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So you want to buy Vitamin C? Do you want L-ascorbic acid, Ester-C® or Vitamin C Ester? Prof Linus Pauling, Nobel Laurette, in his 1986 treatise How to Live Longer and Feel Better suggested that the true and best form of Vitamin C is L-Ascorbic Acid (C6H8O6). However, this form of Vitamin C increases the acid load on the stomach and if you have low tolerence for acidity, the acid may start to damage the intestine which in turn would respond with diarrhoa to flush out the acid. Well, if you have a low tolerance for acidity and you still wish to take L-Ascorbic Acid, you may neutralize it before taking it. [1] Personally, I would find it too troublesome and fortunately I do not have a low bowel tolerance. L-Ascorbic is water soluble and reports suggested that any excess is passed out with the urine. Seems like you cannot get an overdose of Vitamin C if you take L-Ascorbic Acid. On the other hand, the retention rate is not very high, so we have to take this L-Ascorbic regularly.

On 18 April 1989, Ester-C® was patented under US patent No. 4,822,816 - Compositions and methods for administering vitamin C, Ester-C® is made by a patented process. It is reported to be mainly Calcium Ascorbate with bioflavonoids added. It is non-acidic and it contains naturally-occurring Vitamin C metabolites . The metabolites activate the Vitamin C molecules and make it easier for the body to transport them from cell to cell. The main advantage of Ester-C® is its quick absorption and longer retention in the immune system. [2] As usual, there are both sides of the story and for some reasons, the Vitamin Foundation does not recommend Ester-C®. [3]

Another version of Vitamin C in the form of ascorbate is USANA's proprietary vitamin C blend, Poly-C®, which is a mixture of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc ascorbates.

Ester-C® should not be confused with "vitamin C ester" which is ascorbyl palmitate used mainly in skin creams but is also available as an oral supplement. [4]   Still not decided which vitamin C to buy? Read the report on the The Bioavailability of Different Forms of Vitamin C.

Wait! It is not over yet. If you are buying L-ascorbic Vitamin C, do you want it in pill form, tablet (pastilles) form, liquid form or powder form? Why do I ask this question? Well, L-Ascorbic Acid is produced with varying degrees of purity levels. Manufacturers add a variety of substances to bind the pills together. A pill may comprise of more than 25% pill fillers holding it together. These pill filler substances are not normally ingested into the human body as food and pill filler purities are also not controlled by the F.D.A.. In addition, pill fillers added to Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) can cause the Ascorbic Acid to break down and "go off". It is reasonable to conclude that we should take as pure as possible L-Ascorbic Acid and therefore go for liquid or powder form.  Why? No fillers! Beside, you can add the Ascobic Acid syrup or powder to your fruit juice or drinks.  Even so, we still cannot be sure of the purity of the liquid or powder form of Ascorbic Acid unless the manufacturers guarantee it but this is rarely seen. 

Before you rush off to buy your Vitamin C, do you prefer chewable or a non-chewable Vitamin C? What bioflavonoids would you like included?  Would you like it to be fortified with a battery of minerals?  Questions, questions, questions....

Oh never mind, I'll take an orange. 

On second thought, perhaps I should take amla instead of orange.  Amla, also known as 'Indian Gooseberry' is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine which is a system of traditional medicine native to India, as a rejuvenating herb especially for blood, liver, heart and skin.  Amla is especially rich in Vitamin C and a powerful antioxidant. 
100 gm of Amla is said to contain about 700 mg of Vitamin C which is 30 times more than that found in oranges. [5]  Amla is available in capsule form. 

Enjoy your second half life.  This is your last chance!

1. Possible method to overcome bowel tolerance limit, Discussion Forum, The Vitamin Foundation
2. Benefits, Ester-C The Better Vitamin, www.ester-c.com
3. Why the Foundation Does Not Recommend Ester-C, http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/esterc.htm
4. Vitamin C, Micronutrient Center, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregan State University.
5. Benefits of Amla Powder, http://www.articlealley.com/article_7388_23.html

Disclaimer: This posting is not meant to provide health advice and is for general information only. Always seek qualified health professional's assistance before embarking on any health program.