According to various studies, vitamin C helps us reduce stress and even improves cognitive processes. It accomplishes this in the first place by reducing the level of cortisol in the blood. Likewise, it also acts on the nervous system, since it favors the formation of myelin in neurons. In this way, it improves cell communication and optimizes processes such as memory.
Sayings as classic as “orange, lemon and pomegranate before anything”, give us an example of the appreciation that these foods have had in our culture. Thus, in the past, and in order to face those harsh boat trips that our sailors carried out, among the basic cargo there were always citrus fruits to prevent scurvy.
Now, in our day to day almost always relate vitamin C as that key element to prevent colds and flu. However, it should be noted that this type of nutrient, by itself does not save, cure or prevent ailments. It helps us to prevent, to strengthen defenses and to favor a series of basic processes that can mediate our well-being.
It is an essential nutrient and as such, should be in our diet. However, it is also interesting to know that vitamin C helps us to have a healthier brain. Let’s see the data that supports this idea.
Mechanisms by which vitamin C helps us reduce stress
A study by the Oregon University of Health and Science was the gateway to the world of an interesting discovery. It could be seen that, when a person has a vitamin C deficit, the GABA type receptors stop working properly. Let us think that gamma-aminobutyric acid has very important functions within the central nervous system:
A low level of this neurotransmitter is associated with anxiety disorders, insomnia or depression.
On the other hand, having a high amount of GABA favors processes such as relaxation, concentration, memory, reduction of the sensation of fear or alarm, etc.
Dr. Henrique von Gersdorff, a scientist and co-author of the study, points out that it is likely that vitamin C has a more important role than we thought in our brain.
In fact, it is also known to favor the synthesis of several neurotransmitters, and its presence is essential to convert dopamine into serotonin and also modulates the release of neurotransmitters in nerve cells.
The brain needs vitamin C
Vitamin C helps reduce stress because it acts basically as a neuromodulator. Thus, and although we are often told that we should raise the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables to have that essential nutrient, it is interesting to remember a curious aspect.
The part of our body that most seems to need vitamin C is the brain. In fact, it has been found that when the human body is deprived of vitamin C, this element remains in the brain for longer than anywhere else in our body.
Science still does not understand how many processes and mechanisms it can mediate. However, there is one that is known and proven: vitamin C reduces the level of cortisol in the blood.
Studies like the one carried out by doctors Oliveira J, de Souza VV and Motta V in 2015, showed that vitamin C helps us to reduce stress and anxiety by regulating the production of this hormone (cortisol).
In addition, in this study we could see how a group of high school students scored better in tasks of memory and concentration, after a few months increasing their consumption of vitamin C.
Vitamin C, in addition, is essential for the synthesis of collagen. Thanks to this element not only takes care of the health and resistance of the teeth or bones. In addition, we improve the integrity and resistance of blood vessels, which is essential to optimize our cognitive processes.
How can we take care of our vitamin C levels?
Curious as it may seem, and as specialists tell us, it is very common to have an insufficient level of vitamin C. We always think that without this essential element, we will be more prone to suffer conditions such as colds or poor healing of wounds.
However, as we have pointed out, the organ that most seems to need vitamin C is the brain. Without it we will feel more overwhelmed. We must also remember that we need ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to improve the absorption of iron.
Let’s see, therefore, what we must do to improve their levels.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is between 75 and 90 milligrams.
Instead of resorting to the classic supplements, it is always better to follow a proper diet rich in the following foods:
- Oranges and lemons
- Red peppers.