Differences Between Ester-C & Vitamin C

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Differences Between Ester C & Vitamin C (Image: Memorystockphoto/iStock/GettyImages)

Ester-C is a pH neutral product which has a different composition from regular vitamin C, which is ascorbic acid. The main component of this product is calcium ascorbate. Other ingredients of Ester-C are compounds known as vitamin C metabolites, which are dehydroascorbic acid and calcium threonate. The manufacturer claims that it possesses superior bioavailability over vitamin C, but available research does not support this, the Linus Pauling Institute reports. Furthermore, The Linus Pauling Institute advises "Ester-C® should not be confused with ascorbyl palmitate, which is also marketed as 'vitamin C ester.'"

Possible Advantage of Ester-C

One experiment published in the Jan.-Feb. 2006 issue of "Advances in Therapy," found that participants sensitive to acidic foods tolerated Ester-C better than regular vitamin C. These individuals experienced fewer stomach side effects from too much acid. Although research does not back up the claim of superior bioavailability, if you have a sensitive stomach, you may want to choose Ester-C over regular vitamin C for this reason.

Vitamin C Dosage Instructions

The recommended daily allowance for adult males is 90 mg per day, while the RDA for adult women is 75 mg per day. You should drink 8 oz. of water when you take a vitamin C tablet. Do not exceed the RDA unless your doctor instructs you to do so. Vitamin C supplements should be stored away from heat and moisture. You should avoid smoking, as it can reduce the effectiveness of this vitamin.

Role of Vitamin C

The body needs vitamin C to manufacture collagen, which is a vital constituent of blood vessels, bones and ligaments. It also is involved in the manufacture of norepinehprine, a chemical which is essential in healthy brain function. Studies suggest that vitamin C is necessary for cholesterol metabolism, which may indicate it would be beneficial for cholesterol levels and gallstones. Additionally, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps protect the body from harmful chemicals. It is used to treat vitamin C deficiency, which is scurvy, and may be helpful in various other conditions as well.

Side Effects

Go to the emergency room if you experience symptoms of an allergy such as swelling, hives or trouble breathing. Immediately stop taking vitamin C and contact your physician if you have serious symptoms such as painful urination, blood in the urine, profuse diarrhea or feeling faint. Other less severe side effects may occur such as heartburn, nausea or vomiting. Stomach aches, headaches and dizziness have also been noted. Check with your doctor before taking this vitamin and report any adverse reactions to him.

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