Is Vitamin C Calcium? What Does the C Mean?
  /   Dr. John Snow

Is Vitamin C Calcium? What Does the C Mean?

Each vitamin and mineral can come in a different form. The differences in form change the way that vitamins are utilized by your body. Some forms of vitamins may be better than others for people with vitamin deficiencies or issues absorbing vitamins. 

Vitamin C calcium is one of those vitamins. This unique form of vitamin C serves a special purpose. Here’s what you need to know about vitamin C calcium and how it can keep your family healthy.

What Is Vitamin C Calcium?

Vitamin C calcium is a form of vitamin C known as calcium ascorbate. Calcium ascorbate is a form of vitamin C that has been neutralized. Ascorbic acid is acidic, and acids have a tendency to be tough on the digestive system. Some people find that ascorbic acid gives them a stomach ache or digestive issues, especially when ingested in large amounts, and calcium ascorbate may be a more gentle option. 

How Does Calcium Ascorbate Work?

Calcium ascorbate combines vitamin C with calcium to minimize its acidity. Calcium is used in products like chewable antacids to settle heartburn due to its neutralizing abilities. Combining the acid with an acid reducer helps resolve the issue. When you take calcium ascorbate, you’re getting all the benefits of vitamin C without the potential for digestive upset. 

Very few people will need calcium ascorbate in place of other types of vitamin C — most people get enough vitamin C through their diet alone, but those who would benefit from supplements generally respond well to ascorbic acid.

Is Vitamin C Calcium the Best Form of Vitamin C?

Ascorbic acid in a vitamin supplement is very unlikely to cause digestive upset. The recommended daily value of vitamin C is very low, and one multivitamin won’t contain enough to cause reflux or heartburn.

The best source of vitamin C is fresh fruits and vegetables, but if diet alone isn’t enough to get you adequate vitamin C, you can turn to the vitamin C in a high-quality multivitamin supplement.

Does My Family Need Vitamin C Supplements?

Most families don’t need vitamin C supplements if they enjoy a well-balanced diet. If you think your family might benefit from vitamin C supplements, it’s best to consult your family doctor first. 

If you’re concerned about picky eating habits with your children, speak to their pediatrician about using a daily multivitamin supplement as part of your child’s daily wellness routine.

How Common Is Vitamin C Deficiency?

Vitamin C deficiency almost never occurs in developed countries where people have regular access to nutritious food. Only about one in 20 people will have low vitamin C levels. 

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that your body uses what it needs and expels what it doesn’t, meaning it won’t store vitamin C for later use. In order to keep vitamin C levels sufficient, you need to ingest it every day. 

Vitamin C naturally occurs in many fruits and vegetables. One orange contains almost all of your daily recommended vitamin C — meaning it’s fairly easy to get all of the day’s vitamin C in a single meal or even just a snack. Because of this, most people get enough vitamin C without even trying. 

What Are the Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency?

Vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy, which causes wounds to open and gums to loosen around teeth. Scurvy was common among seafarers who couldn’t bring enough perishable fruits and vegetables to last them throughout their journey. 

That said, scurvy is extremely rare in the United States, mostly because access to healthcare and nutritious foods is enough to prevent vitamin C deficiency from going unnoticed or unresolved for a very long time. Most symptoms of early vitamin C deficiency are mild, and catching them quickly can prevent conditions like scurvy from developing.

The most common symptoms of vitamin C deficiency are mild gingivitis (gum disease), rashes, fatigue, low mood, and slow wound healing. Low vitamin C levels can also impact your immune system — you might notice this if you feel like you get sick very quickly, or if it takes you a while to get better after being sick. 

What About Picky Eaters?

Picky eaters are more likely to lack certain vitamins and minerals than people who enjoy a wide variety of foods due to their tendency to reject or refuse specific foods, or even entire food groups. It’s very possible to get all the nutrition you need through food as long as you eat a broad selection of whole foods — but being a picky eater can make this more difficult. 

Children are notorious for picky eating habits. Many children will grow out of their habits as they get older and develop more sophisticated tastes. If your child learns the value of nutrition and understands why it’s important to eat a wider variety of foods, they may feel more inclined to put a few new things on their plate. 

You can’t wait for your child to grow out of their habits, especially if they aren’t old enough to understand why it’s important. If you’re concerned that your picky eater is coming up short on their daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals, it’s important to address the problem as soon as possible. Consult your doctor to determine whether supplements may be necessary, and for advice regarding how to persuade your child to expand their palate. 

How Can You Introduce More Vitamin C Into Your Child’s Diet?

If you’re concerned that your children aren’t getting enough vitamin C, there are two main ways to approach the issue. You may need to use both approaches at the same time. Your pediatrician will be able to give you advice unique to your child’s situation.

Vitamin C-Rich Foods

If you’re looking to serve up more vitamin C-rich foods, here’s what you can add to your family’s grocery list:

  • Citrus fruits 
  • Kiwi
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli

It’s important to keep introducing vitamin C rich foods, even if your child doesn’t seem interested in eating them. Some options, like broccoli and tomatoes, may be a tough sell for particularly picky eaters — if your child rejects some options, try to replace them with others instead. 

If the rest of your family eats these foods and talks about how delicious they are, your child might feel a little left out — think of it like positive peer pressure. Everyone else wants to be healthy and enjoy whole fruits and vegetables, so your child, wanting to feel grown up, might see the merit in making healthier choices. 

It may help to allow your child to feel like they play a role in meal preparation. If they’re able to choose sliced kiwi and strawberries to add to their yogurt in the morning, they’ll feel more independent. When your child makes something themselves, they’ll be more likely to enjoy it.

That said, juice cocktail drinks and fruit snacks can be deceiving. They’re usually packaged to look like healthy treats made with real fruit, but in reality, they’re often loaded with added sugar. It’s hard to call something a healthy food when it’s packed with empty calories. Always check the labels.

There are lower-sugar varieties of juice, like orange juice and apple juice, that contain plenty of vitamins without the bulk. Always check the ingredients list and the nutrition facts before you buy juice drinks for your household to ensure you’re grabbing the healthiest options. One helpful tip is to read labels carefully and opt for products that are real juice rather than juice cocktails. 

Multivitamin Supplements

Your child may not be keen on vitamin C-rich foods the moment you start serving them. If they tend to push the fruits and vegetables off of their plate, there’s a good chance there are other vitamins and minerals they aren’t getting enough of through their diet alone. 

If you suspect your child’s picky eating habits may have consequences for their health, talk to your pediatrician about incorporating a multivitamin supplement into your child’s routine. A multivitamin can help them achieve their daily vitamin goals while they’re still learning to love new foods.

Hiya Was Made for Your Kids

Hiya’s children's chewable multivitamin contains vitamin C, as well as 14 other vitamins and minerals that growing children need. Hiya is vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, eco-friendly, and made in the USA. We wanted to make a multivitamin we’d feel good about our kids using, and we know you’ll feel good about your kids using it too.


Vitamin C Deficiency - StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf

The Age of Scurvy | Science History Institute

Scurvy Is Still Present in Developed Countries | National Institutes of Health