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.
Vitamin C is another example. Natural vitamin C sources have several advantages over synthetic sources. For example, natural sources of vitamin C also contain synergistic bioflavonoids that must be added to synthetic C. Natural sources of vitamin C also contain compounds that help prevent deterioration of the vitamin C, which again is not true of synthetic vitamin C.
My favorite source of vitamin C is actually amla berry, also known as Indian gooseberry. The vitamin C in amla berry is actually 12 times stronger than synthetic vitamin C. Polyphenols in amla protect the vitamin C from oxidation, making it extremely stable. 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 for a natural vitamin C source 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, the vitamin C in acerola cherry is stabilized by polyphenols.
Rosehips would be my third choice for an herbal source of vitamin C. Rosehips also help improve adrenal function with its other nutrients.
Camu camu is native to South America. It is considered the highest plant source of vitamin C in the world. Camu camu does have one disadvantage though. Camu camu does not have the stability of amla, or acerola cherry.
Other advantages of natural vitamin C sources are the fact that they are also sources of other vitamins. And they also provide amino acids, minerals, and other nutrients that synthetic vitamin C does not offer.