Is Vitamin C Calcium? No. Vitamin C and Calcium are two different micronutrients that play unique roles in your health and wellness.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that plays a role in immune function and skin health and aids in Iron absorption.✝
Calcium is a mineral that helps support healthy bones.✝
Getting Vitamin C and Calcium from your diet is best, but you can also find these important nutrients in a convenient supplemental form.
Your health and wellness depend on getting adequate fuel. In addition to the macronutrients — fat, protein, and carbohydrates — providing your body with an array of vitamins and minerals is key to its optimal function. It’s important to prioritize these essential nutrients as part of your everyday diet and sometimes adding a supplement can help fill in any gaps.
And more specifically, questions like is Vitamin C Calcium? Let’s examine the differences between Vitamin C and Calcium, including the unique roles they play in your health and where you can find them in your diet.
Basics of Vitamin C and Calcium
Vitamin C and Calcium are two different nutrients but both are very important in maintaining the optimal health and function of your body. We’ve outlined the basic characteristics and natural sources of them to help provide clarification.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient. This means that rather than accumulating and being stored in fat cells (like the fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E, and K) it dissolves in water and any unused amount is excreted from your body. This also means it needs to be replenished regularly by consuming Vitamin C rich foods or supplements.
Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system, aids in Iron absorption, and is an antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals in the body. Furthermore, Vitamin C is necessary for the body to produce collagen, which helps support skin health.†
While Vitamin C is a vitamin, Calcium on the other hand is a mineral. In fact, Calcium is the most abundant mineral found in the body.
Calcium has many roles in the body, and it is most often linked to bone health. Calcium helps support strong and healthy bones. In fact, adequate Calcium throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.✝
Vitamin C provides immune system support, antioxidant support, and supports collagen synthesis.✝
The RDA for Vitamin C for adults is:
75 mg for women 19+
90 mg for men 19+
85 mg for pregnancy
120 mg for lactation
Find Vitamin C in foods like citrus fruits (e.g., oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes), berries, tomatoes, broccoli, and leafy greens.
All About Calcium
Calcium helps support and maintain strong bones. It also works alongside other nutrients like Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K in your diet to support bone health.†
The RDA for Calcium for adults is:
1,000 mg for women 19-50
1,200 mg for women 51+
1,000 mg for pregnancy and lactation
1,000 mg for men 19-70
1,200 mg for men 71+
You can find Calcium in foods like Calcium-fortified milk (dairy and non-dairy), Calcium-set tofu, leafy green vegetables, legumes, yogurt, cheese, nuts, and seeds.
Key Differences Between Vitamin C and Calcium
Now that you know the answer to whether Vitamin C is Calcium is not, let’s hone in on some more of their differences.
Regularly getting sources of both Vitamin C and Calcium is essential for health as they each offer unique benefits to your body. In addition to one being a vitamin and one being a mineral, these two nutrients have some other key differences.
First, let’s discuss their absorption and bioavailability. This refers to how thoroughly nutrients are absorbed, and ultimately utilized, when you eat them.
The absorption rate of Calcium from natural sources and fortified foods is around 30%. This means that 70% is not absorbed and instead is excreted. Of course, how much is absorbed varies by the composition of the food you’re eating.
For instance, certain plant compounds called phytates and oxalates can bind with Calcium and reduce the amount your body can absorb. These “anti-nutrients” are found in foods like sweet potatoes, spinach, rhubarb, beans, and collard greens. But eating a wide variety of Calcium-containing foods is a great way to make sure you’re getting enough regardless.
Additionally, caffeine consumption, Phosphorus intake (from foods like dairy, meat, poultry, nuts, beans, and seafood), and low intake of Vitamin D can also reduce Calcium absorption.
As we discussed above, Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, which means that humans do not have the ability to make Vitamin C in the body themselves - so we have to get it from food. Vitamin C requires water in order to be absorbed by your body.
The amount of Vitamin C that can be utilized in your body is tightly controlled by its intestinal absorption, its transportation through your tissues, and its reabsorption by your kidneys.
Evidence shows that when you ingest doses of up to 200 mg, 100% of that Vitamin C is absorbed by your body. Doses higher than that have a lower absorption rate. For a frame of reference, a one-cup (240 ml) serving of orange juice contains 380 mg of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is also key to increasing the bioavailability of Iron.
Understanding the Relationship between Vitamin C and Calcium
All of the vitamins and minerals in our diet work together for the benefit of our health and wellness. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re including a wide variety of sources of these micronutrients in your diet. One of the top multivitamin benefits is that you can find multiple nutrients in one serving.
Taking Supplements With Vitamin C and Calcium
It’s always best to prioritize your nutrient intake from whole food sources. However, if you don’t eat a variety of foods or are concerned about certain nutrients, supplements can be a helpful addition to your wellness regimen. When considering how to choose a multivitamin, a good first step is to ensure it contains what you need.
For instance, Vitamin C and Calcium are both essential to get each day. They are sometimes found together in multivitamin products but can also be taken as individual supplements.
The form of Calcium also matters. Take Calcium carbonate with food as your stomach acid can help digest it as you eat. Calcium citrate can be taken with or without food.
Calcium supplements may also interact with certain medications. Speak with your healthcare provider to determine whether you should avoid taking any prescriptions you have at the same time.
Vitamin C supplements can be taken at any time of the day, although they’re best taken with food. Note that it is a water-soluble nutrient so take it with a glass of water to boost absorption.
Overall, consistency is key when taking supplements. Speak with your healthcare provider regarding questions about your personalized dietary supplement routine.
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Lauren specializes in plant-based living and vegan and vegetarian diets for all ages. She also enjoys writing about parenting and a wide variety of health, environmental, and nutrition topics. Find her at www.laurenpanoff.com.
Kalyn is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist and a Science & Health Educator with the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. Her experience in the field of nutrition prior to joining Pharmavite has included community and public health education, media dietetics, and clinical practice in the areas of disordered eating, diabetes, women’s health, and general wellness. Kalyn received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona, and completed her dietetic supervised practice in Maricopa County, AZ, with an emphasis on public health. Kalyn is certified in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, where she is an active member in addition to memberships in Dietitians in Functional Medicine, Women’s Health Dietitians, and the International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians.