I really prefer natural products whenever possible. Nature knows how to maintain a balance that we don’t see with synthetics. For example, the blood thinning coumarins and alfalfa are balanced by the blood clotting vitamin K. The coffee bean, which contains the stimulant caffeine is coated with a fleshy coating before processing that contains a sedative. The upper portion of the ephedra plant is a stimulant while the roots are a sedative. Green tea contains a small amount of the stimulant caffeine and the sedative amino acid theanine.
Natural vitamin C sources have a big advantage over synthetic vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in the fact that natural sources contain synergistic compounds and often contain natural stabilizers not found in synthetic C supplements unless added. For example, natural sources of vitamin C also contain synergistic bioflavonoids that must be added to synthetic C. Natural sources of vitamin C can also contain other antioxidants, such as polyphenols that protect the natural vitamin C from oxidation.
My favorite source of vitamin C is amla berry, also known as Indian gooseberry. The vitamin C in amla berry is actually 12 times stronger than synthetic vitamin C and is stable due to the content of polyphenols. Additional advantages of amla include antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory effects. Amla protect the DNA from heavy metal damage, and significantly raises intracellular levels super oxide dismutase (SOD). SOD is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune stimulatory enzyme.
My second choice is acerola cherry. This plant is thought to have originated from the Yucatan. Studies have shown widely varying rates of vitamin C from lower than amla to higher than camu camu. As with amla berry though, the vitamin C in acerola cherry is stabilized by polyphenols.
My third choice would be rose hips, which are a great source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.
There is an herb known as camu camu that is native to South America. Although it is sometimes referred to as the highest plant source of vitamin C in the world. camu camu does have one disadvantage. Camu camu is not stable and the vitamin C content rapidly deteriorates, especially before drying.
Another advantages of natural vitamin C sources is the fact that they are also sources of other vitamins needed by the body. They also provide amino acids, minerals and other nutrients that synthetic vitamin C does not offer.