Vitamin C is an important essential nutrient which we need to consume on a daily basis since our bodies do not produce it. It is water-soluble and does not have to be taken with food like other fat-soluble nutrients to be absorbed in the body. Some people, however, have no problem taking vitamin C supplements on an empty stomach, while others just do not stomach ascorbic acid well and may experience some unwelcome side effects, such as nausea, stomach cramping, and diarrhea. Getting the most out of this little rock star nutrient is key since it plays such an important role in our overall health and wellbeing.
The most important factor to consider when deciding to take a vitamin C supplement on an empty stomach or not is absorbency. This article looks at the many benefits of vitamin C when absorbed optimally, how to increase absorbency, and other considerations.
The benefits and goodness of vitamin C
When vitamin C is absorbed optimally it has so many benefits. It not only boosts our overall immunity but may also lower the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, alleviate anemia and strengthen our eyes and vision. Other benefits include:
- Collagen production is important for healthy skin and bones
- Improves absorption of other vitamins like Vitamin E and Iron
- Supports healthy blood pressure
- Strong antioxidant that fights free radicals
- Can have a positive effect on bone mineral density
Can I take vitamin C on an empty stomach: YES and NO
- If you have no underlying medical health condition and/or taking meds.
- If you generally experience no side effects from taking vitamins and minerals.
- If you are a generally healthy individual that eats a balanced diet.
- If you have no digestive and malabsorption issues.
- If you tolerate ascorbic acid in supplement form well.
- If you suffer from nausea, diarrhea, or stomach cramping.
- If you have digestive or malabsorption issues.
- If you are taking meds for underlying health conditions, check the compatibility of your meds with vitamin C, with your doctor.
- If you never really experience the benefits of taking a vitamin C supplement after a period of time.
- If your doctor advises against it.
Have trouble taking vitamin C on an empty stomach? Then try this . .
- Choose vitamin C forms that are easily dissolved and absorbed like powders, liposomal and liquids. Vitamin C supplements in the form of topical sprays, deliver the nutrient through the skin, essentially bypassing the stomach. Avoid big ascorbic acid tablets that generally cause stomach discomfort when taken on an empty stomach.
- Choose gentler versions of vitamin C made from whole food sources, buffered ascorbic acid versions or even gummies. But beware of all the sugar that come with the gummies usually.
- Consider lowering the dosage of the vitamin C supplement when taking it on an empty stomach, since high-level dosages of vitamin C may cause side effects.
Our top picks of vitamin C supplements
C-SALTS Buffered Vitamin C
Gentle on the stomach | Non-GMO | Corn Free
High Dose 1000mg – 4000mg | 26oz
HYPO Vitamin C Topical Spray
Organic Vitamin C Topical Spray | Fast Absorption | Immune System Supplement
Up to 16x More Effective Than Pills & Patches
3000 mg | 30 Day Supply
Kirkman Buffered Vitamin C flavored
Powerful antioxidant activity | Immune system support | High potency (1,100 mg) vitamin C
With sodium, potassium, and magnesium ascorbates | Sweetened with stevia leaf extract
Gluten and casein-free | Ultra Tested | 7 oz
Lunakai Vitamin C Gummies
Organic & natural ingredients| Less than 1g of natural and organic sugars per serving
Non-GMO | Gelatin Free |Vegan |Gluten Free | Soy-Free |Corn Free
30 Day Supply
Earthborn Elements Natural vitamin C
Natural Vitamin C from Acerola Cherry | High Potency |No Synthetic Ascorbic Acid | No Additives, Rice Fillers or Magnesium Stearate | Non-GMO & Gluten-Free |
200 Capsules | 535mg Serving
Pure Encapsulations Liposomal Vitamin C
Support for Cellular Function | Antioxidant Defenses | Immune Health | Premium ingredients | Free from wheat, eggs, tree nuts & peanuts, gluten, artificial colors, flavors & sweeteners, coatings, shellacs, GMOs, unnecessary binders, fillers & preservatives |
4 fl. oz.
Last thoughts on taking vitamin C supplements on an empty stomach
Because vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient it is generally safe to take on an empty stomach. If the person is in general good health, taking it this way should do no harm.
Deciding whether to take a vitamin C supplement on an empty stomach or with food, would depend on a few factors, such as your short and long-term health needs, your tolerance for ascorbic acid, and more practical considerations, such as when is it most convenient to take. Taking vitamin C at a set time every day will also help you to get into a habit of not forgetting.
There is hardly ever a one-size-fits-all. Everyone’s individual needs should be considered on their own merits. It is always good to speak to a doctor or nutritionist if you have any doubts about taking vitamin C supplements on an empty stomach. You will be given advice based on your individual needs.
Taking dietary supplements should always be done alongside the guidance of a medical practitioner. This article was not written or overseen by a medical professional and should not be viewed as advice or diagnostic information.
Enjoyed this article? Read more on vitamin C in the following articles.
Cautionary note: Not any of these statements have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The content of the articles and the products recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health issue. The intention is also not to imply that vitamins or any dietary supplements are substitutes for a balanced diet or are in any way more beneficial or superior to dietary nutrients. It is also not intended to imply that general or normal health may be affected by not taking dietary supplements or receiving intravenous vitamin C infusions.
Affiliate Disclosure Some of the links that appear on this site are affiliate links. We may receive a small commission when you make a purchase. These commissions help to improve this site and to fund further research. No product will be recommended that we don’t believe in.
Image credit: Philipp Berndt via Unsplash