Posted on Mon, 14 Sep 15
A recent clinical study found that vitamin C supplementation was able to reduce feelings of anxiety within just 2 weeks.
Brain vitamin C (ascorbic acid) levels are up to 25 times that of blood levels, the highest concentration in the body, and are important for protection against oxidative stress in critical brain regions as well as playing a role in neurotransmitter activity (1).
Vitamin C has long been an important intervention in nutritional psychiatry; with several clinical studies showing supplementation may help to reduce feelings of stress and fatigue and improve more severe symptoms of depression and schizophrenia.
Few studies have explored the effects of vitamin C on anxiety, however, so a group of high school students were given vitamin C (a 500 mg capsule of ascorbic acid, once daily) or placebo for 14 days (2).
At the end of the two weeks those who took the vitamin C, but not placebo, had a higher blood vitamin C concentration and significantly reduced anxiety levels. They also had a lower heart rate compared to the placebo group, suggesting reduced physiological stress.
These results add to evidence that vitamin C plays an important therapeutic role in the treatment of anxiety, concluded the study investigators.
1. Smythies JR. The role of ascorbate in brain: therapeutic implications. J R Soc Med. 1996 May;89(5):241.
2. de Oliveira IJ, de Souza VV, Motta V, Da-Silva SL. Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pak J Biol Sci. 2015 Jan;18(1):11-8.