Vitamin C vs Ester C
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin which cannot be synthesized in the human body. Hence, it is categorized as an essential vitamin and should be supplemented in diet. Vitamin C is the precursor of many key molecules such as collagen, carnitine, nor epinephrine etc. The molecule also acts as an effective antioxidant protecting the vital molecules such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids from the effect of free radicals and reactive oxygen species.
The supplements are available in different varieties, ester forms being the most common. Ester C is a patented form of Calcium ester of vitamin C. It is produced by buffering Ascorbate with Calcium. The ester forms differ in their bioavailability, efficiency etc. The fat soluble vitamin C ester is different from ester C. With the changing environment and food habits the availability of Vitamin C from the natural sources has reduced drastically. Vitamin C is not stored properly in the human body and hence the intake in the form of supplements is essential for optimal health.
An average human diet consists of only 1/100th of the amount of vitamin C that animals make in their body and also get lost in the intestine during digestion. An acute shortage of vitamin C leads to shortage of collagen and result in scurvy. Most humans suffer from chronic shortage resulting in atherosclerotic plaques. The vitamin is a cofactor required to maintain certain key enzymes in active form. One such is the prolyl hydroxylase required for production of collagen.
Vitamin C or L- Ascobic acid is the naturally available vitamin found in fresh fruits and vegetables. There are four enzymes involved in the process of manufacturing ascorbic acid in animals. The gene for the fourth enzyme which converts gulonolactone to ascorbic acid is damaged in primates. Ascorbic acid is the major defense of all life forms of earth against reactive oxygen species and free radicals. Hence the vitamin C is an essential ingredient in our diet. The functions it performs in our body are vast and includes most organ systems.
Vitamin C is poorly absorbed from the mammalian gut and cannot be synthesized to compensate for the deficiency. The vitamin is non toxic except for the gastrointestinal disturbances which show up rarely at high doses in some people. There have been researches bringing up the side effects of over dosage of vitamin C such as kidney stones, impaired Vitamin B12 absorption, excess iron absorption, cellular damage etc. However none of them had sufficient data or analysis to prove the effects beyond doubt.
Ester-C is a patented form of Calcium Ascorbate. The manufacturing process involves buffering of Ascorbic acid with Calcium. The form of vitamin C is having higher bioavailability.
The system can efficiently utilize a higher percentage of the given dose when compared to regular ascorbic acid. Ester C is a pH neutral product with Vitamin C metabolites which are natural and facilitate quick absorption. The biological functions of ester C are same as vitamin C. It serves almost all the main functions such as protection of skin, joints and vision, antioxidant properties etc. The major advantage is that ester C has about three to four times more bioavailability than the normal vitamin C and hence the need for lesser doses.
There are certain disadvantages. The Inter Cal’s method of production of ester C involves heating up the ascorbic acid which results in the production of dehydroascorbate (DHA). The DHA in normal cells required to be reduced back to ascorbate for the regular functioning. However, recent studies suggest that DHA can protect mitochondrial genome since they can enter the mitochondrial membrane. Also, the blood brain barrier prevents ascorbate from entering the brain tissues whereas DHA can enter through the GLUT transporters and converted back to ascorbate in brain for normal functioning. Due to this, DHAs are found to protect the neuronal tissue from ischemic stroke. It has strong antiviral effects also.
Difference Between Vitamin C and Ester C
1. Bioavailability- Vitamin C has lower bioavailability compared to Ester C.
2. Cost -Ester C is comparatively costlier when compared with vitamin C.
3. Biological function- Both Vitamin C and ester C carry out the biological functions without much significant differences.
4. Source- Vitamin C is naturally available in fresh fruits and vegetables whereas ester C requires a patented manufacturing process which attributes to the cost factor.
5. Ingredients- Vitamin C contains only the natural L ascorbic acid whereas ester C has traces of Dehydroascorbate, calcium threonate, lyxonate and xylonate.
6. Absorption – There is no essential difference in the absorption of both molecules.
7. Excretion- Both gets excreted without much difference in the rate and metabolic process.
8. Dosage- High doses are required for vitamin C to maintain the optimal health and bioavailability, however, the higher dose affect the anticoagulants such as warfarin and some laboratory tests.
9. Safety – vitamin C over dosage has been shown to produce symptoms such as diarrhoea. Ester C is contraindicated in chemotherapy patients
Comparing all the essential features of a drug such as the parameters in absorption, metabolism and elimination, there are pros and cons for both the products. The ideal choice depends on the necessary intake as analyzed from your food pattern and age by a medical professional. Vitamin C being natural is safe supplement. The use of ester C should be in severe cases where the gastrointestinal problems are intense and require a rapid gain in the homeostatic level. Both Vitamin C and ester C has proved to be effective against LDLs in atherosclerotic lesions.