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Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, which means your body is unable to produce it. However, it plays many roles and is widely recognized for having impressive health benefits.
You can get vitamin C from fruits and vegetables, so if you’re vegan, it is very unlikely for you to get a vitamin C deficiency, which is also rare among the general U.S population.
With that being said, if you’re looking to increase your vitamin C intake, having so many different options is overwhelming, and so we’ve narrowed it down to five vegan-friendly supplements.
The 5 Best Vegan Vitamin C Supplements
Future Kind Vitamin C Gummies
The main reason we’ve decided to recommend this vitamin C supplement is that it comes from a brand that has gained quite the reputation among the vegan community for specifically creating vegan supplements.
Their vegan vitamin C supplement comes with 240 milligrams of vitamin C (equivalent to 266% of the daily value) and 88 micrograms of vitamin A delivered in the form of gummies, a rather tasty and convenient way to get your nutrients.
The vitamin C gummies contain vitamin C in their L-ascorbic acid form, which is among the most popular forms of vitamin C and it’s also one of the most bioavailable forms of this nutrient.
The gummies are free from any allergens (except for coconut in the form of coconut oil), and they do contain glucose (sugar) which is used to enhance the flavor of the gummies.
Future Kind claims to work with an FDA-approved and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certified facility in the United States to carry out intensive quality control as well as a strict raw ingredient supplier vetting process.
The fact that their supplements are made in the United States is also a big plus for vegans that are against exploiting workers in third-world countries and thus would prefer for the production to be more localized.
With that being said, that comes at a cost, and you may find that this supplement is slightly more expensive than many supplements on the market.
Mary Ruth’s Vitamin C Liquid Drops
Mary Ruth is another brand that focuses mostly on creating vegan-friendly supplements with purely organic ingredients, which obviously makes it a more expensive supplement.
Each serving contains 120 milligrams of vitamin C derived from USDA-certified organic acerola, which is a fruit that is similar to cherry and is among the richest sources of vitamin C.
Also, as you can see from its picture, it is delivered in liquid form, which means you can take it by mouth, and add it to a glass of water or your favorite juice or smoothie.
Compared to the vitamin C supplement by Future Kind, Mary Ruth’s supplement is twice as expensive, and that can be attributed to the use of organic acerola, which isn’t necessarily a source that is better absorbed.
This formula is also free from any major allergens and it also comes without added sugars, which is particularly enticing for those who wish to keep their vegan diet free from unhealthy sugars.
If that isn’t something that you’re especially worried about, then I would go with Future Kind’s supplement as it is significantly cheaper.
Smart For Life Vitamin C Gummies
Smart For Life created a vitamin C supplement with 250 milligrams per serving, as well as 75 micrograms of Vitamin A, making it quite similar to Future Kind’s supplement.
However, this one only contains 10 servings per product, which makes it considerably more expensive than Future Kind’s supplement, which comes with 30 servings and is similarly priced.
Additionally, you would have to consume three gummies to consume one serving, and that, unfortunately, involves consuming 6g of sugar per serving.
With that being said, it is still a viable option if you wish to take vitamin C for a very short time.
According to reviews on Amazon (where the product is quite popular), the gummies seem to have a mild fruity flavor and a pleasant non-sticky texture.
In general, people do seem to enjoy taking this supplement, but as I’ve mentioned, it is not an affordable option if you wish to take it long-term.
Naturelo Whole Food Vitamin C Capsules
Naturelo’s vitamin C supplement is another reliable option as it contains 500 milligrams of vitamin C derived from both L-Ascorbate and Acerola Cherry Extract.
Additionally, it contains 45 milligrams of citrus bioflavonoids, which are essentially phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
One of its biggest selling points is that it comes with 90 affordable servings, which means you’re getting more bang for your buck.
This supplement is delivered in capsule format, which not everyone finds convenient, however, you only have to take one capsule per serving, which isn’t always the case with supplements.
Many people choose this supplement because it contains a natural form of vitamin C (Acerola), but it’s unclear how much Acerola it contains exactly, therefore, if you’re someone that only wishes to take a completely fruit-based vitamin C supplement, you might be better off with Mary Ruth’s liquid vitamin C formula as it only contains organic Acerola.
Garden of Life Vitamin C Capsules
Garden of Life is a brand of dietary supplements that was founded in 2000, and fortunately, it is a brand that mostly focuses on creating premium plant-based formulas.
Their supplements contain natural high-quality ingredients, which also makes them quite expensive.
However, Garden of Life is a brand that belongs to Nestlé, which is not seen with good eyes in the vegan community, or among consumers that tend to value ethics.
With that being, each serving comes with 500 milligrams of vitamin C from whole foods with bioflavonoids, blended in a base of 23 fruits and vegetables with live probiotics and enzymes.
The fact that it’s made from fruits and vegetables also means that it contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which are great for your overall well-being.
The supplement is also free from synthetic binders or fillers, artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or additives.
One downside (besides the brand having been sold to Nestlé), is that each serving requires you to take two tablets, which isn’t very convenient. Also, the product comes in a plastic bottle, which is certainly not good from a sustainability standpoint.
Why Do We Need Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an incredibly important nutrient as it’s responsible for the growth and repair of all tissues in the human body. It helps create collagen, a protein that acts as the building block for the skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.
The benefits of vitamin C can also include the protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, and even eye disease.
Extreme cases of vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy, a potentially fatal disease that used to be pretty common among sailors. This disease can include symptoms such as gum bleeding and swelling, purple and bleeding skin, muscle and joint pain, and tiredness. These symptoms occur because the body is unable to produce enough collagen to sustain tissue repair.
However, scurvy has been pretty much eradicated with the introduction of lemons and oranges in the naval diet, although it may still occur in people with extremely poor diets. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, so it does have the ability to protect you against the effects of free radicals, which may play a role in conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.
Do Vegans Need A Vitamin C Supplement?
Vegans typically have a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, which means taking a vitamin C supplement is generally not necessary because fruits and vegetables commonly contain vitamin C.
With that being said, Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, so it’s very important for you to consume it regularly. An adequate vitamin C intake is crucial for any diet, but it’s especially important for the vegan diet because the iron vegans consume (non-heme iron) is usually less readily absorbed than heme iron.
Plant-based foods do not contain heme iron, so it’s recommended for vegans to consume vitamin C alongside a source of iron in order to increase its bioavailability. Personally, when I’m consuming legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils), I tend to cook them with peppers or other vitamin C-rich foods. An option would also be to eat fruit at the end of your meals.
What To Look For In A Quality Vitamin C Supplement
When looking for a vegan vitamin C supplement, you have to take into account a few criteria such as form, source, dose, and quality. Also for vegans, the type of brand you’re purchasing from also matters.
Vitamin C supplements can take many formats, from vitamin C/lipid/citrus bioflavonoid trios and chewable tablets to gummies and even liposomal powders and liquids. Fortunately, the delivery format doesn’t matter too much, albeit it may be relevant for kids or adults that don’t enjoy swallowing pills or capsules. In this case, gummies are the preferred delivery format, but you have to make sure they don’t contain any gelatin.
What is most important about a vitamin C supplement is what is inside, which is what we’ll cover in this article.
Form & Source of Vitamin C
If you’re selecting a high-quality vitamin C supplement, one of the most important factors to consider is the form of vitamin C and how well it absorbs.
Here are some of the most common sources of vitamin C you’ll find as you sift through different supplements and ingredient labels:
Vitamin C/lipid/citrus bioflavonoid trio: This form of vitamin C is specifically designed for high-potency doses; in other words, the fatty acids in this formula help escort the vitamin C through the body and aid cellular absorption, while citrus bioflavonoids help protect the vitamin C from oxidation.
Ascorbic Acid: This is a popular and effective vitamin C supplement because it is well absorbed at low doses and your body excretes what it cannot use through urine.
Liposomal Vitamin C: Liposomes (aka phospholipids) in this form encapsulate vitamin C and help transport it through the GI tract and into cells, allowing it to be absorbed.
Fruits: Vitamin C is naturally derived from whole fruits, such as berries, so you’ll find companies that make use of fruits to make their supplements, namely acerola, amla, and rose hips, which are rather popular. However, because these fruits do not contain 100% vitamin C, achieving very high doses would be prohibitively expensive for both the manufacturer and the consumer.
The amount of vitamin C in your supplement is as important as the source. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 75 milligrams for women and 90 milligrams for men. This is the daily baseline level.
Well, if you’re not able to achieve that through your diet, then you should look into a supplement. However, I feel like that is very much achievable if you take your plant-based diet seriously.
If you’re looking for an isolated vitamin C supplement, these should come in higher doses. High-potency vitamin C supplements will contain anything from 250 milligrams to 1000 milligrams.
It’s rarer for people to take isolated vitamin C supplements as most usually go with a multivitamin, and generally, a good multivitamin should contain 90 milligrams of vitamin C.
Clean, High-Quality Ingredients
The supplement brands we recommend have a reputation for quality. You can be confident that each selection on this list is of the highest caliber, whether they achieve this status through rigorous manufacturing and quality testing or additional, independent third-party testing.
This pursuit of quality is reflected in the ingredient list of a supplement. We look for active ingredients with clinical science behind them, as well as products free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and dyes—and, whenever possible, gluten, soy, and GMOs. The shorter and cleaner the list of excipients (i.e., the inactive, additional ingredients included in a supplement formula), the better.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, which means your body is unable to naturally produce it, so you need to obtain it from your diet or dietary supplements.
Whilst vegans generally do not need to take a vitamin C supplement since a plant-based diet is rich in fruits and vegetables (many of which are great sources of vitamin C), you may find yourself wanting to consume isolated vitamin C for different reasons.
As such, we’ve compiled 5 vegan vitamin c supplements that we hope are pertinent to what you’re looking for.
Editor’s note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The content of our articles is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, exercise routine, or trying a new supplement.