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Safety and tolerance of Ester-C® compared with regular ascorbic acid

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The goal of this randomized, double-blind crossover clinical trial in 50 healthy volunteers sensitive to acidic foods was to evaluate whether Ester-C® calcium ascorbate causes fewer epigastric adverse effects than are produced by regular ascorbic acid (AA). Volunteers were randomly separated into 2 groups of 25. The study comprised an observation period of 9 days (phase 1 medication for 3 consecutive days, washout phase for 3 consecutive days, phase 2 medication for 3 consecutive days). Participants took 1000 mg vitamin C as Ester-C during phase 1 of the study followed by 1000 mg of vitamin C as AA during phase 2, or vice versa. During the course of the study, 3 examinations for the evaluation of epigastric adverse effects were performed (on days 0, 3, and 9). Participants used a diary to record epigastric adverse effects on a daily basis. In total, 28 (56%) of 50 participants reported 88 epigastric adverse effects of mild to moderate intensity. Of these 88 adverse effects, 33 (37.5%) occurred after intake of Ester-C and 55 (62.5%) were noted after intake of AA. The tolerability of Ester-C was rated “very good” by 72% of participants, whereas AA was rated “very good” by only 54%. This difference is statistically significant (P < .05). Investigators concluded that Ester-C compared with AA caused significantly fewer epigastric adverse effects in participants sensitive to acidic foods and that Ester-C is much better tolerated.

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Gruenwald, J., Graubaum, HJ., Busch, R. et al. Safety and tolerance of Ester-C® compared with regular ascorbic acid. Adv Therapy 23, 171–178 (2006).

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  • vitamin C
  • Ester-C
  • acidic food