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
- Vitamin C ascorbic acid. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed July 1, 2011.
- Zhang M, et al. Vitamin C provision improves mood in acutely hospitalized patients. Nutrition. 2011;27:530.
- Lykkesfeld J, et al. Is vitamin C supplementation beneficial? Lessons learned from randomized controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition. 2010;103:1251.
- Binfare RW, et al. Ascorbic acid administration produces an antidepressant-like effect: Evidence for the involvement of monoaminergic neurotransmission. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 2009;33:530.
- Bauer B (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 8, 2011.