Don’t mistake Ascorbic acid for Vitamin C!

If you read the label on a vitamin C supplement, chances are it’ll have ‘Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)’ listed as an ingredient. 

Most people think that ascorbic acid and vitamin C are the same thing, when in fact they’re different chemical compounds that behave differently when ingested into our bodies. 

Why ascorbic acid is not the same as vitamin C

Although many people use these terms interchangeably, vitamin C is not ascorbic acid. Let’s go over their key differences: 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally found in foods like citrus fruits, red pepper, strawberries, guava and tomato juice. Vitamin C supplements are one of the most popular and are widely available on the market. 

Unlike most animals, human bodies are unable to produce vitamin C. This means that we’re only able to obtain vitamin C through the food we eat. As such, it’s important to consume foods that contain vitamin C on a daily basis in order to ensure that the body has enough vitamin C to function normally. Vitamin C also aids the body’s production of collagen, which is a crucial protein that’s used to repair skin, bones, cartilage, tendon and veins.

People who don’t get enough vitamin C in their diet often turn to synthetic vitamin C supplements, which brings us to ascorbic acid. 

Ascorbic Acid


Ascorbic acid is the synthetic, concentrated form of Vitamin C, which is acquired after a series of chemical isolation and purification steps. 

The word “synthetic supplement” means two things. Firstly, the contained nutrients are manmade and don’t occur naturally. Secondly, the nutrients are fractionated (i.e. broken up and separated into smaller components through distillation or crystallization). 

Vitamins are biological complexes, not individual molecular compounds. According to nutritionist Dr. Royal Lee, a vitamin is “a working process consisting of the nutrient, enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, and trace minerals activators”. 

Vitamin activity only takes place when all the co-factors or components of the entire vitamin complex are present. Vitamins that are separated from their complexes are unable to perform their vital roles in our bodies. 

Ascorbic acid does not contain all of the co-factors (namely rutin, bioflavonoids and other vitamins/minerals) that are present in vitamin C – as such ascorbic acid does not have any vitamin activity. 

Ascorbic acid is more accurately a purified synthetic (chemical) that behaves more like a drug in your body. Since there’s no vitamin activity, referring to ascorbic acid as a vitamin C supplement is misleading and inaccurate.

The sad truth is that the people who take these supplements think that they’re benefiting their health, when in fact they could be causing more harm than good to their bodies. 

Signs that your body lacks vitamin C


People who have vitamin C deficiency often exhibit the following symptoms: 

  1. Rough, Bumpy Skin
  2. Slow Wound Healing
  3. Bleeding Gums, tooth loss
  4. Bright Red Hair Follicles
  5. Spoon-Shaped Fingernails With Red Spots or Lines
  6. Dry, Damaged Skin
  7. Easy Bruising
  8. Painful, Swollen Joints
  9. Weak Bones
  10. Poor Immunity
  11. Unexplained Weight Gain

If any of these apply to you, don’t overlook them and seek professional help. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy disease, where the body is unable to form collagen which results in weakness, anaemia, gum disease and skin problems. 

Thankfully, if you catch these symptoms early and start increasing your vitamin C intake, these symptoms can usually be resolved without medical treatment.

That being said, many people tend to overdose on vitamin C supplements. While the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 90 mg for males and 75 mg for females, most supplements contain 1000mg of ascorbic acid! The excess usually gets passed out of the body when you visit the restroom, but can sometimes cause hard when it’s deposited in the wrong parts of the body.

Health benefits of vitamin C

1. Lowers your chances of developing a chronic illness

Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant capabilities. Antioxidants are molecules that protect cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. When free radicals build up in the body, they can cause oxidative stress, which has been related to a variety of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism also found that vitamin C supplements helped to reduce oxidative stress in test subjects who underwent submaximal exercise. 

2. Helps to prevent iron deficiency

Vitamin C also has important interactions with other vitamins and minerals in the body, such as iron. Iron is a vital nutrient that serves several functions in the body, such as the production of red blood cells and supporting the delivery of oxygen throughout the body

According to Harvard Health Publishing, iron that’s found in plants (nonheme iron) can be difficult for the body to absorb, but consuming both vitamin C nonheme iron at the same time leads to better absorption of the mineral.

3. Aids in the management of high blood pressure

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and high blood pressure puts you at greater risk of developing heart disease. Vitamin C may aid individuals by reducing their blood pressure and protecting the blood vessel linings through its antioxidant properties.

According to a study conducted on people with high blood pressure by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, USA, Vitamin C supplements were found to lower systolic blood pressure by an average of 4.9 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 1.7 mmHg.

4. Strengthens your immunity system

Vitamin C supplements are widely marketed to support your immune system. 

In a review published in November 2017 in Nutrients, vitamin C was discovered to help the immune system by countering oxidative stress, assisting in microbial killing and reducing the risk of tissue damage. 

Moreover, another review found that the deficiency in vitamin C can also be associated with increased risk and severity of infections.

5. May help prevent gout episodes by lowering uric acid levels in the blood

Gout is a painful form of arthritis that includes inflammation of the joints, particularly those of the big toes, which occurs when there’s a buildup of uric acid in the blood. Our bodies produce uric acid as a waste product and it’s typically passed out of the body in the urine. Gout patients endure swelling and abrupt, intense pain episodes. 

Vitamin C has been proven in studies to help lower uric acid levels in the blood and, as a result, guard against gout episodes.

One study involving over 1,300 men from the Department of Nutrition, Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston revealed that individuals who have higher vitamin C intake had much lower uric acid levels in their blood than those whose intake is the least.

Another research by the Department of Medicine, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada tracked 46,994 healthy males for 20 years and discovered that taking vitamin C supplements had a 44% lower gout risk.

Food-State® Vitamin C supplements

Sadly, synthetic supplements like ascorbic acid make up 95% of supplements in the market today. These synthetic supplements lack a targeted delivery system, which means that nutrients aren’t properly absorbed by your body – resulting in decreased absorption. These synthetic nutrients can also potentially threaten your health, as our bodies aren’t programmed to recognise these substances and vitamins and minerals.

Nu-Format® supplements offer a safer approach to supplementing. Our supplements contain food-state® nutrients that are bound in a natural food matrix, which our bodies naturally recognise and are can properly absorb in the way nature intended. It’s just as good as getting nutrients from a well-balanced, natural diet!

When you buy from Nu-Format®, you’re not only getting a supplement; you’re also getting years of dedicated health research from a global team of scientists.


Shop for Nu-Format® supplements today!