Forms of Vitamin C
Most writers use “vitamin C” and “ascorbic acid” interchangeably. However, ascorbic acid is but one form of vitamin C. Technically vitamin C is the ascorbate ion (C6H7O6) so every form of vitamin C has this anti-scurvy factor. Vitamin C comes in many forms because the vitamin C part (C6H7O6) easily combines with other atoms and molecules. For example, the ascorbate fraction rapidly attaches to hydrogen, sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium atoms.
All forms of vitamin C can be called ascorbates. Even the most common form of vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is hydrogen ascorbate (the ascorbate ion attached to a hydrogen atom).
Ascorbate has different shapes in three-dimensional space. The different shapes of the ascorbate fraction have the same atoms, but the atoms are arranged differently, much like the right hand is the same but different from the left hand.
Vitamin C Foundation Chemists call the difference between the same molecules their chirality. Linus Pauling explained that there are exactly four different shapes (stereoisomers) the ascorbate ion can take: L-ascorbate, D-ascorbate, LD-ascorbate and DL-ascorbate. Linus Pauling the chemist also told us that only the L-ascorbate shape has vitamin C activity, i.e. only the L- shape can cure the vitamin C deficiency disease scurvy.
Ascorbic Acid (Hydrogen Ascorbate)
Ascorbic acid (C6H8O6) is the most common form of vitamin C. “It is an essential food for human beings. People who receive no ascorbic acid become sick and die.” - Linus Pauling (Vitamin C and the Common Cold, 1970).
“Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is one of the important water soluble vitamins. It is essential for collagen, carnitine and neurotransmitters biosynthesis. Most plants and animals synthesize ascorbic acid for their own requirement. However, apes and humans can not synthesize ascorbic acid due to lack of an enzyme gulonolactone oxidase. Hence, ascorbic acid has to be supplemented mainly through fruits, vegetables and tablets.” Read the full article: "Vitamin C in Human Health and Disease is Still a Mystery? An Overview"
Vitamin C Foundation research has demonstrated that ascorbic acid enters the blood stream instantly (through the stomach lining) in 3 minutes after ingesting a high dose, without traveling to the intestines.
Ascorbic acid is a weak acid; its acidity is about that of a cola soft drink. It is thought to have an overall alkalizing effect on the body. However, if first morning urine is acidic (low pH), then the use of the alkaline sodium ascorbate is recommended instead.
Vitamin C does not have to be acidic. It is also found in various alkaline forms, such as the mineral ascorbates sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, magnesium ascorbate, and potassium ascorbate, etc.
Sodium ascorbate is the only form of vitamin C that should be used for intravenous infusion. Research conducted by the nonprofit Vitamin C Foundation has demonstrated that sodium ascorbate enters the blood stream slowly, like a timed release, after traveling into the intestines, even after ingesting a high dose.
Acidic vitamin c can irritate the bottom of the throat in some people, whereas Sodium ascorbate does not and it is therefore recommended for people with heartburn or GERD.
If first morning urine is too alkaline (high pH), it is recommended to switch some or all vitamin c supplementation to ascorbic acid.
Ascorbyl-Palmitate is a fat soluble form of vitamin C. The fat soluble form is recommended by Dr. Thomas Levy, MD. JD as part of a complete vitamin C supplementation program.
Liposomal vitamin C
Liposomal vitamin c has special properties and effects, especially fighting infection, by delivering almost 100% of its “payload” (vitamin C) to the blood stream. Liposomes persist long after ordinary vitamin C has been passed out of the body (i.e., up to 2 to 4 hours). Liposomal is recommended for all types of infections, and for those with very low bowel tolerances taking ordinary vitamin C powders.