Vitamin C crystals are a nutritional supplement that comes as a dry powder that can be added to water or mixed in with a number of different foods. It is usually formulated to dissolve very quickly, and blending it in with ordinary beverages can be a good way for people to quickly boost their vitamin C intake. There can be some variance between manufacturers, but in most cases this powder has an orange tint and a slightly acidic citrus flavor. Some varieties also come boosted with other essential nutrients like calcium and iron. There can be a lot of variance between brands, and people who are looking to use the crystals as a regular dietary supplement should usually read the packing information carefully to fully understand what’s included. Talking with a medical care provider before starting any sort of supplementation, even for something as natural as vitamin C, is usually also a good idea.
Vitamin C Basics
Ascorbic acid, which is the formal name for vitamin C, is an antioxidant believed to protect cells from free radical damage. In this function, vitamin C appears to have clinical significance in preventing damage to the blood, lungs, eyes and immune system. It also plays a role in controlling infections and the production of collagen within the body. Collagen is a tissue needed for healthy bones, teeth, gums and blood vessels. This nutrient is also believed to promote healing and help the body absorb iron.
Humans cannot produce or store vitamin C in their bodies, but it’s essential for proper functioning and good health. It’s available in many foods that most people eat on a regular basis, including most fruits and vegetables; the majority of people get all that they need from their diets. Supplementation is often the most important for people who don’t eat a balanced diet or who have other health conditions that prevent proper absorption from food. It’s also common to take extra vitamin C as a way of boosting immunity or helping improve health, particularly in the colder winter months when fresh fruits and vegetables may not be as readily available.
Vitamin C supplements are usually available in three main formats: liquid, powder or crystal, and pressed capsule. Crystals typically contain some of the most concentrated levels of vitamins C. Common dosage instructions are to mix about 0.25 to 1 teaspoon (1.2 to 4.9 ml) of the vitamin C powder with about 8 ounces (236 ml) of water, juice or milk to create an enriched drink.
In most parts of the world, vitamin C is considered to be a nutritional supplement rather than a drug or medicine, and as such it isn’t usually regulated very tightly — if it’s regulated at all. This means that there can be a lot of variety when it comes to concentrations, strength, and added ingredients, even in products across the same brand. Some crystal preparations contain sugar or other flavoring elements, for instance, and it’s common to find artificial colors and preservatives in some preparations, too.
Some brands also sell “boosted” or “enhanced” powders that are supplemented with other nutrients. Calcium is a common choice; vitamins B and D, iron, and folic acid are also frequently added. The main idea here is to provide more of a complete nutritional supplement that can augment or possibly even replace the need for a daily vitamin.
One of the most appealing characteristics of vitamin C in crystal form is that the powder is very easily absorbed by the body. This is especially true of buffered crystals, which contain either calcium or sodium to aid with digestion. Buffered varieties are also commonly gentler on both the stomach and teeth than non-buffered varieties since the acid isn’t as abrasive as it might be otherwise.
Crystals may also provide the body with maximum efficiency when it comes to power per dose. Vitamin C is absorbed in the small intestine. Maximal absorption is believed to be attained by taking several small doses spaced throughout the day rather than one large dose. Vitamin C crystals enable this type of dosing really well, as people can drink an enriched beverage with a controlled amount of the powder several times each day.
The easiest way to prepare a crystal-based supplement is to make a drink, but this isn’t the only option. Additional suggestions include adding it to cake, cookie, and pie recipes for added flavor and nutrition. The crystals can also be sprinkled on top of or mixed in with vegetables and other side dishes. Just as with salt, however, this powder should be used sparingly to prevent an overwhelming taste. Crystals dissolved in liquid are also easy to swallow, a benefit that persons who struggle with capsules or tablets may enjoy.
Most bottles and packages also come with recommended dosage guidelines, which should in most cases be heeded. Eve though vitamin C is essential, a person can get too much. Overdoses aren’t usually harmful, particularly not if they happen only rarely, but they can be unpleasant. Too much often causes headache, nausea, and gastrointestinal distress that can last for several days or more.