What is the difference between vitamin C in acerola and ascorbic acid?

Ascorbic acid is a compound that is used widely nowadays in may industry from food and beverage, cosmetic and pharmarceutical. Many manufacturers claim that synthetic ascorbic acid and natural vitamin C are equivalent because there are no structural differences between these two compounds.

However, there are so many difference between natural vitamin C in acerola and ascorbic acid:

The biggest difference is about the origin of the two kinds. Unlike Vitamin C in acerola which is 100% natural, acid ascorbic is synthetic vitamin C which is created from fermented corn syrup. The original ingredients will be through a process where it is treated with chemical solvents (like acetone and sodium hydroxide) to extract into the final product. The final product is NOT really VITAMIN C, but legally can be called so, basing on its chemical formulation.

In addition, according to Nichirei Foods research, vitamin C in acerola juice is absorbed more efficiently and gets excreted slower than chemically manufactured ascorbic acid. The phytochemicals in the acerola cherry are responsible for this impact.

Research conducted by Nichirei Foods reveals that the natural vitamin C in acerola is absorbed by the body’s cells in greater quantities than is synthetic vitamin C.

Cell absorption of vitamin C requires the generation of vitamin C transporters, which act as gateways to facilitate this absorption (figure 1).

Acerola juice has been found to generate more of these transporters than synthetic vitamin C (figure 2), and this superior capacity for vitamin C transporters generation is due to the polyphenols in acerola. Further, research has revealed that cells absorb vitamin C from acerola more quickly than they do synthetic vitamin C. They take in the same quantity of natural vitamin C in one hour as it takes them to absorb synthetic vitamin C for two hours (figure 3).

  • In addition, since ascorbic acid is synthetically made in the labs, it’s an isolated form of vitamin C without any associated nutrients. Meanwhile, acerola products not only pack with a big amount of natural vitamin C, but also contains other components like Polyphenols, vitamin A, calcium, and certain antioxidants.
  • In terms of price, because ascorbic acid can be made in the lab, using chemicals reactions, manufacturer can produce very big amount of industrial acid ascorbic easily, result in the price of ascorbic acid is cheaper than natural vitamin C, which extract 100% from natural acerola fruit. However, with the rising concern of health-conscious consumers, who always head to a healthier life-style and seek for natural foods instead of synthetic source, many companies starts to use vitamin C in acerola as a healthier alternatives of ascorbic acid.