When you think about vitamin C, making sure to take it when you are feeling sick is probably the first thing that springs to mind.
The antioxidant vitamin C is known to have many functions for our health including the immune system, wound healing, neurotransmitter production and protecting the body from oxidative damage.
A new study indicates that these benefits may even extend to mental performance. 214 participants between the ages of 20-39 were given either a placebo or 500 milligrams of supplemental vitamin C, twice daily for four weeks. Multiple aspects of mental performance were then measured including mood, attention, fatigue and a growth factor in the brain known as BDNF which promotes the creation of new neurons.
- Higher levels of vitamin C in participants correlated with greater levels of attention to work and work motivation.
- Those who took the supplemental vitamin C also showed improvements in fatigue and performance on cognitive tests.
- The vitamin C did not appear to have an effect on mood or BDNF levels.
The takeaway: The study found that not getting enough vitamin C could be related to feelings of low mental vitality. When looking for vitamin C in whole food form, focus on eating more citrus fruits, kiwis, red peppers, and broccoli.