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Vitamin C and Depression

Updated on December 31, 2017
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Among his varied other writing interests, Richard Parr aspires to creating interesting and inspiring stories about life.

What the Experts are Saying

Hugh D. Riordan, M.D.

Did you know every medical textbook, at least up until a few years ago, indicated that one of the most common effects of inadequate vitamin C is depression?

... If you are depressed, vitamin C is worth considering.

Rebecca K. Kirby, M.D., M.S., R.D.

Studies of hospitalized psychiatric patients show that upon admission 25% were deficient in folic acid, 32% had deficient levels of vitamin C, and 10% had actual scurvy. In addition, sub-optimal levels of B12 were found at 30 times the prevalence of the general population. A deficiency in any one of these nutrients can cause an imbalance in the nutritional environment of the brain.

Donald Brown, N.D., Alan R. Gaby, M.D., and Ronald Reichert, N.D.

Vitamin C may therefore be valuable for patients with depression associated with low levels of serotonin. In one study, 40 chronic psychiatric inpatients received ascorbic acid or placebo for three weeks, in double-blind fashion. In the vitamin C group, significant improvements were seen in depressive, manic and paranoid symptom complexes, as well as in overall functioning.

The Vitamin C Brain Connection

Amazing Vitamin C

Many worry about getting the "Big C" (cancer). However, they might better occupy their time ensuring they get enough vitamin C; it even proving a preventative against cancer.

Vitamin C [L-ascorbic acid] is an essential nutrient for humans.

But what does it do? Why is it such an essential element to maintaining health and happiness? Well, to start with, it is an antioxidant that prevents our cells from getting damaged. But there's a lot more it does. Here's a short list of some of its more important activities:

  • Promotes emotional well-being: essential for the production of the neurotransmitter, nonrepinephrine.
  • Essential to Energy & growth: Synthesis of carnitine, and other neurotransmitters; breakdown and synthesis of tyrosine; metabolises microsome.
  • Keeps us Looking and feeling young, slowing down the aging process: Synthesis of collagen, that works mainly to keep the skin looking very firm.
  • Vitamin C acts as an electron donor for eight different enzymes.
  • Positive effect in preventing/alleviating polio, heart disease and other health conditions.
  • Keep gums, teeth, and bones healthy.
  • Absorb iron from the foods we eat.
  • Keep blood vessel walls strong.
  • Heals cuts and wounds.

Reasons for Deficiency

Encompassing the most common triggers of depression is Stress; all that impacts us negatively. During times of stress, the body utilises high quantities of vitamin C, and can quickly exhaust its limited on-board supply.

But follow the root of this stress, and you will find many man-made causes; food additives & processing methods, air pollutants, industrial and domestic chemicals, electrical magnetic radiation, genetic engineering et. etc...

In today's society we are continually bombarded with man-made chemical and biological-based stresses of a kind non-existent in nature; or existing at levels dramatically less than we unnaturally experience on a daily basis.

Although stress derives from many sources; abuse, illness, poor parenting, peer pressure, unhappy marriages, guilt etc, the impact of our toxic modern environment significantly reduces our ability to cope with these life realities in a positive way, instead spiralling many of us into depression. Much like a compromised immune system to which the common cold becomes a life threatening risk.

Avoiding Deficiency

The human body can store only a certain amount of vitamin C, and many people find it impossible to get their daily dose of this vitamin via food. This is why there are those who obtain daily Vitamin C requirements from supplements.

All over the world a growing number of medical professionals are advocating large doses of Vitamin C supplementation to counter the stress factors apparent in our modern lifestyles and environment. This is due to numerous studies showing a significant improvement to people’s overall health when regularly taking large doses of the vitamin.

This research reveals that Vitamin C in large dosages is very effective in the normalisation of various body functions.

Although generally agreed that a balanced diet without supplementation contains enough vitamin C to prevent scurvy, this is less than the amount required for optimal health in today's society.

That said, others contend too much can cause Diarrhoea. However proponents of ortho-molecular medicine claim this is indicative of where the body’s true vitamin C requirements lie. Therefore it is best to always consult your health professional before undertaking this level of supplementation.

Fruits that are the highest sources of vitamin C include:

  • Cantaloupe
  • Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange and grapefruit
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries
  • Watermelon

Vegetables that are the highest sources of vitamin C include:

  • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower
  • Green and red peppers
  • Spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens
  • Sweet and white potatoes
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice
  • Winter squash

Your Vitamin C Experience

Which of the following statements do you most relate with:

See results

© 2011 Richard Parr


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    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 3 years ago from Oz

      @Oceansnsunsets ~ Too true. As much as I'm for technological advance where it improves peoples lives, I can't help get the impression that, in regards our health, we'd do better to look back in history for example. Contrary to popular belief, most of our ancestors lived robustly healthy lives. I think for many moderns, in their arrogance, they scorn the idea of learning from the past.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      That first quote doesn't surprise me at all actually! About how a nutrient like vitamin C used to be more commonly sought out for things like depression, etc. It is a very interesting thing to study for sure. It is kind of scary that doctors are so quick to prescribe a medicine or two, rather than help a patient find something natural that will help. Then all the side effects of those, etc. I sometimes wonder if one day they will look back on history to this point, and wonder at how crazy people were to listen to doctors or whoever else said so many medicines were so necessary. I mean over trying other options first that are more natural and often truly helping issues than creating more. Great hub, thank you for sharing! Voted up, interesting, helpful and awesome.

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 5 years ago from Oz

      @Vinaya ~ and thank you for reading, I've enjoyed reading your hubs also.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I did not know vitamin C is linked with depression. Thanks for sharing this useful health article.

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 6 years ago from Oz

      @feenix ~ thank you for the praise, and you are most welcome.

      As a sufferer of depression, you are definitely not alone. Personally I think sufficient dietary intake has much to do with many of our modern ailments.

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 6 years ago

      Hello, parrster,

      I am deeply grateful to you for writing and publishing this useful, awesome, interesting and very informative article.

      Because I am one who suffers depression and have a low intake of vitamin C, this post is of particular interest to me. As a matter of fact, the knowledge I gained from this writing just might change my entire life.

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 6 years ago from Oz

      @ vocalcoach ~ Thanks for such a positive comment. I too remember vitamin C being taken by the adults while I was growing up; odd that you hear less about it today, though it is key to so many bodily activities.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Super hub. Thanks for the info. Bookmarked. We take Vitamin C daily.

    • Momstalk profile image

      Momstalk 6 years ago from Rock springs Wy

      Great hub. I'll now be adding in vitamin c to my daily regimen.

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 6 years ago

      I didn't know that lack of Vitamin C causes depression before reading this hub. Now i think i add vegetables and fruits which have vitamin c in my daily routine.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      While I was growing up I noticed that my mother took large doses of "ascorbic acid" every single day. I don't remember her ever having a cold. That was my introduction to vitamin C. Your magnificent hub stirred up these memories and I thank you.

      Hoping that this hub receives plenty of attention - it is informative, well written and a marvelous reminder of the importance of Vitamin C. Voted up and thanks!