Ascorbic Acid vs. Vitamin C: Can You Supplement It?

Today, the question is where are the differences between L-ascorbic acid, ascorbic acid, and natural vitamin C and which of them is harmful. We keep hearing the stubborn opinion that ascorbic acid would be harmful because it is not natural, thus an inferior alternative to the otherwise powerful vitamin from acerola, citrus fruits and etc.

A paradox for many - and we are now creating clarity here. What is the point of these claims and what should you be aware of?

We have written you a comprehensive statement, which should help you with all questions about ascorbic acid, its effects and the difference to the natural vitamin as a comprehensive guide.

1. Production Of L-Ascorbic Acid And Vitamin C

Something "artificially" made is not immediately harmful. 

Do you see the chemical formula below? May I introduce: this is ascorbic acid. Humans cannot make them themselves, but they need them to survive. Therefore we call it vitamin (C). 

Vitamin C and ascorbic acid are 100% synonymous. Both are L-ascorbic acid. The L stands for its specific 3D structure.

The name ascorbic acid is derived from the term "anti-scurvy acid". The typical seafarer's disease scurvy always occurred in seafaring when the sailors did not ingest citrus fruits for a long time and a vitamin C deficiency became apparent. The term "ascorbic" means something like "without scurvy".

If we don't get ascorbic acid from food every day, after a while, we feel bad - like the seafarers.

However, the synthesis of vitamin C is different and depends on whether it takes place in the laboratory or in plants. The synthesis process in nature is carried out by enzymes, while the synthesis in the industry is solved differently. One of the reaction steps is carried out by yeast fermentation, which is as natural a reaction by enzymes as the reaction in plants. BUT the molecule that is created is always the molecule below: ascorbic acid.

Here comes the crux of the matter:

Vitamin C from natural sources is not the only molecule that is ingested when eating fresh fruit and other foods. It is not pure. In contrast to vitamin C produced in most nutritional supplements. There are many bioflavonoids or polyphenols in acerolas or citrus fruits that have an antioxidant effect. These are also good for us. 

There is a balanced interplay of different plant substances of the basic and secondary plant substances of the respective plants. It is, therefore, a matter of taste which vitamin you choose. Both are healthy because both are central to the molecule that protects our body during physical exertion, strengthens the immune system and thus keeps us vital. It is the same vitamin C transporter key if the specific, biochemical reactions are the key. And since our body doesn't notice the difference between the molecules, no matter where they come from, ascorbic acid is definitely one thing: not harmful.

Rather, it is one of the most important vitamins for our organism.

2. Daily Requirement And Bio Intake

How much vitamin C to take a day?
The term vitamin is derived from the Latin term "Vita" (trans. “life”). In the bio-intake classification, a distinction is made between fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. In principle, it is very simple: fat is often used as a storage system, with water serving as a transport system. Water-soluble vitamins must, therefore, be added regularly, if possible daily because their molecules cannot be stored long-term. Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin and therefore has a recommended milligram of vitamin C daily requirement.
According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), the daily requirement for adolescents aged 15 and over and adults is between 90 and 110 milligrams of vitamin C intake per day.
However, an increased vitamin C requirement can also be met without people having to fear a harmful overdose. Up to 1000 mg from dietary supplements in addition to vitamin C from a balanced diet shows no negative long-term consequences or side effects. If high doses of concentrated vitamin C are taken, side effects of overdosing in the digestive system may appear [7]. Side effects that have occasionally occurred include: gastrointestinal problems, mild diarrhea or nausea caused by the osmotic effects of ascorbic acid not absorbed in the digestive tract. Vitamin C cannot be fully absorbed in this high concentration and attracts water in the intestine. The feared negative effects on iron absorption and metabolism could not be confirmed.

Oral vitamin C in conventional form, however, is difficult to get into the bloodstream in large concentrations, which is why IV administration probably came about in some circles. For this purpose, less invasive food supplements are recommended, such as liposomal ascorbic acid or bioenhancers.

In this way enough of the substance reaches its place of action, making it very suitable for short cures, but most healthy people hardly notice it.

Why are we so sure that vitamin C is good for us?

And not just good, but above average health-promoting. Is that really the case? The answer is, there is a good reason why lemons are so strongly associated with vitamins and health: their high vitamin C content of 53 mg in 100 g (66% of the daily requirement). Most people take vitamin C for colds in winter, be it in the form of tablets or hot lemon.

How does the bioavailability of different types of vitamin C differ?

(e.g. with pure ascorbic acid and natural vitamin C from fruit or vegetables?) 

A substance is said to be particularly bioavailable if a large amount of it arrives in the bloodstream. Comparative studies published in the renowned Journal of Nutrition - on healthy non-smokers showed no difference in the bioavailability of the following vitamin C sources [2]. The intake of vitamin C was compared: 

  • As pure ascorbic acid in the form of tablets 
  • From oranges 
  • From orange juice 
  • From raw and cooked broccoli 

 Only with raw broccoli did the BV decrease by 20%. Once the substance arrives in the cells, it makes no difference where it originally came from. 

In some research reports, the result can be found that extracts containing ascorbic acid (e.g. citrus extract in vitamin C serum) are better absorbed by the additional molecules than pure ascorbic acid. However, this observation is not confirmed by all publications. Liposomes also compensate for this and pure ascorbic acid can also overcome possible recording disadvantages.

At ActiNovo we coat the vitamin C with a lipid double layer (lipid = fat) and thus avoid the difficulties in absorbing the water-soluble vitamin. In theory, it does not matter with these "liposomes" whether the vitamin C additionally contains bioflavonoids (read: comes from fruit or fruit). Here the body focuses on the absorption of the liposomes, not the vitamin C in them.

3. Benefits And Effects Of L-Ascorbic Acid

What is ascorbic acid actually good for?

 A source of vitamin C should be taken care of every day. But why do people have such a high vitamin C requirement and why do we actually need the molecule of ascorbic acid? In our body, the molecule regulates metabolic reactions such as collagen synthesis, antioxidation or energy production. It acts as a balance-keeping aid against free oxygen radicals in all cells and tissues of our body.

Its ability to transfer electrons to other molecules makes it a key switch in the oxidation balance. Because of these and other important tasks within the body and since it cannot be produced by ourselves, we call it vitamin. In chemical terminology it is called ascorbic acid.

Does it affect healthy immune function?

The best known is the effect on our general immune system. When the influence of vitamin C on the immune system was examined for the first time, it was only clear that vitamin C was present in a high concentration in most white blood cells that are important for the immune system. It turned out that vitamin C acts as a cofactor of important enzymes in white blood cells (immune cells). It is therefore essential for their metabolism and their function in the fight against pathogens [8]. In vitro analyzes confirmed the antimicrobial properties of the molecule. Vitamin C also promoted immune cell division. Ascorbic acid is consumed to a high degree during an infection, i.e. it is used for a specific purpose in supporting the immune system [9]. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirms an effect between taking vitamin C and optimal immune function in adults and children under three years [10].

However, the best known is the effect on our general immune system. Ascorbic acid is the motor for our immune system and strengthens our immune system. However, we can also get a cold with the recommended daily requirement. Our organisms are simply too complex for a single molecule to protect us from different viruses. We cannot harm the body with the need.

Is ascorbic acid good for the skin?

 As an antioxidant, vitamin C intercepts the cell-damaging oxygen compounds in the body. These "free radicals" arise during the body's own metabolic processes, but also through the use of nicotine, medication and even UV radiation, and cause the skin to age. Limiting oxidative stress is therefore desirable for many people and can be achieved with a vitamin intake via food or food supplements.

Does ascorbic acid affect blood clotting? Bleeding gums was a symptom of scurvy disease, which characterized a deficiency in the natural vitamin balance. However, vitamin C has no direct influence on blood clotting but supports normal blood vessels. It does this through its role as an antioxidant - but also indirectly by increasing the bioavailability of nitrogen monoxide (NO). Oxidative stress and wound healing consume a lot of vitamin C to keep the body in balance despite the high load [10]. In turn, nitric oxide is essential for protective cardiovascular functions such as thrombosis inhibition [3].

Can vitamin C prevent cardiovascular diseases?

 n general, antioxidants - such as vitamin C - reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (HKD), which include thrombosis [4]. However, research on this topic was unable to establish a clear link between vitamin C and the prevention of HDD, as a literature review shows [5].


It is a matter of taste whether you want to consume your daily needs with pure and high-dose vitamin C or natural vitamin C. 

You can either choose to take in the additional beneficial biomolecules, but you can add a lower vitamin C content. Or you choose a supply of a pure vitamin such as vitamin C supplements and can (for example, if there is an increased need) adequately cover any vitamin deficiency. Encapsulated as vitamin C serum in liposomes definitely arrives! In addition, some side effects of the uncontrolled dosage can be prevented, since liposomes lead to a 98% absorption of the active ingredient.

Product Recommendation

Actinovo | Pure - With natural taste | 250 ml | Vegan
Liposomal Vitamin C
Actinovo | Plus - With flavour | 250 ml | Vegan
Liposomal Vitamin C | Orange & Vanilla


[2] Mangels AR, Block G, Frey CM, Patterson BH, Taylor PR, Norkus EP, et al. The bioavailability to humans of ascorbic acid from oranges, orange juice and cooked broccoli is similar to that of synthetic ascorbic acid. J Nutr 1993;123:1054-61.
[5] Shekelle P, Morton S, Hardy M. Effect of supplemental antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, and coenzyme Q10 for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 83 AHRQ Publication No. 03-E043. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2003.
[7] Ang, Abel et al. “Vitamin C and immune cell function in inflammation and cancer” Biochemical Society transactions vol. 46,5 (2018): 1147-1159.
[8] Prasad SB, Giri A, Arjun J, Use of subtherapeutical dose of cisplatin and vitamin C against murine Dalton's lymphoma. Pol J Pharmacol Pharm 1992.
[9] Vollbracht, C., Schneider, B., Leendert, V., Weiss, G., Uerbach, L., Beuth, J., Beuth, J., Intravenous Vitamin C Administration Improves Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients during Chemo-/Radiotherapy and Aftercare: Results of a Retrospective, Multicentre, Epidemiological Cohort Study in Germany, In Vivo, 11-12/2011, vol. 25, no. 6, 983-990.
[10] Beuth JH N, van Leendert R, Basten R, Noehle M, Schneider B, Safety and efficacy of local administration of contractubex to hypertrophic scars in comparison to corticoid treatment. Results of a multicenter, comparative epidemiological cohort study in Germany. In Vivo 20