Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, has a number of important roles including tissue growth and repair and acting as an antioxidant. It also increases iron absorption, so large doses of ferrous supplementation may need to be decreased in order to avoid iron toxicity.
Vitamin C deficiencies can lead to depression. And scurvy.
The proposed theory as to why supplementation of vitamin C might aid in alleviating depressive symptoms is because ascorbic acid is involved in pathways making the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Since serotonin is low in depressed patients, increased ascorbic acid intake may help increase the levels.
Despite the large number of sites on the interweb claiming vitamin C fights depression, I had a difficult time locating articles on the subject in the medical database.
The recommended daily intake is 75-2000mg/day (the Vitamin C foundation recommends 3000mg/day and other sources recommend doses in the several thousands). Good plant sources are red pepper (190g/each), broccoli (90g/1cup), large orange (100g/each), and spinach (90g/cup).
References: 1, 2, 3