The chemical formula of synthetic vitamin C and natural vitamin C found in fruits and vegetables is identical.
However, fruits and vegetables are rich in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), fibres and biologically active compounds (such as bioflavonoids), which improve the body’s ability to efficiently absorb vitamin C1. A study involving 430 children showed that administering a combination of Echinacea (50 mg/ml), vitamin C (10 mg/ml) and propolis (50 mg/ml) significantly reduced the incidence and duration of upper respiratory infections2. The study, which was performed over the duration of 12 weeks in winter, involved children aged 1-5. The group taking vitamin C together with biologically active compounds from Echinacea and propolis, had 55% lower incidence of disease compared to the placebo group (138 episodes in the substance group/308 in the placebo group). On the individual level incidence was also by 50% lower (on average 0.9 times over 12 weeks/1.8 times for placebo group), and the number of sick days was 62% lower (on average 2.1 day/5.4 days for placebo group).
- Anitra C. Carr*, Margreet C. M. Vissers. Synthetic or Food-Derived Vitamin C—Are They Equally Bioavailable?Nutrients. 2013 Nov; 5(11): 4284–4304.
- Cohen HA1, Varsano I, Kahan E, Sarrell EM, Uziel Y. Effectiveness of an herbal preparation containing echinacea, propolis, and vitamin C in preventing respiratory tract infections in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004 Mar;158(3):217-21.