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Vitamin C and Depression

Updated on March 16, 2020
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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:

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© 2011 Richard Parr

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