Vitamin C (ascorbate) is an essential nutrient and antioxidant that is pivotal in immune function among other things. It helps the body deal with free radicals, especially in situations where they are produced in great quantities, such as during an illness.
Humans happen to be part of the group of mammals that do not produce their own vitamin C. This means we have to eat foods rich in Vitamin C in order to get it. Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, the only foods rich in Vitamin C are fruits and certain fermented preparations like sauerkraut.
What’s more, the half-life of ascorbic acid in the body is relatively short. It’s a water-soluble nutrient, meaning it is absorbed easily, and is also lost easily. Once you’ve taken your daily dose, your body doesn’t hold onto it for long.
So what are you to do?
Ester-C: A Long-Lasting Form of Vitamin C
Ester-C is a patented preparation of vitamin C where ascorbic acid in the form of calcium ascorbate, alongside a select few Vitamin C metabolites. 1
To understand what exactly Vitamin C does besides preventing bleeding gums, see some of my older posts on it:
After my research, I now make it a point to take vitamin C when possible.
In addition to the benefits of standard ascorbic acid, Ester-C has a few differences and additional benefits compared to standard supplemental and dietary vitamin C:
- Ester-C causes less stomach (gastric) disturbance compared to regular ascorbic acid 2
- Ester-C concentration in plasma rivals that of ascorbic acid over 24h, but vitamin C concentration in leukocytes (white blood cells) of Ester-C group is found to be greater than ascorbic acid or placebo groups in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. 3
- Vitamin C with metabolites (Ester-C) was found to reduce urine oxalate levels (oxalates being responsible for certain type of kidney stones) unlike typical ascorbic acid, 4 although it is mostly controversial whether regular ascorbic acid even causes oxalic kidney stones. 5
Why I Supplement Ester-C Twice Per Day
I take a capsule of Ester-C once in the morning upon waking (alongside my other supplements) and once before bed. I’ve been doing this for several months now.
For one, the advantages of this form of ascorbic acid are the peace of mind that kidney stone formation will be very unlikely. In fact, the study I mentioned above said it reduced oxalate levels, oxalates being associated with a type of kidney stone reportedly associated with ascorbic acid supplementation.
The major advantage of Ester-C seems to be that it increases the ascorbate content within the leukocytes (white blood cells) which are more or less the guardians of the body’s immune system. Leukocyte ascorbate levels can viewed as reflecting the body’s stores of ascorbate, as opposed to serum (plasma) ascorbate levels, which reflect recent vitamin C intake. 6
Though it’s hard to tell the subjective benefits of supplementing this novel form of vitamin C, I notice that when I come in contact with people who have a cold or the flu that I barely seem to catch the illnesses going around anymore.
Where to get Ester-C
You should try to purchase a product containing citrus bioflavonoids since these are synergistic with vitamin C, increasing its efficacy.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid and Vitamin C Metabolites) — Linus Pauling Institute|
|2.||↑||Safety and tolerance of ester-C compared with regular ascorbic acid. (2006) — PubMed|
|3.||↑||Determination of plasma and leukocyte vitamin C concentrations in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with Ester-C(®). (2016) — PubMed|
|4.||↑||Vitamin C with metabolites reduce oxalate levels compared to ascorbic acid: a preliminary and novel clinical urologic finding. (2009) — PubMed|
|5.||↑||No contribution of ascorbic acid to renal calcium oxalate stones. (1997) — PubMed|
|6.||↑||Determination of plasma and leukocyte ascorbate concentrations in a randomized, double-blind trial (2014) — FASEB Journal|