Latest research on the benefits of vitamin C
Vitamin C boosts mood, reduces chances of asthma, reduces duration of colds, may prevent bone loss and more
by Newsletter Editor
Vitamin C boosts mood
Doctors said people hospitalized with acute illnesses are often low in vitamins C and D and wanted to test for a link to mood. Participants took 1,000 mg of vitamin C or 5,000 IU of vitamin D per day. After a short time, circulating levels of vitamin C increased to normal range, but vitamin D levels remained low. Doctors suggested a longer trial to more accurately assess vitamin D mood benefits. For vitamin C, those taking 1,000 mg per day reported 71 percent fewer mood disturbances and 51 percent less psychological distress, demonstrating a link between vitamin C levels and better mood.
Vitamins C and E reduce chances of asthma and the need for medication
Asthma is increasing in Japanese children, and doctors suspect increases in processed foods and decreases in fruits and vegetables in the diet as the culprit. Because vitamins C and E protect cells through antioxidant activity, researchers measured these nutrient levels and the total diets of 452 Japanese children, aged 3 to 6, with or without asthma. Compared to kids who got the least vitamin C or E, those with the highest levels were 65 and 68 percent, respectively, less likely to develop asthma. Doctors also found a small tendency for children who ate the most fruit to have lower chances of developing asthma.
Vitamin C reduces the duration of colds and cuts the chances of catching a cold by half
Doctors reviewed 31 cold studies covering 9,745 cold episodes, where people took at least 200 mg of vitamin C per day, or a placebo. Overall compared to placebo, for adults who took vitamin C, the duration of colds was 8 percent shorter, and for children, 14 percent shorter. In children who took doses of 1,000 mg to 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day, colds cleared up 18 percent quicker. In five studies involving 598 marathon runners and skiers who were exposed to extreme physical stress, compared to placebo, vitamin C cut the chances of colds by half.
Vitamin C may prevent bone loss
Doctors know that low levels of vitamin C can cause brittle bones. In the first study of its kind, researchers provided evidence that vitamin C, when ingested orally by mice (who had their ovaries removed to represent a postmenopausal state), can prevent bone loss through an anabolic action. Doctors suggest more study to see if vitamin C may be a safe and inexpensive way to prevent osteoporosis.
Vitamin C makes exercise easier
Exercise is a key for losing weight, and overweight individuals tend to report more fatigue during physical activity than healthy-weight people. In this study, 20 obese adults ate a calorie-controlled diet with or without 500 mg of vitamin C per day. Before and after the study, everyone exercised for one hour at half the rate of his or her estimated maximum oxygen consumption capacity. After four weeks, both groups had lost almost nine pounds, but compared to the non-vitamin C group, the vitamin C group reported feeling much less exertion and fatigue and had significantly lower heart rates during exercise.
Vitamins C and E reduce pre-eclampsia
When pregnant, women can have elevated blood pressure, a condition called pre-eclampsia, which may require inducing labor or surgical delivery. Doctors said antioxidants may lower chances of pre-eclampsia. In one study, 110 pregnant women with low levels of antioxidants took 1,000 mg of vitamin C plus 400 IU of vitamin E per day or a placebo from eight to 12 weeks pregnant. They continued supplementation through two weeks after giving birth. Nine of the women developed pre-eclampsia, with eight of the cases in the placebo group and one in the antioxidant group. Doctors concluded that women who are low in antioxidants may reduce the chances of pre-eclampsia by taking antioxidants during early pregnancy.