Fresher and Cheaper: Make Your Own Vitamin C!

Vitamin C is great for you (as pirates who got scurvy due to the lack of it could tell you), but it loses much of its potency sitting on your grocer's shelf. Fresh Vitamin C is not only much more healthy for you, but its 1/5-1/10 of the price if you make it rather than buy it. Here's some simple tips on how to make your own Vitamin C tablets. (Below the fold....)

I came across this recipe from Chemsoft, and I think its a great idea. On the website is a calucator which tells you how much of which ingredient you need to end up with a certain amount of Vitamin C. Very smart!

This recipe makes effervescent Vitamin C powder which mixes into a yummy drink, or into fruit juice, etc. Makes the equivalent of 250 tablets.

Equipment needed:
Gram scale
Whisk or mixer
Plastic flask with tight sealed lid

Ingredients: (buy unopened, of course)
500g Ascorbic Acid
62.2 g Sodiumhydrogencarbonate
93.6g Calciumcarbonate (precipitated)

Mix the Ascorbic Acid powder thoroughly with the fine powder of Calciumcarbonate using a spoon, then add the Sodiumhydrogencarbonate and mix again (with an electric kitchen mixer, if available). Be careful to use dry equipment and containers. Fill the mixture into (several) at most 250 g size dry, soft, plastic powder flasks with a tight screw cap. Open only to withdraw your dayly ration. Commercial (real) tablets come in one to two gram Vitamine C portions. That corresponds to a tea spoon of your powder.

This should cost about $5 to make.


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This confuses me. First of all, vitamin C is the same thing as ascorbic acid ("no-scurvy acid"), isn't it?

How does vitamin C lose potency on the shelf? If I buy a pill in a bottle which claims to have 1000mg of vitamin C, are you saying that some of that 1000mg has in fact degraded into something which is no longer vitamin C? The recipe you gave calls for ascorbic acid in powdered form. If ascorbic acid made into a pill form degrades on the store shelf, wouldn't it degrade just as much on the store shelf in powdered form?


Also, a comment: If you want to save money, as described above, but you're too lazy to measure out 62.2 grams of sodiumhydrogencarbonate and so on, just use the ascorbic acid powder. No effervescence, but it is still yummy in drinks in combination with other flavors.

Its the addition of other things (like calcium, dextose, fillers, gelatin, etc etc) in commercial pills that's the problem. As you state, ascorbic acid is ascorbic acid. If store-bought pills were just that, problem averted. And, yeah, if you like really tart things, just the AC is also the same ends to the means. Just mix it well in some juice, should be tasty!

Vitamin C oxydizes in air. From what I've (only) heard, this is a bigger problem than heating it (in tea, for example).

am i missing something? if you want some fresh, cheap vitamin C, what's wrong with just eating a piece of fruit?

Sure, eat fruit! Fruit is actually quite expensive if you are taking it for vitamin c content. This gives you over 600g Vitamin C powder. One orange has about 50mg Vitamin C per 100 grams pure pulp. Eating fresh fruit it great for many reasons, but this is much cheaper if you are looking specifically for vitamin c supplementation.