Vitamin C came into prominence following the release of Dr. Linus Pauling’s book entitled “Vitamin C and the Common Cold.” From then on, the vitamin has earned a reputation for helping reduce the severity of the common cold. Today, you can purchase vitamin C supplements practically anywhere and buy products which are supposedly fortified with the vitamin.

The vitamin is commonly found in fruits and vegetables, although it can also be found in some animal organs. This antioxidant is known to aid in various bodily functions including the healing of wounds, tissue growth, and the formation of collagen. The water-soluble vitamin can also help in lactation, improvement of adrenal health, and the strengthening of capillary walls.

One of the things that makes vitamin C unique is that it is delicate. It can be easily destroyed by heat. This means that along with a consistent fare of processed food, a small amount of the vitamin can be absorbed from natural sources. Further compounding these woes is the consumption of alcohol and some types of medications which deplete vitamin C stores inside the body.

It is for these reasons that many people take vitamin C supplements regularly. But do these supplements actually contain vitamin C?

If you look at the labels of supplements and other products that claim to contain vitamin C, you will see ascorbic acid listed as one of the ingredients. That means that these contain vitamin C, right? No.

Ascorbic acid is very different from vitamin C. In fact, consuming ascorbic acid regularly can prove to be more harmful than helpful and can lead to deficiencies in flavonoids.

You see, ascorbic acid is just one part of the vitamin C complex. Nowhere in nature can you find ascorbic acid.

Unlike organic vitamin C, ascorbic acid kills off bacteria indiscriminately, including those that are beneficial to the body including probiotics.

Synthetic vitamins, including ascorbic acid, are manufactured to mimic natural vitamins. However, synthetic vitamins lack the co-factors and transporters that are required by vitamins to perform optimally inside the body. In this isolated state, synthetic vitamins either cannot be recognized by the body or are simply secreted as waste. In some cases, synthetic vitamins use up the body’s natural mineral reserves which can lead to mineral deficiencies.

It is also worthwhile to point out that manufacturers can use as little as 10 percent of a vitamin in its natural form in order for the supplement to be called natural—even with the rest of it being made synthetically. If you are going to buy a supplement or a product that claims to have vitamin C, make sure that the vitamin is sourced from natural products.