Best Vitamin C Supplement (2024)
Lifestyle

The 8 Best Vitamin C Supplements to Boost Immunity, According to a Registered Dietician

Chances are you already have this immunity booster in your cabinet.

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If you’ve come down with a nasty cold, chances are you’ve sniffed and wheezed your way to your local pharmacy to pick up some immunity-boosting vitamin C. But with so many pills, powders, gummies, and tablets to choose from, how do you know which one is the best vitamin C supplement? 

We tapped registered dietician Eva De Angelis, RDN, for what you should look for in a vitamin C supplement, whether you truly need one, and which brands she snags  when she gets the sniffles.

Benefits of Vitamin C Supplements

Vitamin C enters the spotlight every winter for its ability to bolster the immune system—and for good reason (1).

“Regularly taking vitamin C supplements improves our recovery when we have a cold, as it can reduce the duration and severity,” De Angelis says. But that’s just one impressive benefit this supplement boasts. “It can even help prevent age-related macular degeneration, inflammation, and free radical damage due to its powerful antioxidant properties.”

Emerging research even suggests that vitamin C could have anti-aging properties. A 2023 study found that spinal cord motor neurons—cells that control muscle function—are particularly vulnerable to the aging process due to “unique cell clusters,” which secrete a “toxic” protein (2). Researchers propose that daily vitamin C supplements may preserve the health of motor neurons, although further studies are needed to confirm this. 


About the Expert:

Eva De Angelis, RDN, is a licensed dietician nutritionist and writer. She specializes in food and nutrition education, promoting healthy lifestyles to manage chronic disease.


Do You Really Need a Vitamin C Supplement?


Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means you urinate out any excess your body isn’t using. That means you’re back to the drawing board to replenish your vitamin C levels everyday—but not everyone needs to rely on a supplement.

“If we have a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, there is no need to take any vitamin C supplements,” De Angelis says.

However, vitamin C’s water-solubility makes it relatively low risk, says De Angelis. “It has low toxicity and supplementation does not have many cons.” The verdict? If you want to supplement to make sure you’ve got enough—go ahead.

EXPERT RECS

How to Choose the Best Vitamin C Supplement

“I often recommend choosing standalone vitamin C supplements instead of multivitamins, because it’s harder to keep track of our intake,” De Angelis says. 

These standalone supplements are usually made of ascorbic acid, and less often, mineral ascorbates, meaning salts of ascorbic acid with sodium or calcium—per De Angelis—all of which boost the absorption of vitamin C.

“Capsules, gummies, liquids, and powders are all good options, depending on how and when you would like to take your vitamin C,” says De Angelis. Plus, research suggests that all the different formats of vitamin C have similar absorption rates (3). 

There’s no straight answer on how much vitamin C you should take each day, according to De Angelis. “But a rule of thumb is 250 to 500 mg twice per day for adults,” so pick up a supplement that has at least 250 mgs per serving.

Dietician Picks: 8 Best Vitamin C Supplements

At the drugstore right now? We’ll cut to the chase. These are the best vitamin C supplements you can buy, per De Angelis.

Care/of Vitamin C

Best third-party tested

Angelis can’t over-emphasize the importance of getting a good quality vitamin—and that means getting yours from a brand that knows exactly what’s going into their supplements. “Care/of uses third-party testing, meaning that independent laboratories control the dosing and ingredient quality to ensure the best result,” De Angelis says.Angelis also likes that this high-quality supplement is still affordable at 30-day supply for $7.

Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C

Most allergy friendly 

If you deal with food sensitivities—especially soy and gluten—shopping for supplements can be tricky.“While they have gelatin for stability of the capsule, these are adequate for a vast majority of other diets or allergen scenarios, as it’s free of soy, milk, lactose, and gluten,” De Angelis says. This vitamin C capsule has a middle-of-the-line dose of 500 mg and will only set you back $6 for 100 capsules. It’s also lab-tested to ensure quality.

Amazon Elements Vitamin C

Best value

Scheduling your next Amazon grocery delivery? Snag this vitamin C supplement. “One of the best features is that it’s quite inexpensive,” De Angelis says. “And it has a large vitamin C dose of 1,000 mg per capsule, while many others only have 500 mg.” De Angelis also loves that Amazon Elements is vegan, gluten-free, and free of any kind of additives, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

NOW Foods Vitamin C-1000 with Rose Hips

Best high-dose

“This is a great option with a high dosage of 1,000 mg of vitamin C,” Angelis says. “And it comes with the additional rose hips.”Rose hips—an accessory fruit on some species of rose bushes—have been used in traditional medicine to treat illnesses for centuries. The reason for their efficacy is that they pack a hefty punch of vitamin C (4), so it’s no wonder 21st-century supplement companies are still using it.Angelis appreciates that this supplement is non-GMO, vegan- and vegetarian-friendly, soy-free, and kosher.

Thorne Vitamin C with Flavonoids

Best antioxidant

“Thorne makes a high-quality supplement with 500 mg of vitamin C, plus 75 mg of flavonoids per capsule,” De Angelis says. Flavonoids are a plant-derived antioxidant, which have been linked to decreased inflammation (5). While vitamin C already has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, flavonoids can enhance these benefits, per De Angelis. Flavonoids may also work as an anti-viral—so snag this one if you have the flu (5).

Nordic Naturals Vitamin C Gummies

Best tasting

Getting to take a delicious, “healthy” candy is half the fun of taking gummy vitamins. While powders and capsules frequently come in higher dosages, De Angelis won’t shame you for opting for a gummy. “These are a bit more expensive, and with a lower dosage of 250 mg of vitamin C per 2 gummies,” Angelis notes. Especially if taste is important to you. “Still, it’s a great quality supplement.”A dose of two Nordic Naturals gummies has four grams of added sugar, plus some natural flavorings and coloring agents. And it’s gluten and dairy-free.

NOW Foods Chewable C 500

Best chewable tablet

If you’re stuck between a tasty gummy and a no-frills capsule, this chewable makes taking your vitamin C a little more enjoyable with only one gram of added sugar per serving. “It has 500 mg of vitamin C per tablet—and it’s quite affordable,” Angelis says. “Plus, it is vegan.”

365 Vitamin C Powder

Best powder formula

Angelis recommends this flavorless vitamin C powder because it’s “easy to use and high quality.” One reviewer even called it the “best vitamin C supplement [they’ve] ever used.”“You can add the powder to your meals or beverages as you would do with a protein powder but for a vitamin C boost,” she says. (We highly discourage dry-scooping, y’all.)One serving packs a massive 1,250 mg dose of vitamin C and doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

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