Vitamin C supplements are known for aiding the immune system in fighting against colds and other sicknesses, but supplements are often highly acidic, making it hard for sensitive individuals to digest them comfortably. Buffered vitamin C, which is vitamin C buffered with sodium, magnesium, calcium, or potassium ascorbate, is often gentler on the body, and can be taken without stomach upset and provides a longer-lasting effect.
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Gentler on the Stomach
Buffered vitamin C, derived from beets, is known to be gentler on the stomach than ascorbic acid, which is derived from corn. The acidity of ascorbic vitamin C can easily cause stomach upset, even leading to diarrhea. The buffered form provides the same benefits, while causing less intestinal irritation, and less likelihood of loose bowels.
According to the "User's Guide to Nutritional Supplements," those who are severely ill, or suffer from stomach issues, can often manage the buffered version even when sensitive to other forms of vitamin C. If loose bowels occur, it is a sign that the body has been saturated with enough vitamin C.
Better for Larger Doses
Buffered vitamin C may also be better suited for the body when taking high doses of the supplement. In the book, "The User's Guide to Nutritional Supplements," author Jack Challem discusses the work of Linus Pauling, Irwin Stone and other orthomolecular physicians who studied how large doses of vitamin C can help in fighting cancer, colds, and cholesterol. They believe free radicals overwhelm the system and use up vitamin C stores quickly, impairing the immune system. Ingesting large amounts of the vitamin -- over 10 grams a day -- allows the immune system to destroy these free radicals, and restore patients to health.
Although Linus Pauling, Dr. Frederick Klenner and Scottish surgeon Ewan Cameron performed clinical studies showing the effectiveness of megadosing with vitamin C, it is still a highly controversial topic with few published studies to back up claims. Work closely with a trained practitioner before taking large doses of this, or any other, vitamin.
Due to its calcium and magnesium addition, buffered vitamin C is more slowly absorbed into the system. In the book, "What to Eat if You Have Diabetes," author Maureen Keane states that this slower absorption leads to both better "quality control" and gives "longer-lasting benefits." Buffered vitamin C allows the body to benefit from one dose for up to sixteen hours, and is therefore often used in time-released variants.