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Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an essential nutrient for normal body functioning. Many vitamin C products are available today, including chewable, liquid and crystal varieties. Vitamin C crystals are a soluble powder with concentrated levels of the vitamin. The crystals are intended to be mixed with water or juice for a daily supplement. Buffered vitamin C crystals are those that contain calcium or sodium for easy digestion and to help prevent loss of calcium within the body.
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. Vitamin C is further believed to promote healing and help the body absorb iron.
Unlike many mammals, humans cannot produce or store vitamin C in their bodies. Some health care officials, therefore, believe the nutrient needs to be replenished everyday. Pure vitamin C crystals are supplement products commonly taken to meet daily vitamin C requirements. The crystals are in powder form and contain 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.
One of the most appealing characteristics of vitamin C crystals is they are thought to be easily absorbed by the body. This is especially true of buffered crystals, which contain either calcium or sodium to aid with digestion and calcium absorption. Buffered varieties are also considered gentler on both the stomach and teeth than non-buffered varieties.
Another benefit of vitamin C crystals is that they may provide the body with maximum efficiency in using the vitamin. 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. The crystals enable this type of dosing, as persons can drink an enriched beverage several times each day.
Additional suggestions for vitamin C powder 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. Vitamin C crystals dissolved in liquid are also easy to swallow, a benefit that persons who struggle with capsules or tablets may enjoy.
Vitamin C crystals are usually sold in vials and plastic bottles. They are often available from health food suppliers and supermarkets as well as online retailers. Organic varieties often are available as well.