Is Sodium Ascorbate Better Than Ascorbic Acid?

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One of the best advantages of a Sodium Ascorbate a generic name of Fern-C (FERN), Vit-cee (CNN Generics) and Alka-C (Interchemex Lab), is this vitamin does not cause stomach upsets unlike Ascorbic acid. Similar to ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate is an imp

Ascorbic acid has been known as an important vitamin to build up resistance and to strengthen the immune system. While it can also be attained by eating fruits and vegetables, ascorbic acid is more popular in drugstores as a dietary supplement in single or in combination types. Ascorbic acid is usually prescribed in individuals – young and old, to prevent cough and colds. Doctors also use it as an adjunct with other medications (e.g. cough and colds and antibiotic) to speed up healing.

Ascorbic acid is a good choice as a daily supplement. However, with stomach irritation as its major side-effect some vitamin C users tend to use sodium ascorbate – a counterpart on ascorbic acid.

So, does this mean that sodium ascorbate is really better than ascorbic acid?

Sodium ascorbate VS ascorbic acid

Indications or uses

Sodium ascorbate is also used as a food additive. It is an antioxidant preservative useful for the conservation of color, taste and for the prevention of carcinogenic substance that can affect the food.

As a dietary supplement, sodium ascorbate is an antioxidant similar to ascorbic acid. These two are indicated for individuals with vitamin C deficiency to prevent scurvy. These supplements tend to increase body resistance to infections and stress. Sodium ascorbate and ascobic acid are employed to prevent colds. Not only that these vitamins can promote fast wound healing, sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid can also prevent anemia, bone fractures and vulnerability of the small blood vessels. 

Precautions

Both sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid should be used in precaution to individuals with hyperoxaluria – a condition of excessive production of oxalate which is not good for the kidneys. Both supplements are also to be used in precaution with people who have liver impairment, G6PD deficiency, cancer and diabetes.

High doses of ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate can cause insulin resistance that may lead to hyperglycemia or an increased in sugar levels in the blood.

Both supplements are not recommended to be taken in large doses during pregnancy for there had been reports, although rarely, of scurvy in infants upon childbirth.

Individuals who have haemochromatosis – a disorder resulting from too much iron in the GIT should not take sodium ascorbate or ascorbic acid. As vitamin C, both supplements can increase absorption of iron in the body.

Ascorbic acid is to be used in caution with people who have stomach ulcers. On the other hand, sodium ascorbate is also to be taken carefully in hypertensive people for it contains sodium.

Side effects

Ascorbic acid has been known to cause gastric ulceration in susceptible individuals. But, similar to sodium ascorbate, ascorbic acid can also cause kidney stones and diarrhea in high doses.

Drug interactions

Both ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate can increase the concentration of ethinyl estradiol – a component in an oral contraceptive pill. While both dietary supplements can hinder the effect of anticoagulant drugs such as aspirin, warfarin and others, these two can also boost the absorption of iron.

So, is sodium ascorbate better than ascorbic acid?

Sodium ascorbate contains ascorbic acid in combination with sodium. What makes sodium ascorbate special is its alkaline content that counter-balances the acidity of ascorbic acid. Because sodium ascorbate is usually in capsule form, it also dissolves faster than ascorbic acid which is generally in tablet type.

Compared to ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate stays longer within the body (about 12 to 14 hours) which can be beneficial for its antioxidant value. More to this, because of ascorbic acid’s acidic nature, more of it is flushed down from the body. Only 25 percent of ascorbic acid is consumed by the blood stream unlike sodium ascorbate which can be absorbed for about 95 percent.

Considering the side effect, both of the dietary supplements have the same consequences. The good news, these untoward reactions such as diarrhea or kidney stones can only be possible in an overdose.  In addition, kidney stones can only be probable for susceptible individuals. This issue also goes with the sodium content in sodium ascorbate. As long as the sodium consumed by the body is monitored and if sodium in sodium ascorbate does not add up to other sources of sodium like in food (salt) or in other medications (diclofenac sodium, sodium bicarbonate etc.) sodium ascorbate may still be beneficial even for hypertensive people.

Image by the author

Finally

Although, sodium ascorbate may not irritate the stomach, there are enteric coated types of ascorbic acid that has become a solution for this problem. More to this ascorbic acid is cheaper than sodium ascorbate. What makes sodium ascorbate better than ascorbic is its availability - its capacity to stay longer inside the body for its antioxidant benefits. Individuals may bear in mind that more is not good. There are a lot of vitamin C sources such as fruits, vegetables and juices. If a person may think that he has enough vitamin C for his needs, sodium ascorbate or ascorbic acid supplements may not be necessary.

For Knoji by Phoenix Montoya @ April 19, 2012

References:

  1. http://www.inchem.org/documents/pims/pharm/ascorbic.htm#SectionTitle:1.3%20%20Synonyms
  2. http://www.mims.com/Philippines/drug/info/Fern-C/Fern-C%20cap
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932

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