By: Leigh Matthews
Vitamin C is well known as a must for healthy immune function, but not every vitamin C supplement provides the same benefits. For instance, some vitamin C is in the form of ascorbic acid, while some is offered in a buffered, non-acidic calcium ascorbate form that is gentler on the stomach. Vitamin C may also be taken as a stand-alone supplement, or it may be offered along with beneficial bioflavonoids that protect it from oxidation by free radicals. This allows the vitamin C to direct more of its therapeutic activity to the body.
BioCgel™ from Natural Factors is a high-absorption, pH-neutral calcium ascorbate formula that is easy on the stomach. As a result, it’s a great option for anyone who wants a higher dose of this essential vitamin.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an essential water-soluble vitamin that your body can’t make itself. That means you have to get it from your diet, ideally, or from supplemental sources where fruits and vegetables are in limited supply. The trouble with stand-alone vitamin C supplements, however, is that you miss out on many of the benefits from the diversity of antioxidant compounds in fresh foods.
BioCgel goes beyond vitamin C as it is enhanced with citrus bioflavonoids and the proprietary whole fruit blend BerryRich®, providing the exceptional protection of natural fruit antioxidants. BerryRich is a high-ORAC (a method used to measure the antioxidant capacity of different foods), full-spectrum antioxidant blend of grape, pomegranate, strawberry, cranberry, blueberry, raspberry, and bilberry that naturally enhances the effects of vitamin C. These berries contain phytonutrients, the beneficial chemicals produced by plants, which promote healthy aging and protect cellular health.
The addition of citrus bioflavonoids enables BioCgel to help protect cells against oxidative damage caused by free radicals and to support immune function. Bioflavonoids not only fight oxidation, strengthen capillaries (the smallest blood vessels), and optimize collagen health, they are also key to effective vitamin C absorption.
Along with increasing the body’s absorption of ascorbic acid, citrus bioflavonoids such as hesperidin support healthy blood vessels by increasing the production of nitric oxide and the vasodilator prostacyclin. For example, hesperidin appears to play a significant role in the benefits that orange juice has on blood vessels. And, by supporting blood flow, vitamin C and citrus bioflavonoids help deliver much-needed nutrients to tissues around the body, helping to bolster the immune system.
In addition, vitamin C boosts levels of the antioxidant glutathione within cells. Glutathione and the antioxidants from BerryRich help the body counteract free radical damage to cells. Less free radical damage means healthier cells and tissues!
Vitamin C also supports immune function more directly by increasing the production of lymphocytes (white blood cells) that fight bacteria and viruses. Vitamin C has long been recognized as a good preventative for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), also known as the common cold. A population-based study of 1,509 participants found that women aged 20–60 years old had almost a third (31%) less risk of URTIs when their intake of vitamin C was at least 135 mg per day from food, compared to women with much lower vitamin C intake.
Finally, vitamin C is vital for healthy gums and teeth as it is needed to build collagen. Collagen is the protein that forms most of your gum tissue and provides the scaffolding on which bones and teeth are built. It is also essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier. BioCgel offers a convenient way to support collagen formation.
BioCgel is a non-acidic, buffered, pH-neutral source of vitamin C that is gentle on the stomach. It pairs this essential nutrient with a highly concentrated fruit blend and full-spectrum of citrus bioflavonoids to further enhance the effects of vitamin C. This makes Natural Factors BioCgel a great choice for supporting immune health, especially for those who experience gastrointestinal upset from plain ascorbic acid.
Each softgel delivers a combination of 500 mg of calcium ascorbate, 50 mg of BerryRich, and 10 mg of citrus bioflavonoids in a formula that is free of artificial preservatives, colours, sweeteners, dairy, wheat, and yeast.
 Morand C, Dubray C, Milenkovic D, et al. Hesperidin contributes to the vascular protective effects of orange juice: a randomized crossover study in healthy volunteers. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011; 93:73-80.
 Fondell E, Bälter O, Rothman KJ, et al. Dietary intake and supplement use of vitamins C and E and upper respiratory tract infection. J Am Coll Nutr. 2011; 30(4):248-258.