Buffered vitamin C is a form of the nutrient vitamin C, essential to human bodies, that is combined with calcium, magnesium, and some form of potassium. Sodium may be added as well. For individuals who have digestive trouble as a result of taking straight vitamin C, the buffered type is said to make digestion easier; it often releases more slowly than vitamin C alone does as well. This supplement can also provide the benefits of the added minerals used for buffering.
Humans are one of the only mammals that cannot create vitamin C in the body. The nutrient may be found naturally in many foods, but it may also be necessary to take a daily supplement. Buffered vitamin C can come in the form of a chewable tablet, a capsule, or a powder.
The high acidity levels in vitamin C supplements can cause digestive problems for people who are ill, have a weak stomach, or consume large doses of the vitamin. An upset stomach and diarrhea could result. Studies have suggested that the added minerals in buffered vitamin C can neutralize the acid and cause the supplement to break down slowly. This effect often prevents any unwanted digestion problems.
This milder form of the vitamin may be helpful for individuals who attempt what is called “mega-dosing”. While still a controversial issue amongst health professionals, it is believed that high doses of vitamin C can help cure many ailments, from the common cold to cancer. Vitamin C is water-soluble and can simply flush from the body if it is not used. Buffered supplements are possibly the safest option for those who rely on mega-dosing.
In general, vitamin C could help protect cells from free radicals, thus potentially lowering the risk for cancer and other diseases. Sufficient vitamin C in the diet could also aid in the absorption of other essential nutrients, such as iron and vitamin E. Buffered vitamin C could also help wounds heal faster and ward off infection.
The calcium and magnesium usually added to buffered vitamin C may have their own added health benefits. The two are often paired together in supplements because some magnesium is required in the body for calcium to work effectively. Together, they may strengthen bones and improve cardiovascular health and brain function.
Dosing directions should be clear on buffered vitamin C products, though overdosing on this supplement has not shown any negative effects. If one is considering mega-dosing, it may be a good idea to consult a trained nutritionist or physician. Citrus fruits, leafy greens and hot peppers all contain substantial amounts of vitamin C as well and may be a healthy addition to the diet.