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The #1 Worst Vitamin C Supplement to Take, Says Dietitian

Taking large doses of vitamin C at once won't actually protect your immune system in the way you may think.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Cold and flu season is upon us, which means many of us are loading up on immune supplements and reading about what we need to do in order to protect ourselves from getting sick.

Vitamin C is one of the most beloved immune supplements out there, right alongside vitamin D. People love taking vitamin C not only as a way of strengthening their immunity but also as an aid in getting better more quickly if they do catch a cold.

And although it's a crowd favorite with many proven health benefits, it can be difficult to find the right vitamin C supplement to take with there being so many different types of there.

We wanted to find out which vitamin c supplements we should avoid next time we are out shopping, so we asked registered dietitian Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, author at GoWellness, what she believes to be the worst type of vitamin C supplement. And according to D'Angelo, the worst type to take are those with higher dosages. 

"Vitamin C supplements range from 25 mg to 1,500 milligrams (mg) per unit, and it is recommended that you spread out your doses throughout the day while not exceeding 2,000 mg per day," says D'Angelo, "which is why it's best to stick with smaller dosage amounts and remember to take it consistently."

Forms of vitamin C supplements

vitamin c

The daily recommended value of vitamin C is 75 milligrams for adult women and 90 for adult men, and according to the National Institute of Health, you can usually meet your requirements by consuming citrus fruits, certain veggies, and even some vitamin C-fortified beverages.

If you need a boost of this vitamin or feel like you're not getting enough of it through your food, you can always choose a vitamin C supplement as well.

The most common forms of these supplements are pills, chewables, powders, and liquid liposomal vitamin C and, according to D'Angelo, choosing a pill or chewable tablet may be the easiest way to ensure you're getting the right levels.

"Vitamin C powder is tricky due to the fact that you have to mix it with a drink, which can be inconvenient, messy, and you have to carefully pay attention to the number of scoops," says D'Angelo.

So if you're looking for consistency, choosing a low-dose pill supplement may be your best bet.

RELATED: What Taking Vitamin C Every Day Does To Your Body

Why are smaller doses best?

What you may not realize is that although it's tempting to load up on as much vitamin C as possible when you're feeling sick, your body can only absorb so much of it at one time.

"If too much vitamin C goes into your system at one time, the absorption rate decreases by 50%," says D'Angelo, "so choosing a low-dose, sustained-release capsule is best since they don't release all the vitamin C at once.

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Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha