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Ester-C® is a unique form of vitamin C in which “metabolites make the difference.” Indeed, the very process of neutralizing vitamin C introduces metabolites such as threonate, lyxonate, xylonate and dehydroascorbate that are present along with ascorbate.

The first inkling that Ester-C was somehow unique came in the late 1970s when pet owners began giving this very gentle form of vitamin C to their pooches with hip dysplasia. They started seeing their pets regain mobility and pain diminish. These effects were not happening with ordinary vitamin C. In fact, Ester-C doesn’t even look like regular vitamin C. Whereas pure ascorbic acid is crystalline and as white as snow, Ester-C, in its raw form, is dark.

In the early 1980s, scientists, chemists, nutritionists, pharmacologists and clinicians began in-depth research into mineral ascorbates. Their research confirmed the presence and physioligical effectiveness of metabolites in enhancing the cellular uptake and absorption of vitamin C.

The researchers learned that the body changes some of the vitamin C we ingest into metabolites that have physiological actions different from those of vitamin C itself.

The researchers developed a water-based manufacturing process in which carefully controlled amounts of vitamin C undergo structural changes similar to those that happen in the body.

Read: Vitamin Code

The resulting product is a blend of a nonacidic mineral-buffered ascorbate and vitamin C metabolites. Working together in concert fashion to speed full cellular absorption and use of vitamin C, these metabolites influence how vitamin C is used in the body. For example, upon being ingested, vitamin C is first broken down into dehydroascorbate (DHA) and converted to 2,3-diketogulonate. This in turn is converted to smaller fragments including lyxonate, xylonate and threonate. The latest research shows that threonate and other metabolites, some of which have probably not even been identified yet, influence the uptake and use of vitamin C not just in the blood but in white blood cells and other cells of the body that so critically depend upon vitamin C.

Yet, levels of these important metabolites may not rise significantly until very large doses of vitamin C are ingested. This returns us full circle to the stomach gentle qualities of Ester-C that enable larger doses.

Much of the knowledge that we have on the profound influence of threonate and other vitamin C metabolites on the body’s uptake and utilization of vitamin C is due to the work of Dr. Anthony Verlangieri, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Mississippi, whose research has shown that threonate and other C metabolites are directly involved with increased blood levels of vitamin C.

Read: Orange Stops Stroke

Jonathon Wright, MD, in his 1990 study, compared the absorption, retention and utilization of Ester-C with ordinary ascorbic acid. In his study, Dr Wright had 12 men eating a low-vitamin C diet for one week. He then divided them into three groups of four. The first group received high-dose Ester-C, the second a high-dose ascorbic acid supplement (providing the same amount of vitamin C). The third group received a placebo. Plasma, white blood cells and urine levels of the vitamin were measured 4x a day. Among men receiving Ester-C their plasma vitamin C levels went up by 50% over the control group and 30% over the plain ascorbic acid group. White blood cells levels were four times higher than both groups. The Ester-C group excreted 450% less vitamin and 500% less oxalate (the breakdown product linked to kidney stones when excreted in high quantities) in their urine than the ascorbic acid group.

These results were confirmed by researchers at the University of California at San Diego. In their study, the late Dr Howard Hunt, professor emeritus, and Dr Thomas Rice of the Life Management Group worked with men enrolled in a corporate fitness program to determine whether Ester-C would significantly increase tissue levels of vitamin C in infection-fighting and immunological cells, as measured by uptake of ascorbate into white blood cells. They concluded that Ester-C calcium ascorbate/threonate complex provides a superb method for building up vitamin C reserves in the important immune cells of the blood even when modest level of supplement are used. The standardized threonate group had even more spectacular increases of ascorbate in the cells.

Hunt, H. & Rice, T. “Comparative efficacy of Ester-C® calcium ascorbate.” March 1995 by The Life Management Group, Inc., 3262 Holiday Court, Suite 204, La Jolla, CA 92037.
Lancet; 2001;March 3;357:657-663.
Wright, J.V., Suen, R.M., Kirk, F.R. “Comparative studies of Ester-C® versus L-ascorbic acid.” International Clinical Nutrition Review, 1990; 10: 267-271.
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