From effervescent tablets to gummies and oral sprays, here’s how to top up your levels

From vitamin B12 to vitamin D3, the A-Z of supplements can be a whirlwind of letters and numbers that make deciding what you actually need more than a little overwhelming. 

Vitamin C supplements are among the most searched-for and popular on our shelves, but how do you go about picking one that’s right for you? From vitamin C-rich foods to how much of the vitamin to try and have each day, here’s what you need to know.

What is vitamin C and why is it important? 

Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C supports a range of important bodily processes. It helps to maintain healthy skin, bones, cartilage and blood vessels, aids in wound healing and protects cells. It also contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system.

What are the sources of vitamin C?

As with all nutrients, a food-first approach through a healthy balanced diet is best. However, it’s especially important for vitamin C because it cannot be stored in the body and so levels need to be regularly topped up through what we eat. 

Which foods are rich in vitamin C?

Look for fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, oranges, peppers, blackcurrants, broccoli, brussels sprouts and potatoes.

How much vitamin C do you need per day? 

For adults aged 19 to 64, the NHS recommends 40mg of vitamin C a day. 

What are the benefits of taking a vitamin C supplement? 

If you eat a varied and balanced diet that contains vitamin C-rich foods, you should be able to meet your daily requirement, but if you sometimes struggle to eat as healthily as you know you should, a supplement may provide a helping hand. It’s important to bear in mind though that food supplements are intended to supplement the diet and should not be substituted for a varied diet or healthy lifestyle.

If you do take a supplement though, how much is too much?

Taking less than 1700mg of vitamin C supplements a day is unlikely to be a problem. Avoid taking any more than this though as it can lead to problems such as diarrhoea and flatulence. 

What vitamin C supplements are there?

From chewable vitamin C tablets to flavoured gummies, here are 5 vitamin C supplements to explore. 

Vitamin C supplement for adults

Try: Boots Vitamin C 1000 mg Orange Flavour Chewable Tablets (£6.50)

• Suitable for adults and children aged 12 and older

• Size: 60 tablets

• Each tablet provides 1000mg of vitamin C

• Dosage: Take one tablet per day

• Free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives

• Lactose-free

• Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

These orange-flavoured chewable tablets provide a high strength dose of vitamin C. If taken daily, one jar contains around a two-month supply.

Vitamin C spray

Try: BetterYou Vitamin C Oral Spray (£10)

• Suitable for adults and children aged 1 year and above

• Size: 25ml (32 daily doses)

• One spray delivers 100mg of vitamin C

• Dosage: use 1 spray daily

• Can be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding

• Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

• Gluten-free

Getting your vitamin C fix couldn’t be simpler with this clever spray. Just shake and spray into your mouth, ideally inside the cheek, for a fast absorbing vitamin spritz. It also contains selenium (great for the immune system, too) and vitamin B2 (which can help keep the skin, eyes and nervous system healthy) and has a natural cherry and blueberry flavour. 

Vitamin C and zinc supplement

Try: Boots High Strength Vitamin C & Zinc Effervescent Tablets (£3.50)

• Suitable for adults and children aged 12 years and over

•  Size: 20 tablets

•  Each tablet provides 1000mg of vitamin C

•  Dosage: take one tablet per day dissolved in a glass of water 

•  Free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives

•  Lactose-free

As well as vitamin C, these orange-flavoured effervescent tablets also contain a healthy serving of 10mg of zinc. Zinc contributes to the normal function of the immune system and to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.

Vitamin C and vitamin D supplement

Try: Boots Vitamin C + Vitamin D (£6.50)

• Suitable for adults and children aged 12 years and over

• Size: 60 tablets

• Each tablet contains 500mg of vitamin C, 10 micrograms of vitamin D3

• Dosage: take one tablet per day 

• Free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives

• Lactose-free

Vitamin D is mainly obtained from sunlight. However, our daily requirements can be harder to meet in the winter months when we don’t get enough sun to make vitamin D. The Department of Health recommends that all adults consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement containing 10mcg during the winter months. This supplement can help top up levels as well as provide a dose of vitamin C to support immune health, too. 

Want to find out more about vitamin D? Check out our guide to the best vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin C supplement for children 

Try: Haliborange Vitamin C Immune Support Softies (£5)

• Suitable for children aged 3-12 years

• Size: 30 gummies

• Each gummy contains 80mg of vitamin C

• Dosage: give one or up to two per day

• No artificial colours or flavours

As well as vitamin C, these multivitamins also contain other helpful vitamins and minerals such as zinc, selenium and vitamins B6 and B12. They’re blackcurrant flavoured, too.

Shop more great vitamin C supplements here

For more advice on shopping for supplements, check out our guide to vitamin D supplements and vitamin E supplements.

All prices correct on date of publication
Photography: Stocksy and Unsplash