Why Is Time-Released Vitamin C Better?

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that has several physiological effects on the body. Found naturally in citrus fruits, green vegetables and tomatoes, vitamin C helps form cartilage, bone and collagen. Vitamin C also has antioxidant properties, protecting cells from free radicals. Vitamin C is dispersed in the body's fluids when consumed through food or supplement form. Because excess intake of water-soluble vitamins is excreted through urine, some evidence suggests that time-released vitamin C is more advantageous to the body.

If you consume plenty of oranges and tomatoes, you won't need supplements. (Image: Laboko/iStock/Getty Images)

Water-soluble Vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin C and the B-vitamin family, are not stored in the body, as are fat-soluble vitamins. When consumed, these vitamins are spread out in fluids, and excess amounts are passed on through bodily waste. If the body receives enough vitamin C, any excess amount will quickly be excreted. Therefore, it's essential to meet your vitamin C needs daily, while consuming enough fat-soluble vitamins each day is less important.

Time-release Capsules

Time-release vitamin C capsules promote delayed and continual absorption throughout the day. These capsules are surrounded by a semi-permeable sugar coating, blended with fats and waxes. When swallowed, moisture from saliva causes the coating to slowly rupture and the vitamin C is continually delivered into the body's fluids over an extended period of time.


A classic study, published in a 1969 edition of the "International Journal of Vitamin Research," investigated the effects of one particular variety of time-release vitamin C, known as the "Spansule" on 25 subjects over a three-day period, while 25 others were given non-sustained vitamin C capsules. Results showed that those given the time-release capsule demonstrated much better delivery of vitamin C into the body's tissues than those given the non-sustained capsule.

Vitamin C Tips

As a rule, you can best meet your vitamin C needs by consuming a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. If you consume the Institute of Medicine's recommended 75 milligrams of vitamin C for women, or 90 milligrams for adult men, each day, excess vitamin C is unnecessary and potentially harmful. However, if you have trouble meeting your vitamin C needs, time-release capsules will provide the most benefit to your body. Excess vitamin C intake may result in kidney stones, so avoid consuming beyond the recommended daily dosage for your age and sex.

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