Is vitamin C good for more than fighting colds? Can it improve your mood?

Answers from Brent A. Bauer, M.D.

Vitamin C has several benefits, including a modest effect combating the common cold. Recent research suggests another potential use for vitamin C. In a study of hospitalized patients — who often have lower than normal vitamin C levels — researchers observed an improvement in mood after they received vitamin C.

The link between vitamin C and mood may seem surprising, but it's not so far-fetched. People who have vitamin C deficiency often feel fatigued or depressed. Plus, some studies show that vitamin C can have mood-elevating effects. So it makes sense that vitamin C levels could affect mood — but more research is needed.

In the meantime, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. If you also take a supplement, try not to exceed the upper limit of 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day. As always, talk to your doctor first before taking any supplement.

Oct. 01, 2011 See more Expert Answers