Vitamin C is the most popular single vitamin supplement.
And for good reason.
It’s safe, inexpensive, and there are few things this powerhouse vitamin can’t do!
It’s widely taken to prevent, or at least minimize, the discomforts of the common cold. (2)
It’s a natural antihistamine used by millions to reduce allergy symptoms.
Studies suggest it can help prevent both heart disease and cancer. (3)
And, of course, it’s the cure for scurvy, a former scourge among sailors and pirates.
But its benefits as a most important vitamin for the brain are less well known.
Here are some of the many reasons vitamin C rates among the best vitamins for the brain.
Your brain has approximately 100 billion neurons which communicate with each other via brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Vitamin C is essential in their production.
Neurotransmitters impact your ability to focus, concentrate, and remember.
They also control your mood, cravings, addictions, sleep, and more.
Vitamin C can make you happy!
In a recent study, subjects randomly given vitamin C reported feeling happier, often within as little as one week.
Since vitamin C specifically increases the neurotransmitter serotonin, the “happy molecule,” it may act as nature’s own natural antidepressant.
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“It’s smart to take vitamin C, and it may make you even smarter,” states bestselling author Jean Carper in Your Miracle Brain.
Vitamin C supplements can improve IQ, memory and other mental functions.
Students with the highest blood levels of vitamin C did better on memory tests, but higher amounts of vitamin C can boost brain function at all ages.
Reduced Risk of Brain Degeneration
Vitamin C protects against age-related brain degeneration, including dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and strokes.
To take full advantage of vitamin C’s benefits, 2,000 mg is the recommended daily dosage.
Defense Against Free Radical Damage
The brain is particularly susceptible to free radical damage because of its high oxygen usage.
You can see free radical damage at work when you cut open an apple and watch it turn brown.
Vitamin C is one of the most potent antioxidant vitamins.
And just as dipping an apple in lemon juice stops it from discoloration, vitamin C protects your brain against free radical damage.
Vitamin C’s antioxidant power can be enhanced further when taken along with vitamin E.
Together, these vitamins have a special synergistic effect.
A large study confirmed the power of this pairing for preventing memory loss and lowering the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia by 60%.
By helping to build collagen that keeps arteries flexible, vitamin C improves blood flow to your brain.
This increases oxygen and nutrients to your brain, keeping it properly nourished.
Heavy Metal Detoxification
Your brain accumulates toxic heavy metals.
Mercury gets into our systems from seafood and from amalgam (“silver”) dental fillings.
Aluminum has long been suspected of contributing to Alzheimer’s.
It easily leeches from aluminum cookware.
It’s also found in most name brand deodorants and antacids.
Vitamin C acts as a powerful detoxifier that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier to remove these metals from the brain.
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Last update was on: May 31, 2018 4:38 pm
Protection from Excess Glutamate
Glutamate is a naturally occurring brain chemical, but too much of it is definitely not a good thing.
Too much glutamate contributes to brain health issues ranging from epilepsy to depression.
In excess, it becomes a excitotoxin — meaning it literally excites brain cells to death.
Vitamin C protects neuroreceptors that act as a brake, controlling the release of glutamate.
Best Food Sources of Vitamin C
When most people think of vitamin C they think of oranges or orange juice.
But there are many other excellent sources of vitamin C.
Fruits with the highest amounts of vitamin C include:
- citrus fruits (such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes)
- kiwi fruit
- strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries
Vegetables with the highest amount of vitamin C include:
- cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower)
- bell peppers (all colors)
- green leafy vegetables
- sweet and white potatoes
- winter squash
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When You Should Supplement
The USDA recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 75 mg per day for women and 90 mg for men.
But these numbers are widely considered extremely low for good health.
Since the RDA is the amount required to prevent diseases like scurvy, but not the amount needed for optimal health, many experts recommend taking more.
When deciding whether you should supplement, consider these factors:
Vitamin C is fragile and is destroyed by heat.
How much raw produce do you eat every day?
Do you smoke? Smokers need more vitamin C.
Stress increases your need for vitamin C.
Your body uses it to suppress formation of the stress hormone cortisol.
It’s been found that taking large doses of vitamin C can reduce your stress response considerably.
Unless you are eating the recommended 9 servings and fruit and vegetables per day, it’s a supplement that you almost certainly would benefit from.
There is much debate over the best type of vitamin C to take as a supplement.
Ascorbic acid seems to be the most potent form.
A reasonable therapeutic daily dose is 1000 mg.
Taking more than 2000 mg causes digestive upset in some.
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