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Vitamin C and Its Key Role in Mental Health

The Key Role of Vitamin C in Mental HealthThe most commonly known benefits of vitamin C include skin repair, cold prevention, fighting cancer and immune system deficiency protection (Zelman).

But what many people don’t realize is that vitamin C can have a positive effect on the mental health of an individual as well.

Numerous scientific studies have proven that people who consume high amounts of vitamin C on a daily basis do not experience as much stress when faced with psychological challenges.

The reason why vitamin C helps enhance people’s mood is because it causes the body to release mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine (Challem).

Those who have vitamin C deficiency will have fewer of these neurotransmitters being manufactured in their body.

As a result, the person will feel more stressed and irritable.

In one scientific study from Germany, researchers tested the stress levels of 120 people by making them do public speaking while performing math problems (Vitamin C: Stress Buster). But first, approximately 60 of these people were given 1,000 mg of vitamin C to consume beforehand.

Those who did not consume the vitamin C showed symptoms of elevated blood pressure and a high level of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. The ones who did consume the vitamin C did not have high blood pressure or elevated cortisol levels. They even reported that they didn’t feel as stressed after taking the vitamin C.

In conclusion, the researchers agreed that vitamin C should be considered as a viable source of treatment in stress management.

Where to Get your Daily Dose of Vitamin C

Vitamin C can be naturally consumed in uncooked vegetables and fruits. Some of the most popular food sources include green peppers, red peppers, pomegranates, and citrus fruits like oranges. The average orange contains 70 mg of vitamin C in it. A person needs to consume at least 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day in order to experience a reduction in their stress and anxiety levels (Challem).

This means you would have to eat 10-15 oranges per day to get this amount of vitamin C in you, assuming you didn’t consume any other food or drinks with vitamin C in it.

Fortunately, we live in the age of supplementation so you can easily go to your local drug store and purchase vitamin C supplements that come in caplet form. One caplet is equal to 500 mg of vitamin C (Zelman). This means all you would need to do is take 2 caplets per day and you would get your recommended dosage of vitamin C for reducing stress.

My personal favorite is non-GMO crystalline vitamin C for mixing into homemade lemonade and smoothies. One small scoop equals 1000 mg.

References

“Vitamin C: Stress Buster.” Psychology Today, 25 Apr. 2003. https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200304/vitamin-c-stress-buster

Challem, Jack. “Vitamin C: More than Just Immunity.” Better Nutrition, 01 Sept. 2011. http://www.betternutrition.com/vitamin-c-immunity

Zelman, Kathleen M., MPH, RD, LD. “Vitamin C Benefits, Sources, Supplements, & More.” WebMD, 07 Jan. 2010.
http://www.webmd.com/diet/the-benefits-of-vitamin-c

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Vitamin C and Its Key Role in Mental Health

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.


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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2017). Vitamin C and Its Key Role in Mental Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 11, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/nlp/2017/01/vitamin-c-and-its-key-role-in-mental-health/

 

Last updated: 8 Jan 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Jan 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.