for anyone looking for a supplement that can be easily mixed into beverages and absorbed quickly.
7. Pure Encapsulations’ Liposomal Vitamin C Liquid
Pure Encapsulations’ liquid vitamin C is made with a unique, liposomal form of vitamin C that’s encapsulated in sunflower oil.
Research suggests that liposomal forms of vitamin C may boost your body’s absorption, so you get more out of each dose (
Each teaspoon (5 mL) provides 1,000 mg of vitamin C and doesn’t contain any added sugars or artificial sweeteners.
All of Pure Encapsulations’ products are certified gluten-free and third-party tested for quality, purity, and potency.
8. Garden of Life’s Organic Vitamin C Spray
Garden of Life’s vitamin C spray is made from a variety of 100% organic, whole foods like strawberries, blueberries, and tart cherries.
You’ll receive a 60-mg dose of vitamin C in every 5 sprays, and it doesn’t contain any added sugar or artificial sweeteners. It comes in two flavors and is suitable for adults and children over 4 years of age.
The dose of vitamin C in this product is lower than many traditional supplements, making it a great option for anyone who eats a variety of vitamin-C-containing foods but still needs some extra help filling in potential nutrient gaps.
All of Garden of Life’s products are third-party tested for quality and purity, and its manufacturing facilities are FDA certified.
9–10. Best powdered
Powdered supplements are a great, flexible option. Whether you plan on drinking them mixed into juices and smoothies or want to fill your own capsules with customized doses, powdered vitamin C is the way to go.
9. Swanson’s Vitamin C Powder
Swanson’s vitamin C powder contains nothing but 100% pure, powdered vitamin C.
It dissolves easily into almost any liquid, and you don’t have to worry about any added fillers, sweeteners, or preservatives.
Each scoop provides 1,000 mg of vitamin C, but you can tailor the serving size to fit your needs.
When it comes to purity and quality, Swanson holds themselves to exceptionally high standards. All of their supplements undergo in-house and third-party testing, so you can rest assured you’re getting a great product every time.
10. Bulk Supplements’ Vitamin C Powder
Bulk Supplements’ vitamin C powder is pure vitamin C without any added ingredients, such as preservatives, sugars, or fillers.
Each scoop provides a 750-mg dose, but like other powdered supplements, it’s easy to adjust the serving to meet your needs.
All of Bulk Supplements’ products are produced in an FDA-approved facility and third-party tested for purity and potency.
How to choose
Selecting the right vitamin C supplement depends on a variety of factors, including the form, quality, dose, and price.
You can start by considering how you’ll be using the supplement. For instance, if you prefer to take a pill, you’ll want to check out encapsulated vitamin C supplements.
If you don’t like swallowing pills or want to mix it into beverages, your best bet is to consider liquid or powdered supplements.
Next, you want to check the supplement’s quality. Evaluate whether a brand is reputable by exploring their ingredient sourcing and manufacturing standards. A good product will also be tested by third-party organizations, such as USP, Consumer Labs, or NSF International.
Take a look at added ingredients, too. If you’re trying to limit your intake of added sugars, you want to opt for a supplement that doesn’t contain sugar.
Another factor to consider is the dosage. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for adults is 90 mg for men, 75 mg for women, and up to 120 mg for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. However, certain medical conditions may require that you take much higher doses (1).
Children have lower vitamin C requirements, which range from 25–75mg per day, depending on their age. However, it’s not generally advised to give children a vitamin C supplement unless their pediatrician has recommended it.
Note that the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for vitamin C for men, as well as women ages 19 and above, is 2,000 mg. Meanwhile, the UL for children ranges from 400–1,800 mg, depending on age. Daily intakes at or below these amounts are unlikely to result in any adverse health effects (1).
Vitamin C supplements come in a wide range of dosage options. If you’re looking for a high dose, it may be more economical and convenient to find a concentrated supplement. This way you won’t be stuck consuming multiple servings of a lower dose option.
Generally, high doses of vitamin C are unnecessary and could contribute to harmful side effects. Only consume high doses if your healthcare provider recommends doing so.
Finally, you want to consider your budget. Some professional-grade brands can be expensive, but keep in mind that a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean a better product. There are plenty of high quality options available at various price points.
Useful supplement shopping guides
Check out these two articles to help make supplement shopping a breeze:
Possible side effects
Although vitamin C is a natural compound, getting too much of it can cause uncomfortable and potentially serious side effects.
Some of the most common reported side effects include headaches, flushed skin, nausea, and vomiting (
Consuming high doses of vitamin C for prolonged periods may also increase your risk of kidney stones (
Always consult your healthcare provider prior to adding any nutritional supplement to your routine.
The bottom line
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays a diverse role in keeping your body healthy.
Although vitamin C deficiency is rare in developed countries, it can cause serious health problems that, if left untreated, could be fatal.
If you have trouble getting enough vitamin C from your diet, supplements are a great option. They come in a variety of physical forms, dosages, and price points.
Always consult your healthcare provider prior to adding any new supplements to your health and wellness regimen.