Best Vitamin C Supplements: 2023 Review

vitamin c

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Active people are often very interested in optimizing their diets to be as healthy as possible. A healthy diet that meets all your vitamin and mineral requirements can help you meet your health, energy, and performance goals. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient in the human diet because it isn't produced naturally in the body. Though vitamin C deficiency isn't common, not everyone consumes a healthy diet with plenty of vitamin C-rich fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Supplements aren't a substitute for a healthy diet, but they can fill in the gaps while you work on diet quality. If you're considering adding a vitamin C supplement to your daily routine, read on to learn more about vitamin C, how to choose a supplement, and which supplements may be a good choice for you.

Why Trust Us?

The health and safety of ACTIVE’s readers is of the utmost importance to us. To ensure your well-being when consuming dietary supplements, the ACTIVE.com editorial team prioritizes products that are independently tested by a third party. We’ve consulted with a team of nutritionists and dieticians to ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. This helps us create the most accurate, authentic review content for our readers.

The Best Vitamin C - Our Top Picks

Best Vitamin C Gummies - Swolverine Vitamin C Gummies

Swolverine Vitamin C Gummies

SPECS

  • Cost per serving: $
  • Form: Gummies
  • Dose: 2 gummies
  • Amount of vitamin C per dose: 250 mg
  • Gluten- or sugar-free: Gluten-free, contains sugar

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These Swolverine Vitamin C gummies contain 250 milligrams of vitamin C per two-gummy serving. The gummies are orange flavored and contain 20 calories and 3 grams of sugar per serving. Though the amount is not listed on the nutrition facts label, these gummies contain pectin, which is a type of soluble fiber.

This supplement is made by a woman-owned brand in the United States. The ingredients used are non-GMO and vegan, and the supplement does not contain gluten or soy. If you set up a subscription, the company offers a discount.

What We Like

  • Gummy form may be easier to take consistently than capsules or pills
  • Consumer reviews report gummies are "delicious" and "super tasty"

What We Don't Like

  • Contain glucose syrup and white table sugar

BUY: Swolverine Vitamin C Gummies

Best Vitamin C Overall - NOW C-1000 Vitamin C

NOW C-1000 Vitamin C

SPECS

  • Cost per serving: $
  • Form: Capsules
  • Dose: 1 capsule
  • Amount of vitamin C per dose: 1000 mg
  • Gluten- or sugar-free: Gluten-free, sugar not listed on the label
  •  

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    This C-1000 Vitamin C supplement contains 1000 milligrams of vitamin C in a single capsule. It is made by the Now Foods brand, which is well-established and has been in business since the 1960s. In addition to vitamin C, this supplement contains 100 milligrams of citrus bioflavonoid complex and 25 milligrams of rutin flower powder, which may have powerful antioxidant benefits.

    This supplement is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Since this vitamin C option is also milk-, egg-, soy-, nut-, and gluten-free, it's suitable for people with many dietary restrictions.

    What We Like

    • Made in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility
    • Inexpensive
    • Contains additional antioxidants from citrus bioflavonoids and rutin powder

    What We Don't Like

    • 1000 mg of Vitamin C is likely a larger dose than necessary but shouldn't cause side effects

    BUY: NOW C-1000 Vitamin C

    Best Vitamin C Serum - Perricone MD Vitamin C

    Perricone MD Vitamin C

    SPECS

    • Cost per serving: N/A
    • Form: Facial serum
    • Dose: 1 dropper
    • Amount of vitamin C per dose: Unknown, 20% concentration
    • Gluten- or sugar-free: Not an oral supplement, does not contain gluten or sugar

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    The Perricone MD Vitamin C is a lightweight facial serum and beauty product. Note that this serum is not a nutrition supplement and is not meant to be ingested. Instead, it's a facial serum with 20% vitamin C. It is intended to be used topically on the face, either alone or as a step before using moisturizer in the morning or before bed.

    When used in topical beauty products, vitamin C may help improve the appearance of skin by lightening dark spots and making skin appear smoother and brighter. Though this facial serum is not a dietary supplement, it is made without nuts, fish, dairy, or any animal products. It is also free from phthalates, sulfates, parabens, talc, and mineral oil. As a bonus, it has a light citrus scent.

    What We Like

    • High-quality vitamin C serum from a trusted brand
    • High, 4.6/5 rating on Amazon
    • Cruelty-free and vegan

    What We Don't Like

    • Expensive
    • Doesn't detail the amount of vitamin C in one dose

    BUY: Perricone MD Vitamin C

    Best Vitamin C Powder - Onnit VIRUTech IMMUNE Instant

    Onnit VIRUTech® IMMUNE Instant

    SPECS

    • Cost per serving: $$
    • Form: Powdered drink mix packets
    • Dose: 1 packet
    • Amount of vitamin C per dose: 500 mg
    • Gluten or sugar-free: Gluten-free, no table sugar, does contain maltodextrin

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    The Onnit VIRUTech Immune Instant is a powdered drink mix that contains 500 milligrams of vitamin C per packet. The suggested use is to mix one packet with 8 to 12 ounces of cold water. The powdered drink packets are available in four flavors: blood orange, elderberry, meyer lemon, and hibiscus raspberry.

    Aside from vitamin C, the drink powder also contains vitamin D, zinc, lysine, quercetin, curcumin, and alpha-lipoic acid. The packets don't contain table sugar but do contain maltodextrin and monk fruit extract for additional sweetness. This product does not contain soy or gluten and it is vegan-friendly.

    What We Like

    • A novel form of vitamin C supplement versus the more typical capsule, tablet, or gummy
    • Comes in four flavors

    What We Don't Like

    • Expensive if purchased at full price—almost $2 per packet

    BUY: Onnit VIRUTech® IMMUNE Instant

    Best Organic Vitamin - Hope Health Immune+ Organic

    Hope Health Immune+ Organic

    SPECS

    • Cost per serving: $$
    • Form: Tablet
    • Dose: 3 tablets
    • Amount of vitamin C per dose: 60 mg
    • Gluten or sugar-free: Made in a facility that processes wheat, no table sugar, does contain maltodextrin.

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    The Hope Health Immune+ Organic supplement contains 60 milligrams of vitamin C per three-tablet serving. This supplement contains other ingredients that may support immunity and provide antioxidant benefits, such as elderberry extract, oregano leaf powder, ginger, moringa leaf powder, and garlic bulb powder.

    This product is organic, non-GMO, vegan, and cruelty-free. In addition, it is third-party tested and made in the United States.

    What We Like

    • Third-party tested
    • Contains organic extracts of foods that have been used since ancient times for immune-enhancing benefits, including ginger, garlic, and elderberry

    What We Don't Like

    • Low vitamin C content compared to other supplements, doesn't quite meet the RDA for adults

    BUY: Hope Health Immune+ Organic

    Best Vitamin C Capsule - MRI Performance Vitamin C

    MRI Performance Vitamin C

    SPECS

    • Cost per serving: $
    • Form: Tablet
    • Dose: 1 tablet
    • Amount of vitamin C per dose: 1000 mg
    • Gluten or sugar-free: Not indicated on label or website

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    The MRI Performance Vitamin C supplement contains 1000 milligrams of vitamin C per one-tablet serving. In addition, one tablet contains 200 milligrams of additional antioxidants from citrus bioflavonoid complexes.

    This supplement is inexpensive and each bottle contains 180 servings. This supplement is made in the United States and is primarily available online.

    What We Like

    • Inexpensive
    • Contains additional antioxidants from added citrus bioflavonoid complex

    What We Don't Like

    • Contains several filler ingredients such as various forms of cellulose, silica, maltodextrin
    • Not much information is available on the company's website regarding third-party testing or potential allergens

    BUY: MRI Performance Vitamin C

    Best Kids Vitamin C - ZAHLER Junior C

    ZAHLER® Junior C

    SPECS

    • Cost per serving: $
    • Form: Chewable tablet
    • Dose: 1 tablet
    • Amount of vitamin C per dose: 250 mg
    • Gluten or sugar-free: Gluten-free, no table sugar, contains sugar alcohols

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    The ZAHLER Junior C is a chewable vitamin C tablet intended for children. The recommended age group is four years of age and older and the label suggests taking one to four tablets daily as instructed by a healthcare provider.

    Per one-tablet serving, this supplement contains 250 milligrams of vitamin C. It comes in a natural orange flavor. This product is kosher, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. It does contain some sugar alcohols in the form of mannitol and sorbitol.

    What We Like

    • 250 mg increments—dosage is more customizable than 1000 mg tablets
    • Made in a GMP-certified facility
    • Ingredients are simple to read on the product label

    What We Don't Like

    • Only one flavor option—may be challenging if child does not like orange

    BUY: ZAHLER® Junior C

    Best Vitamin C Chewable - GNC Chewable C 100mg

    GNC Chewable C 100 MG

    SPECS

    • Cost per serving: $
    • Form: Chewable tablet
    • Dose: 1 tablet
    • Amount of vitamin C per dose: 100 mg
    • Gluten or sugar-free: Contains gluten, 1 g of sugar per serving

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    This version of GNC Vitamin C comes as a chewable supplement in a mixed fruit flavor. The directions indicate that the tablets can be taken one to five times per day but should be followed by a liquid. One tablet provides 100 milligrams of vitamin C, which meets the RDA for most adults.

    In addition to vitamin C, each tablet contains antioxidants from 5 milligrams of citrus bioflavonoids complex. These tablets are made by a well-known supplement brand and the product is widely available online and in retail stores.

    What We Like

    • Inexpensive
    • Can customize your dose in 100 mg increments versus commonly offered 1000 mg options

    What We Don't Like

    • Contains dextrose, sucrose, artificial flavors, soy, and wheat

    BUY: GNC Chewable C 100 MG

    Best Vitamin C Subscription - Naked Nutrition Immune Support

    Naked Nutrition Immune Support

    SPECS

    • Cost per serving: $$
    • Form: Capsules
    • Dose: 3 capsules
    • Amount of vitamin C per dose: 440 mg
    • Gluten or sugar-free: Gluten-free, sugar not listed on the label

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    The Naked Nutrition Immune Support Supplement comes in a three-capsule serving size. The supplement contains 440 milligrams of vitamin C. In addition to vitamin C, this supplement includes vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, brewer's yeast, ivy leaf extract, and organic reishi mushroom extract.

    This supplement is free from gluten and soy and is also vegetarian. The instructions recommend taking these capsules without food and suggest an upkeep regimen of one daily capsule for three months, cycled with a one month break. If you feel that your body is imbalanced, they recommend taking up to three capsules per day to get you back on track.

    Conveniently, the Naked Nutrition Immune Support supplement can be ordered one time or set up as a recurring subscription with one-, two-, and three-month delivery options. Customers save 20% off their first subscription order and 10% off the following shipments.

    What We Like

    • Consumers who enjoy supplements with extracts from natural herbs and food may prefer the ingredients in this supplement, such as organic reishi mushroom and ivy leaf extracts
    • Convenient subscription option with 10-20% cost savings

    What We Don't Like

    • Contains much more than the recommended Daily Values for Vitamins A, C, and D, and zinc and selenium

    BUY: Naked Nutrition Immune Support

    Best Budget Vitamin C - GNC Vitamin C

    GNC Vitamin C

    SPECS

    • Cost per serving: $
    • Form: Timed-release caplet
    • Dose: 1 caplet
    • Amount of vitamin C per dose: 1000 mg
    • Gluten or sugar-free: Gluten- and sugar-free

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    The GNC Vitamin C supplement is sold at a budget-friendly price point of about $0.11 per serving. It is made by a well-known supplement brand that is widely available online and in retail stores.

    Despite being available at a reasonable price point, the GNC Vitamin C contains 1000 milligrams of vitamin C per serving. This supplement also contains rose hips and 25 milligrams of citrus bioflavonoids complex, which may have additional antioxidant benefits.

    The capsule is vegetarian and the supplement has no sugar, artificial flavors, artificial colors, or preservatives. This supplement is also free of wheat, soy, corn, and dairy.

    What We Like

    • Budget-friendly
    • From a well-known supplement brand

    What We Don't Like

    • Contains several filler ingredients such as silicon dioxide, talc, multiple types of cellulose
    • Dose may be higher than necessary but shouldn't cause side effects

    BUY: GNC Vitamin C

    Vitamin C Background

    What is Vitamin C?

    Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that it dissolves easily in liquid. Another name for vitamin C is ascorbic acid. It's an essential nutrient in the body because the body isn’t able to produce its own. Vitamin C has to be derived from your diet or supplemented.

    What Does Vitamin C Do?

    Vitamin C has many functions. In the body, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, which means it helps protect the cells from damage from natural body processes and from the environment. Vitamin C is also essential to the formation of collagen, which helps your body heal wounds and absorb iron.

    Other benefits of vitamin C include:

    • May lower the risk of cancer when the source is fruits and vegetables, but it's unclear if this is directly related to vitamin C itself
    • May help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease
    • May slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts
    • May slightly decrease the duration of a cold or diminish your symptoms, although it will not prevent you from becoming sick

    Taking in too much vitamin C can cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, stomach pain, or diarrhea. Since the body is able to get rid of vitamin C in the urine, most people shouldn't have long-term side effects from taking too much vitamin C. If you take other prescription medications or chemotherapy, you should check with a healthcare provider to make sure there are no interactions with high doses of vitamin C.

    Food Sources of Vitamin C

    Vitamin C is widely available in food. The best natural sources of vitamin C include fruits and vegetables. A single medium orange contains about 70 milligrams of vitamin C per serving, which provides most of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for most age groups.

    According to the National Institutes of Health, the highest sources of vitamin C in the American diet include:

    • Citrus fruits, such as oranges, orange juice, and grapefruit
    • Potatoes
    • Tomatoes
    • Tomato juice

    Other good food sources of vitamin C include red and green peppers, broccoli, and strawberries. Some foods, like breakfast cereals, are often fortified with vitamin C.

    Vitamin C deficiency is quite rare in modern, developed nations. It would take many weeks of very limited vitamin C intake to develop a vitamin C deficiency. However, vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy, which can cause bleeding gums, joint pain, poor wound healing, general fatigue, and anemia.

    How Much Vitamin C Do I Need?

    Most adults meet the RDA for vitamin C fairly easily. You may need to supplement if you can't eat a varied diet or are unable to consume a few fruit and vegetable servings per day. In particular, people who smoke or have medical issues such as some cancers or severe intestinal malabsorption may need supplemental vitamin C.

    The RDA for vitamin C is 90 milligrams per day for adult men and 75 milligrams per day for adult women. Note that people who smoke should add 35 milligrams per day to the above amounts. The daily upper limit for vitamin C for adults is about 2000 milligrams per day.

    What To Look For in Vitamin C Supplements

    Though it's usually best to meet most of your daily vitamin and mineral needs through your daily diet, sometimes supplements are necessary or desired to achieve better health. If you're buying a vitamin C supplement, consider these factors:

    • Dose per serving of the supplement: Excessive amounts of vitamin C above the RDA are not necessary for most people.
    • Added ingredients: Consider whether there are extra filler ingredients like sugar or if there are other vitamins, minerals, or herb ingredients included.
    • The quality of the supplements: Companies that use third-party testing or use facilities that use Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) usually produce higher-quality products.

    If you're unsure if you should be taking a dietary supplement, check with your healthcare provider. It's always a best practice to let your healthcare providers know which supplements you are considering taking and to ask for their dosage or brand recommendations.

    Forms of Vitamin C

    Vitamin C supplements come in a variety of forms now, including:

    • Capsules
    • Chewable tablets
    • Powders
    • Drink mixes
    • Gummies

    FAQs About Vitamin C


    When is the best time to take Vitamin C?

    It is best to take supplements as part of a regular routine so you remember to take them daily. Though there isn't an optimal time of day to take vitamin C, it may help to take it every day at the same time, such as with breakfast or dinner, so you don't forget to take your dose. In addition, taking vitamin C with food may decrease the risk of gastrointestinal side effects, especially if taking a larger dose.

    Can I take Vitamin C at night?

    Yes, you can take your vitamin C supplement at night. However, if you're taking a large dose, such as 1000 mg, it would be best to consume the supplement with food. Large doses of vitamin C can have the side effects of nausea and diarrhea, which would be especially unpleasant at bedtime.

    Does vitamin C help with colds?

    Supplementing with vitamin C on a regular basis will not prevent you from getting a cold virus. However, supplementing with vitamin C may shorten the duration of your cold. Supplementing with vitamin C may also decrease the severity of your cold.

    What kind of vitamin C is best for your face?

    Topical vitamin C that you apply directly to clean skin is best for the face. Look for a vitamin C serum or cream that has up to 20% vitamin C for best results. Regular use of vitamin C serums or creams on the face can help reduce the signs of aging, lighten dark spots, and may even promote skin healing.

    These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

About the Author

Alexandra Ginos, MBA, RD, CSP

Alexandra Ginos is a registered dietitian and board-certified Pediatric Nutrition Specialist. She believes that nutrition is a vital component of physical performance and that a balanced and healthy diet is an essential part of taking care of the body and mind.

See more from Alexandra

Alexandra Ginos is a registered dietitian and board-certified Pediatric Nutrition Specialist. She believes that nutrition is a vital component of physical performance and that a balanced and healthy diet is an essential part of taking care of the body and mind.

See more from Alexandra

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