Guest Column

Where should you get your vitamin C?

By Heather Jones
Posted 12/7/23

We’re told to take vitamin C, quercetin, zinc, and vitamin D this time of year. These nutrients are linked to an increase in the efficiency of our immune systems, helping us to steer clear of …

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Guest Column

Where should you get your vitamin C?


We’re told to take vitamin C, quercetin, zinc, and vitamin D this time of year. These nutrients are linked to an increase in the efficiency of our immune systems, helping us to steer clear of the colds and flus that circle around our communities.

Vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant that gives the immune system a boost through its increase in T-cell activity and possible antibody production. Its effects on the immune system may also be explained through protection against oxidative stress generated during infections.

Citrus houses loads of vitamin C, but berries are much more concentrated!

When you look at a bottle of vitamin C what’s really in it?

Most of the time when you flip over a supplement bottle and read the label, you will see vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid.

Any of us would assume that a label with this verbiage would be transparent. But in the case of ascorbic acid, and unfortunately many other ingredients we ingest, we have to ask; Are we really consuming true vitamin C?

A little exploring as to what this substance named ascorbic acid is, will reveal that it may not be the source of vitamin C that most nourishes our bodies.

Ascorbic acid, while a component of nature made vitamin C, is not giving your body what it needs and some studies show that it isn’t absorbed into the body at all!

To have a strong and effective immune response real vitamins from food sources are essential. Food made nutrients contain many compounds that create the whole molecule we call vitamin C.

In nature made vitamin C sources you will find…

• Rutin

• Bioflavonoids (vitamin P)

• Factor K 

• Factor J 

• Factor P 

• Tyrosinase

• Ascorbinogen

• Ascorbic acid 

Ascorbic acid in a bottle is, at best, isolated from nature made vitamin C, and concentrated in a singular form, at worst  it is made in a lab taking it further away from nature made, naturally occurring complex vitamin C. 

As we saw above, ascorbic acid is only one compound of vitamin C, and when isolated does not create the same effects as the whole complex found in foods and plants in nature.

As you will begin to find when examining your supplement bottles, many ingredients you are taking in are either lab created or isolated forms of naturally occurring substances. 

The FDA has marketed thousands of ingredients safe for human consumption but with a little bit of digging, you find petroleum products, chemicals, cleaning products, and waxes, yes the kind of wax you put on your car, to be considered safe for human consumption. The list of chemicals that became food additives goes on and on and supplements are just the beginning.

Vitamin C is named an essential nutrient because our bodies do not create it internally. Most supplement bottles contain up to 1200 mgs of vitamin C, so how are we supposed to replace that through food? To start, you can eat a dozen oranges, daily, or even more bananas to get the vitmain C needed for this powerful boost in immune responses or we can take a deeper look at berries and concentrating them in extracts.

Because of the solubility of food made of vitamin C, when you ingest 76 mgs of this natural complex, expect to absorb the entire dose. While the 1200 mgs capsules of synthetic ascorbic acid are mostly lost through your urine. 

In Helge Lund and Herbert Lieck’s study, “Stability of Ascorbic Acid in Urine and in Watery Solution, With a View to the Conditions in the Urinary Tract,” 29 people were monitored with a treatment of 300 mgs of ascorbic acid, ingested by mouth and administered intravenously for 10 days. Neither method showed any difference in serum levels of ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid was indeed found in the patient’s urine samples.

In their continued studies, treatment with the juice of 10 lemons daily for 10 days proved successful, and the value for the urinary ascorbic acid ultimately indicated that saturation had occurred. 

Sourcing our vitamins from whole foods will get us much further. Because the absorption is 100% in small doses of food sourced vitamin C, you will be getting the full support to your immune system that this antioxidant has to offer. 

Because I am an herbalist, what I like to look at are wild varieties of plants and medicinal herbs that would get us more bang for our buck when it comes to nourishing our bodies in all ways. I love rose hips for this exact reason. They house massive amounts of vitamin C in a tiny little package.

Wild rose hips are a local and reliable option for us here in Wyoming. While wild varieties are extra concentrated because of the stress put upon them in the forest, *some* garden varieties of roses would be a great place to source vitamin C too!

Rose hips contain 550 mgs of vitamin C in one cup, and when they are wild sourced, that dosage can go up 10x. Wild growing conditions stress the plants in the perfect way so that their compounds are concentrated more than cultivated settings. More stress creates more nutrients! And we don’t have to eat a cup of rose hips per day to get this vitamin C. 

Curious for more? Find me at Enchantment Creek Apothecary. I am here as your Herbalist & Local Farmacy!


(Heather Jones is a clinical herbalist, medical intuitive, farmer and  founder of Enchantment Creek Apothecary.)