September 10, 2021

GEM vs. Emergen-C: What's the Difference?

Supporting your immune system is a vital part of maintaining good health, and eating the right foods is a crucial piece of the puzzle. Vitamin C has long been thought of as an essential part of a daily diet, which is why Emergen-C is often thought of as a way to boost immunity and reduce the risk of chronic illness. However, there are additional ingredients that benefit other areas of health beyond simply what vitamin C can provide. 

That’s why taking GEM as a daily essential offers you more in terms of protecting your immune system and overall health. Additionally, Emergen-C is most often consumed as a powdered supplement stirred into water or juice to drink, which isn’t as convenient as eating a daily chewable. 

There's no doubt Emergen-C powder has benefits that offer immune support, but it’s best to compare it with the value of a daily essential like GEM that can give your body so much more. 

What to Know about GEM Gut Essentials

GEM Gut Essentials provide whole body natural immune support in individual chewable bites. All ingredients are plant-based without any added sugar, soy, guten, or animal products. There are no artificial flavorings or synthetic ingredients. The daily essential is made up of clean foods to support nutrition and boost immune health. 

The Gut Essentials formula is designed to work holistically and nourish the whole body. Rather than solely focusing on providing immune system support through vitamin C alone, as with Emergen-C powder, eating a GEM bite aids your health through a specific combination of ingredients that work best together.

Benefit of GEM Gut Essentials

Each ingredient included in GEM Gut Essentials offers a different benefit that supports and strengthens the immune system. Beta-glucan, prebiotics, probiotics, vitamin D3, zinc, and turmeric are among the natural ingredients used. Here’s a closer look at the active role each plays in our dietary supplement.

Beta-Glucan for Upper Respiratory Health

There are many beta-glucan health benefits to be aware of, including supporting upper respiratory health and easing cold symptoms. Research shows its effectiveness in maintaining immune function by reducing upper respiratory tract symptoms, as well as being linked to mood improvements and reduced fatigue.1

Prebiotics and Probiotics Benefit Gut Health

Maintaining a healthy gut is one of the keys to overall health. The Gut Essentials daily supplement contains both prebiotic fibers and probiotics bacteria strains to promote health digestion and a good environment for healthy bacteria to grow, both which supports a healthy immune system.

Vitamin D3 Activates the Immune System

Many adults lack vitamin D and rely on supplements to support their immune system and help the body fight acute respiratory illnesses. Evidence shows vitamin D deficiency occurs in 42% of adults and has been linked to several chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.2Fortunately, vitamin D3 is part of the Gut Essentials formula. Whereas, vitamin D is only available in a certain variety of the Emergen-C offering. 

Zinc Shortens Cold Duration

Sourced from natural mineral salts and pumpkin seeds, zinc also helps to stimulate the immunity system and has potential to reduce the duration of the common cold. Research has been suggested to shorten the duration of a cold by an average of 33% among seven randomized trials.3

Turmeric Supports Good Digestion

Turmeric is a Indian spice that has been a well-recognized ingredient found in teas and coffees known for its health benefits. As a powerful antioxidant, it supports good digestion, promotes regularity, and supports skin health as well. 

In addition to these vitamins, elements, and compounds that are part of GEM Gut Essentials formula, there are other ingredients included that help with nutrient absorption, antioxidant protection, and metabolism boosts. These include black pepper, citrus, and stone fruit, all of which naturally adds flavor to the daily chewable as well.

For acute immune support, eat up to three bites per day for at least one week or to maintain a strong immune system, enjoy one bite daily in the morning or afternoon. All the ingredients have been measured in the amounts most beneficial to support your immune system and benefit your overall health. Also, without any added sugar or artificial ingredients that many other supplements, including Emergen-C contains, you’ll know exactly what you’re putting into your body and can feel good about enjoying real, plant-based foods.

Benefits of Emergen-C

Emergen-C is a powdered supplement product that contains high doses of vitamin C and B vitamins to support the immune system and improve energy levels. This vitamin C supplement is available in single-serving packets and must be mixed in with water to consume. It has a navel orange flavor and is used for its immune system support. There are now also gummy and chewable forms of this product as well.

The formula contains 1,000 mg of vitamin C, 10 mg of B6, and 25 mcg of vitamin B12. However, the drink also contains six grams of sugar per serving. If you’re already concerned about your daily sugar intake, Emergen-C can easily add up. It already accounts for one-quarter of the recommended limit of added sugar per day allocated to help reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity.4

In addition to the original Emergen-C formulas, there are other varieties that provide additional benefits, including Immune Plus with vitamin D and extra zinc, Probiotics Plus to support gut health, and Energy Plus with caffeine from green tea, among others. To reap the spectrum of these benefits, you’d have to consume several different packets per day. 

Though beneficial individually, Emergen-C doesn’t provide as great of value as GEM Immune Essentials, which includes all these ingredients in just one bite. Make it part of your morning or afternoon routine to promote immune health.

How Does Emergen-C Support the Immune System? 

In Emergen-C, the high amount of vitamin C is what’s deemed the most impactful for boosting immunity. It can be effective for those who may have a vitamin C deficiency as a way to incorporate it into a daily diet. 

Vitamin C is known to be effective in helping to prevent or shorten the duration of colds, but there is limited research that supports how well it reduces the risk of catching a cold for the average adult. One study showed it only reduced the risk of cold by 8% in adults. Although another study shows it can be much more effective for those who undergo brief periods of extreme physical exercise.5

Emergen-C also contains B vitamins, vitamin D, and zinc, all helpful in supporting overall health. People with diets rich in whole grains, darky, leafy green vegetables, legumes, eggs, and meat maintain higher levels of B vitamins to help support immunity. The value of B vitamins, including B6 and B12, is that they metabolize food to improve energy levels. 

Conversely, deficiencies have been linked to reduced immune responses. Antibody production may be directly impaired. Additionally, lack of B vitamins has also been linked to influencing tumor growth and disease processes, as well as changes to the immune system in elderly persons with uremia or rheumatoid arthritis.6

Zinc is another Emergen-C ingredient necessary for the development and function of the immune system. And lastly, vitamin D also plays a role in immunity and has been recognized as a factor in reducing the common cold. Though not available through the original Emergen-C original, the Immune Plus formula offers the vitamin D supplement many are missing from their daily diet.

Side Effects of Emergen-C

Though generally harmless, Emergen-C formulas can also have side effects, especially when taken in high doses. Ingesting too much vitamin C, for example, can lead to symptoms, such as stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. One study even suggests increased vitamin C intake on a daily basis is associated with the risk of kidney stones among men.7 

There are similar side effects when taking too much B6 or zinc on a regular basis. Taking more than 50 mg of vitamin B6 daily could be cause for concern for nerve damage. Although there is limited evidence to support a true link between excessive doses and vitamin B6, people should err on the side of caution, particularly if experiencing symptoms like tingling in the hands and feet.8

In general, when using more than one packet of Emergen-C per day, it’s important to consider any excessive ingredient amounts, as well as the total grams of sugar, being added to your diet. 

A Daily Essential to Support Your Everyday Immunity 

Emergen-C provides value by including many essential vitamins important to boost immune health. However, there are areas where it’s lacking in nutrients, which are naturally found in GEM Gut Essentials chewables. Plus, GEM Gut Essentials are free of soy, dairy, gluten, and animal products that support those with food allergies and sensitivities. 

Since you can get everything you need in one bite versus having to rely on different variations of Emergen-C formulas, it makes adding this daily bite to your routine healthier and more convenient. Enjoy whole food goodness that honors holistic health by giving you everything you need and nothing you don’t. Eat your way to better health and give your immune system the boost it needs to function properly.


  1. SupplementWatch & GLH Nutrition, LLC. Talbott, Shawn and Talbot,t, Julie. Effect of BETA 1, 3/1, 6 GLUCAN on Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Symptoms and Mood State in Marathon Athletes.
  2. Department of Public Health & Social Work, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock, PA. Forrest, Kimberly Y Z, and Stuhldreher, Wendy L. Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D deficiency in US adults.
  3. Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Finland. Hemila, Harri. Zinc lozenges and the common cold: a meta-analysis comparing zinc acetate and zinc gluconate, and the role of zinc dosage.
  4. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Added Sugar in Diet.
  5. Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Finland, Hemila, Harri and Chalker, Elizabeth. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold.
  6. Nutritional Immunology Laboratory, USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA. Vitamin B6 and immune competence.
  7. Division of Nephrology, Department of Medical Sciences, Columbus-Gemelli University Hospital, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy, et. al. Merraro, MD, Pietro Manual, et. al. Total, Dietary, and Supplemental Vitamin C Intake and Risk of Incident Kidney Stones.
  8. Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, University Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada, et. al. Ghavanini, Amer A. and Kimpinski, Kurt. Revisiting the evidence for neuropathy caused by pyridoxine deficiency and excess.

This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and contains trusted sources.

Our goal at GEM is to give readers up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics. GEM content is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and articles undergo an extensive review process.

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