Vitamin C and Mental Health

April 4th is National Vitamin C Day! Most associate vitamin C as a way to fight off colds, but did you also know it has shown the ability to improve your mood? The brain actually holds more Vitamin C concentration than it does in the rest of the body!

To get a little technical, Vitamin C is critical in protecting and processing neurons in your brain (which is essentially the framework of the brain—it makes everything in your body function with the use of neurons). It especially helps a maintain a protective coating (called the myelin sheath) on the neuron that specializes in sending neural activity quickly across the brain. Vitamin C also helps convert dopamine into serotonin, both which are vital neurotransmitters for maintaining mood! Another added benefit is that it can act as somewhat of a preventative care for dementia and Alzheimer’s, as it works to protect that areas that break down first with these diseases. 

So in other words, Vitamin C helps all helps your mood and body functioning to perform smoothly, while maintaining protective aspects of the brain.

On the flip side, if you are not maintaining regular levels of Vitamin C, it can cause things like fatigue, depression, and slow healing from wounds. As Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that it needs to be replenished daily. In a recent study in 50-year-old Australians, it showed that 93% were not getting enough Vitamin C in their body. Those with the lowest levels of Vitamin C suffered from the most cognitive impairment.

Vitamin C is really important for everyone’s brain—and it can be easy to get. One option is taking a daily supplement, to help aid the body in maintaining adequate Vitamin C levels. Another option is eating foods rich with Vitamin C like papayas, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli or oranges which are easy snacks to throw into a meal.

Maybe the key towards keeping the doctor away isn’t an apple a day, but an orange!

Written by Emma, Undergrad Intern 2021

If you would like to speak to a professional counselor or psychologist about this and are in the Chicago area, please feel free to contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.

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