Vitamin C plays a role in multiple functions in the brain and body, including the central nervous system (CNS). Vitamin C protects the neuron, aids in neurotransmission (movement of chemicals or signals across synapse) and reduces inflammation. It helps synthesize neurotransmitters (brain chemicals that are related to mood) such as dopamine, noradrenaline, and possibly serotonin. These processes are associated with your child’s mental health and well-being – therefore; there are many mental health benefits of vitamin C.
A vitamin C deficiency may lead to motor problems, cognitive impairment, and behavioral issues. Supplementing vitamin C has a potential preventive and therapeutic effect on mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety. Even though supplementation works, it is always best to gain vitamins and minerals naturally through the diet. Kiwi, strawberries, papayas and kale are all high in vitamin C and can easily be added to a smoothie. Or add in a little fine motor work, by making a fruit kabob!
Here a Few Research-Based Findings of Vitamin C:
Stress Reduction. According to a scientist at the University of Alabama, large doses of vitamin C can prevent the risk of illness by alleviating the body’s normal response to stress.
Improved Brain Health. Vitamin C concentrations are highest in the brain. The brain is the last organ to be depleted of vitamin C during deficiency, suggesting it plays a significant role in brain function.
Decreased Anxiety. A 2015 study reported a reduction in anxiety was observed in high school students given 500 mg/day of vitamin C compared to a placebo.
Mood Enhancement. Research determined a significant association between vitamin C status and current mood state in a sample of young adult males. The males with the highest plasma vitamin C concentrations were more likely to have elevated mood as determined by a rating scale.
The Bottom Line
Nutrition should be the main way to provide the body with essential nutrients; however, supplementation can represent a valid method especially when your child doesn’t eat enough healthy foods. Although several studies support a possible role of vitamin C reducing symptoms related mental health disorders, additional research is needed in this area.
American Chemical Society. (1999, August 23). Scientists Say Vitamin C May Alleviate The Body’s Response To Stress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 27, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990823072615.htm
De Oliveira I.J., de Souza V.V., Motta V., Da-Silva S.L. Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pak. J. Biol. Sci. 2015;18:11–18. doi: 10.3923/pjbs.2015.11.18.
Han QQ, Shen TT, Wang F, Wu PF, Chen JG. Preventive and Therapeutic Potential of Vitamin C in Mental Disorders. Curr Med Sci. 2018 Feb;38(1):1-10. doi: 10.1007/s11596-018-1840-2. Epub 2018 Mar 15. PMID: 30074145.
Hornig D. Distribution of ascorbic acid, metabolites and analogues in man and animals. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 1975;258:103–118. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1975.tb29271.x.