Using Vitamin C to Better Manage Depression

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid, and it is found in high concentrations in fruit and vegetables, such as berries, dark leafy greens (e.g. Kale) and tomatoes.

It plays a part in the body’s ability to form connective tissue like bones, and it is an antioxidant, meaning that it is one of the substances that prevents oxidants (also known as free radicals) from causing cell damage in your body, stopping you from becoming ill or run down.

You may have heard that Vitamin C can help lessen the symptoms and reduce the likelihood of contracting the common cold, but it can also help fight and prevent various other diseases.

For example, it can help reduce the likelihood of heart disease, can help prevent cancer, and it supports immune function more generally.

For a healthy adult the average recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is;

  • 90 milligrams for men
  • 75 milligrams for women

These allowances are slightly different for individuals. For example, breastfeeding women should have more, as should smokers. As well as this, for diseases from cancer to scurvy, people have been treated with doses of 2000mg and upwards, and some claim that doses such as these could be effective in treating depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.

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Vitac-LD Liposomal Vitamin C

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Age Immune Vitamin C Complex

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NOW Vitamin C-1000 Sustained Release

So, what is the evidence?

What Evidence is there that Vitamin C be Effective in Treating Depression

There is strong evidence to suggest that a deficiency in vitamin C can cause neurological damage, and therefore a logical conclusion is that it could help treat, reverse or prevent depression and anxiety.

Research even suggests that when it cannot be used as the sole treatment for depression it can be combined with antidepressants for more effective treatment.

For example, a study conducted at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee deprived mice of Vitamin C, and found that they exhibited higher levels of anxiety and depression, as well as lower levels of serotonin and dopamine. Both of these things are correlated with depression and anxiety.

Likewise, another study conducted in Brazil, again using mice, showed startling results. The mice were exposed to things that would stress them out, and this resulted in classic symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Then, the following week, half of these mice were treated with Vitamin C and half with Prozac. What were the results? Perhaps surprisingly, the group who were treated with Vitamin C made as much progress as the other group, suggesting supplementation with Vitamin C could be as effective as medication, though with much fewer side effects.

A further study conducted in India found that 80 patients with depression and anxiety had much lower levels of Vitamin C than the average population. Thus half were given 3000mg supplements daily in addition to their normal medication, e.g. Prozac, whilst the other followed their normal regimen.

Again, those who had taken the Vitamin made swifter and more lasting progress.

All in all, the evidence that Vitamin C can at least aid in fighting depression is pretty convincing, which may lead you to wonder what types of product are available for you to try.

What are the Best Vitamin C Supplements Available?

Vitac-LD Liposomal Vitamin C 520mg Capsules 120 Count

This product claims to have a revolutionary Liposomal Delivery Technology, which increases the bioavailability by of the Vitamin C by up to 1500%.

Put simply, this means that according to the manufacturers your body is much more able to absorb the Ascorbic Acid in the capsules, for greater effects.

vitac-ld vitamin c

Pros

  • More easily absorbed into the body
  • GMO free

Cons

  • Perhaps more expensive than some other brands
  • Some have claimed to experience discomfort after use

Age Immune Vitamin C Complex with L-Lysine, Bioflavonoids, Zinc

This product is doctor formulated with Zinc, l-lysine and bioflavonoids, which increases the absorption rate of Vitamin C.

Age Immune Vitamin C Complex also claims to lessen the signs of ageing, due to the combination of Vitamin C, which is required for the maintenance of collagen, and bioflavonoids, which help protect the skin.

age immune vitamin c

Pros

  • Formulated by doctors for maximum effectiveness
  • Contains L-Lysine, which has anti-viral properties
  • Easy swallow
  • Gluten free and vegan

Cons

  • Some may want pure Vitamin C, and thus this product is not for them

NOW Vitamin C-1000 Sustained Release, 250 Tablets

This excellent value product is designed for slow release to ensure that the positive effects of vitamin C last as long as possible. Likewise, it contains Rose Hips, which add vitamin A and B, essential fatty acids, and antioxidant flavonoids.

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Gluten free and vegan
  • Coated tablets which are easy to swallow

Cons

  • Not the most bio-available form of Vitamin C
  • Can cause minor gastrointestinal discomfort

What do users say about Treating Depression with Vitamin C?

A doctor outlines their meetings with a patient, a teacher, who had been depressed for a number of years, and had tried a number of things, including psychotherapy. By the time she visited this doctor, who was willing to try alternative therapies, she was barely able to function.

He conducted a number of tests, finding that the patient had extremely low levels of Vitamin C. He placed the teacher on a 500mg a day dosage of the vitamin. This treatment had miraculous results, though the doctor states that it was merely the result of replacing the Vitamin C that was lacking from the lady’s system.

The doctor goes on to quote statistics in support of his intervention, saying 30% of new admissions with a diagnosis of depression had low Vitamin C . In other studies, it has been found that, without checking Vitamin C levels, 30% of people with depression will respond to treatment with supplementation.

This is actually lower than a placebo treatment in many studies, but for this doctor this merely illustrates that Vitamin C treatment for depression will only work for those with low levels of the vitamin.

Another told of remembering how her mother always told her to take Vitamin C. She then grew up and forgot what her mother had told her. However, she then received inspiration from Norman Cousin’s ‘Anatomy of an lllness’, which describes the view of a patient fighting an illness.

This book was one of the first books of its kind, prophesizing the movement towards a more patient-centred approach in medicine. In this book, he outlined his belief that keeping a positive outlook and taking very high doses had increased his health. She then began taking supplements again, with great success.

One blogger who calls herself the Eco Mum describes her struggles with depression and stress. She had difficulties with work, and was attempting to combine high pressure professional responsibilities with family life, and she ended up with non-Addison’s Hypo-adrenia: put simply, she was burned out.

She tried to get from medical professionals, but they were unable to find a solution. She tried pill after pill, but to no avail. So, she went on a quest, determined to find a solution for herself. She searched far and wide: read every book, scoured the internet and listened to every podcast on the subject. They all seemed to give one answer: Vitamin C.

She says that a severe lack of Vitamin C results in Scurvy, which in turn leads to depression, anxiety and other issues. Vitamin C helps as it allows your body to cope with the constant adrenal ‘fight or flight’ response, which is the inevitable result of modern living, as it has been shown to aid healthy adrenal function.

As well as this, it also regulates the secretion of cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) in your body, and also helps with serotonin production in the brain serotonin being the neurotransmitter that regulates mood.

The Eco Mum is effusive in her praise for Vitamin C supplementation. She says it had lessened her symptoms and has enabled her to control them more. For her, it is a way to reduce or eliminate your reliance on medication, and it is natural and cheap.

What are the potential Drawbacks of Taking Vitamin C to Treat Depression?

Though is Mayoclinic states that Vitamin C is perfectly safe in the amounts found in food, those who take a Vitamin C supplement need to be aware of some potential side effects. For example, abdominal crmaps, fatigue, thickening of the blood vessels near the heart, and nausea.

Likewise, side effects can be more noticeable in large doses, particularly over a long period of time. For example, blood clotting, gastrointestinal problems and kidney problems.

If you take warfarin, it may interfere with its anticoagulant effect. Finally, be cautious if you suffer from certain diseases, such as diabetes (as Vitamin C may affect blood sugar levels) high blood pressure, cancer (particularly lung cancer), and anaemia.

If you are concerned that you should not take a Vitamin C supplement or you are taken a medication that you are afraid may interact with it, contact your physician or consult sites such as Webmd or Mayoclinic, which will be able to provide you with more information.

Rating

Product

Our Rating

Price

1

Vitac-LD Liposomal Vitamin C

2

Age Immune Vitamin C Complex

3

NOW Vitamin C-1000 Sustained Release

Summing up the Benefits and Drawbacks of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is clearly a substance that can have a positive impact on your health and well-being, including reducing the likelihood of heart disease, cancer and it has been proved to generally improve immune function.

As well as this, it is packed full of antioxidants, which can prevent the cell damage in your body caused by Free Radicals, and thus reduce your likelihood of a developing a multitude of diseases, as well as premature ageing.

However, we must also be aware of the potential drawbacks of Vitamin C, for example gastrointestinal discomfort at high doses, as well as potential interactions with other medications.

As for the effects of Vitamin C on depression, there is a body of research going back decades that suggests it can be incredibly effective in treating depression and other mental health issues, both human and animal studies.

Some of the studies even suggest that Vitamin C can be as effective as antidepressants, though with fewer side effects.

However, you might want to bear in mind certain things. For example, some of the research suggests that Vitamin C will only be effective to treat your depression if you have a low level of Vitamin C in your body, which studies show only around 30% do. Some studies also show Vitamin C has effect levels around the same as a placebo.

However, the evidence for the effectiveness of Vitamin C is strong, and consumer testimony is strong. As well as this, whilst improving your depression, you will also improve your general health, lessening your chances of contracting various diseases, whilst potentially increasing your longevity.

Surely one of the best things about Vitamin C is that it is a natural product that is safe to consume with the minimum of side effects.