5 Science-Backed Mental Benefits of Vitamin C

A picture of oranges - representing mental benefits of vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that is required for many bodily functions. Its primary function is to act as an antioxidant.

The link between vitamin C and mood might seem surprising, but people who have vitamin C deficiency often feel fatigued or depressed. Some studies have shown that people who have lower than normal vitamin C levels found that their mood improved after they received vitamin C.

But even for people who aren’t known to have low vitamin C levels, taking a vitamin C supplement might help mood. In some studies, participants reported that vitamin C lowered their anxiety levels.

This article will be helpful for understanding more about the health benefits of vitamin C and what it does in the body.

1. Vitamin C Wards Off Mental Fatigue

There are some studies that show that there is a link between Vitamin C intake and fatigue. These studies found that some people who reported high amounts of fatigue had lower levels of vitamin C.

More specifically, Vitamin C has been studied for its effects on the adrenal glands, which are part of your endocrine system. Adrenals are responsible for releasing hormones to help regulate your metabolism and stress response.

When the adrenals become depleted or fatigued due to chronic stress or adrenal fatigue, this can lead to low energy levels. Since our adrenals contain a high amount of vitamin C, supplementing the nutrient can aid in their function, and consequently, increase your energy production.

Some people who have low levels of Vitamin C may also experience feelings of fatigue because it’s needed in order to make adrenaline – one of the most important hormones that are released during times of high stress.

2. Vitamin C Helps Fight Symptoms of Depression

Vitamin C has been traditionally thought of as a cure for the common cold. However, it is now being recognized as a possible aid against depressive symptoms. There are studies that prove that vitamin C has an effect on the levels of serotonin in the brain, which is what many depression drugs target.

In one study from last year, scientists found that people who had higher intakes of vitamin C were more likely to have a lower risk of developing depression. The study was conducted on more than 2,400 people and it concluded that “the association between high intake of vitamin C and low incidence of depression might be causal” (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-vitamins-and-supplements-make-antidepressants-more-effective/)

3. Vitamin C Eases Stress & Tension

As we’ve learned, vitamin C plays an important role in the function of your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands have a vital role in managing your stress response. Overactive adrenal glands are all too common nowadays, and as a result, many people feel burnt out.

Nourishing your adrenals with vitamin C may help lower stress by reducing cortisol levels. Cortisol is your main stress hormone. It is useful because it can help energize us, give us the ability to make quick decisions, and escape from a dangerous situation for example.

However, your cortisol was only meant to be turned on occasionally, not all the time. Today, we’re living in a chronically stressed state with elevated cortisol. Adding more vitamin C to your regimen may help reduce the negative effects of the hormone.

Additional ways you can lower cortisol is by taking herbs such as Ashwagandha, which is shown to be one of the most powerful adaptogenic herbs.

4. Vitamin C Helps With Mental Focus

Vitamin C is a key component in many popular energy drinks. The idea that Vitamin C improves mental focus has led to a thriving industry in the United States.

A study from Japan found that drinking 1000mg of Vitamin C improved a person’s cognitive performance on a battery of tests designed to measure how well the brain could filter distractions and focus attention.

How does vitamin C improve focus? Essentially, it optimizes your epinephrine levels, a hormone that makes you feel alert, concentrated, and ready to tackle the task ahead.

5. Vitamin C May Improve Your Motivation Levels

Now, this may sound like an odd one. But when you look at how vitamin C works in your brain, it becomes clear why it’s a potentially powerful “motivation buddy”.

Vitamin C acts in the human brain as a co-factor for the conversion of dopamine into norepinephrine, along with modulating dopaminergic and glutamatergic neurotransmission, and regulation of acetylcholine and catecholamine release from synaptic clefts.

In plain English, vitamin C helps boost your brain’s chemical messengers which are involved in keeping you focused and motivated. Low levels of any of the aforementioned neurotransmitters – dopamine, acetylcholine, glutamate – are linked to lack of motivation and “zest”. Therefore, it’s no surprise that by boosting these important neuro chemicals, vitamin C can act as a motivation-enhancer.

How Much Vitamin C for Mental Benefits?

The best way to get your vitamin C is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in it, such as red peppers and oranges. If you take vitamin C supplements, try not to exceed 2,000mg per day, which is seen as the healthy daily limit.

Obviously, this post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as advice. You need to talk with your doctor before taking a new supplement.

Is Vitamin C Safe? Are There Any Side Effects?

Vitamin C supplements are safe for human consumption. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant and immune system booster, vitamin C is one of the safest nutrients you can consume. The use of vitamin C as a supplement is widespread and has been for years with no reported side effects.

But vitamin C supplements may not be for everyone, which is why we need to drive home the importance of talking to a qualified MD before taking any new supplement – even the ones as safe as vitamin C.

Conclusion on Mental Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. It is an important nutrient for the growth and development of bones, cartilage, teeth, blood vessels and other body parts.

Interestingly, many people aren’t aware that vitamin C also has plenty of mental benefits, including improved energy levels, better mood, reduced symptoms of stress and anxiety, and even increased motivation. This is thanks to vitamin C’s important role in your adrenal function, as well as the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters.

The human body cannot produce vitamin C on its own so it needs to be obtained from the diet. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties which makes it ideal for fighting various types of issues such as a common cold.

Though it can be synthesized in the lab that does not mean that vitamin C supplements are the only way to reap its awesome benefits. Eating a palette of vitamin C-rich foods is always the most bioavailable and best way to get the most out of this nutrient.

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