Does Emergen C Help With Altitude Sickness?

Does Emergen C Help With Altitude Sickness

If you're a traveler, hiker, or climber venturing into high-altitudes, you might be considering taking Emergen-C like some others. As a supplement maker with years of experience in the high elevations of Colorado, we'll reveal everything you need to about if Emergen-C is good for altitude sickness.


Emergen C is a dietary supplement often used for sickness that contains high doses of vitamin C — 1000mg per serving — along with other vitamins and minerals.

It is often marketed as an immune-boosting and energy-enhancing product. Emergen C comes in powdered form, which can be mixed with water to create a fizzy drink in flavors such as orange, raspberry, and citrus. 

Does Emergen C Help With Altitude Sickness?

Is Emergen-C good for high altitude or can it help with altitude sickness?

In our review of research on Emergen-C for altitude sickness we found some evidence it could help, but also some concerns. By looking at the science, most of the evidence is rooted from one ingredient, the vitamin C in Emergen-C.

Here's the science of Vitamin C for altitude sickness:

1. May Improve Acute Mountain Sickness
A 2018 study showed vitamin C supplementation to reduce serum uric acid, which is increased at high altitudes.³

2. Improve Mountaineers At High Altitude
Lipid-soluble antioxidant vitamins, including 1000mg of vitamin C, were shown to improve the physiological profile of mountaineers during a Mt. Everest ascend.⁴

3. Antioxidants Fighting High Altitude Oxidative Stress
Research shows antioxidants, which vitamin C is classified as, to be a promising approach for high altitudes.⁵

To conclude, due to the high amounts of vitamin C in Emergen-C which is also considered an antioxidant, there's evidence to show some benefits to your body in high altitude conditions.

On the downside, we have some concerns over Emergen-C's formula including synthetic vitamins such as ascorbic acid.

What Causes Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a result of lower oxygen in high elevations. 

The body's inability to adapt, oxidative stress, depletion of nutrients, and dehydration combined lead to many symptoms including headaches and extreme fatigue.

Symptoms of Altitude Sickness:

  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • dizziness or confusion
  • fatigue or tiredness
  • difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • trouble breathing

The Role of Vitamin C In Altitude Sickness

As disclosed in the research above, vitamin C has some promising benefits to the body when exposed to high altitudes. Three studies showed some kind of relation of vitamin C to high altitude physiological effects.[³][⁴][⁵]

According to WebMD, Vitamin C is essential in many of the body's functions including the immune system, healing, maintenance, detoxification, and antioxidant protection.⁶

Synthetic Vitamin Warning

Emergen-C uses a high amount of synthetic vitamins, ascorbic acid as the source of vitamin C as being the most significant.

Synthetic vitamins such as ascorbic acid are missing important flavonoids and supporting nutrients leading to lower absorption rates and sometimes worse results than natural forms. Many of these synthetic vitamins are also sometimes derived from potentially harmful and GMO sources.

Synthetic Vitamins Used In Emergen-C:⁷

  • Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid)
  • Vitamin B1 (as thiamine hydrochloride)
  • Vitamin B2 (as riboflavin-5'-phosphate)
  • Vitamin B5 (as calcium pantothenate)
  • Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine hydrochloride)
  • Vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin)

The amount of synthetic ingredients used in Emergen-C is concerning. We don't believe in using synthetic vitamins, and science even proves them questionable.

Added Sugar Danger In Emergen-C

Many people avoid added sugars as there's so many negative health consequences of it in your diet. 

Each packet of Emergen-C contains a high amount of sugar, 6 grams of sugar. On top of it, when you're taking multiple packs a day or week, this amount of sugar adds up.

Some of downsides of sugar include:⁸

  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • energy crash
  • spiked insulin levels
  • acne
  • depression
  • hormone issues

For these reasons, we don't think added sugar is a good thing in any product. It's best to avoid sugar or at least minimize it in your daily consumption, especially in using drinks and powders such as Emergen-C for altitude sickness.

Other Natural Vitamins for High Altitude

In addition to vitamin C, there's other vitamins, herbs, and antioxidants that can aid your body at high altitudes.

4 Vitamins For High Altitude:

1. Glutathione - Glutathione, which is often used in IV's, was discovered in research to be depleted by 45% in high altitudes.¹⁰ As the body's master antioxidant, it's a great nutrient to replenish and fight oxidative stress at altitudes too.

2. Ginkgo Biloba - While there's some conflicting studies, Ginkgo Biloba was shown to reduce some effects in high-altitudes.¹¹

3. DHM - Part of the extract of Japanese Raisin, this flavonoid called DHM was proven to improve high-altitude performance.¹²

4. Glutamine - Well known in athletic circles, glutamine was shown to improve cognition in hypoxia which is lower oxygen levels. Glutamine is also used for enhancing hydration.¹³

Back by science, these ingredients are great to look out for in altitude supplements to help your mountain journeys.

Popular Chewable For High Altitudes

Altitude Tablets Vitamin C
First popularized in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Zaca makes a chewable that helps you bounce back faster. The ultimate companion for mountain adventurers, these chewable tablets help you rehydrate, replenish, and recover. Formulated with premium and potent herbs, vitamins, and antioxidants including Glutathione and Japanese Raisin. With easy-to-use packets, conveniently take 2-4 chewables on-the-go each day. Try Zaca's chewable supplement today to fuel you body with vitality during travels.


1. Emergen-C Super Orange Original Immune Support Formula
2. Emergen-C Altitude Sickness - Dietary Supplement Vitamin
3. Effect of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on High-Altitude Hyperuricemia in Young Men Initially Migrating to High Altitude
4. Acute mountain sickness; prophylactic benefits of antioxidant vitamin supplementation at high altitude
5. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure
6. The Benefits of Vitamin C - What can vitamin C do for your health?
7. Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamins – What’s the Big Difference?
8. Chewable Electrolytes That Aren't Loaded With Sugar
9. Emergen-c Ingredients
10. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
11. Ginkgo biloba decreases acute mountain sickness in people ascending to high altitude at Ollagüe (3696 m) in northern Chile
12. Dihydromyricetin Improves Physical Performance under Simulated High Altitude
13. The Possible Importance of Glutamine Supplementation to Mood and Cognition in Hypoxia from High Altitude