Supplementing With Vitamin C: Necessary or Not?

2 min read
Learn about vitamin C and why you probably get plenty through your diet.
Learn about vitamin C and why you probably get plenty through your diet.

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Let's be clear about one thing: Vitamin C is definitely a rockstar where your health is concerned—it’s an antioxidant and helps support normal immune function.*

While this might seem like a good case for adding this nutrient into a multivitamin rotation, the truth is it might not be necessary. Many of us consume plenty of vitamin C in an ideal way already: via the food we eat. That's why adding it to a multivitamin might be unnecessary—and in some cases, downright unhelpful.*

But before we dive into all that, let's take a 15-second crash course on vitamin C's role in the body.

Fun fact: Our bodies don’t produce or store vitamin C.

Vitamin C is water-soluble. For contrast, fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K are absorbed in fatty tissue, where they tend to stick around for awhile. But water-soluble vitamins like B and C are more “one and done:” We consume them, absorb what we need, and pee the rest out.

This means that we need to look outward for our vitamin C needs. But the good news is that most of us can meet those needs through diet alone.*

You can find a daily dose of vitamin C in a single orange.

As long as you’re eating a fair amount of fresh fruits and veggies, chances are you’re getting enough vitamin C—and then some. The National Institute of Health recommends that adults aim for 75 mg a day.* For reference, the food equivalent of 75 mg is one medium orange. In fact, if you ate any of the following, you’d be meeting your recommended intake of vitamin C for the day:

  • 1 cup of raw broccoli (78 mg)
  • ½ cup of raw bell pepper (95 mg)
  • 1 grapefruit (78 mg)
  • 1 8-oz glass of freshly squeezed orange juice (84 mg)

But "more is more" when it comes to supplementing, right?

While it’s pretty hard to overdo it on vitamin C through diet alone (FWIW, experts recommend keeping your daily limit under 2000 mg), it can be really tricky to get the same benefits if you’re taking it as a supplement. Vitamin C works best when it’s paired with polyphenols, naturally-occurring phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables. That’s not to mention that in larger amounts, vitamin C can impact the absorption of other nutrients. Instead, we recommend taking that food-first approach so you can get vitamin C along with its vitamin helpers, and using a quality multivitamin to help fill some of the trickier nutrition gaps.*

There are two important exceptions.

Women who are postpartum have higher vitamin C needs, which is we include vitamin C in our Essential Postnatal. Our Essential for Kids gummy multivitamins also include vitamin C.


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