Vitamin C is an essential component for healthy brain functioning. Research reports that people who feel fatigued, depressed, or experience a period where their mood is low, found that when they increased their intake of vitamin C to the recommended dose, they experienced an improvement in their wellbeing. Some studies have found that people with a low vitamin C level, said their mood improved when they increased their intake of Vitamin C, while other studies have linked an increase in vitamin C uptake with lowered anxiety.

How does it do it?

Vitamin C, especially in its reduced form, has multiple functions in various organs in our body. Even though more research is necessary, this vitamin has gained interest and has been researched for many years.  A research project that compared 50 studies from 1980 to 2017, found a strong relationship between Vitamin C and mental functioning, and those with higher levels concentrations of this vitamin in their blood did much better from a cognitive aspect than those who had a deficiency of this vitamin. 

Researchers have found that this mental health vitamin is a strong antioxidant and that it protects our central nervous system, by eliminating toxins and regulating the healthy development and functioning of our brains. Vitamin C is also a crucial component in the production of serotonin (a hormone that regulates our emotional wellbeing and happiness). Many studies support the possibility that Vitamin C might have a preventive and therapeutic effect on mental illnesses such as MDD (major depressive disorder), schizophrenia, anxiety, and even Alzheimer’s disease.  

How much is necessary?

Though traditionally vitamin C was linked with citrus-like oranges, papayas and raw bell peppers have been found to have the highest concentration of this vitamin. Males should consume 90 mg/day and females 75 mg/day, yet studies show that Vitamin C deficiency is very common. 

Factors such as smoking, air pollution, and alcohol put our bodies under strain and increase the body’s consumption and need for this vitamin. The human body cannot produce vitamin C so we need to take it from our diet daily.  Unfortunately, our bodies process this vitamin rapidly and fatigue, depression, and poor wound healing might all result if our vitamin C levels are low.

Some studies report that around 90 % of the adult population in their forties face this issue. It is important to note that as bodies age, vitamin C becomes essential to prevent cognitive impairment and support the healing of our nervous system. Further research highlights that low levels of Vitamin C have been linked to both dementia and Alzheimer’s s disease. Thus taking the right amount of vitamin C  in addition to physical exercise, stimulating activities and a diet rich in fruit and vegetables might all play an important part in helping us preserve healthy brain functioning over the years.

The intake of vitamin C should start from early childhood with children up to 3 years needing 15mg per day. Vitamin C intake should rise to 45mg when children reach 13.  The Daily Intake should again rise to 90mg for men and 75mg for women by adulthood, and care should be taken to avoid smoking and environments with excessive pollution as this affects the absorption of this vitamin into our bodies. 

If you’d like to discuss this further with a professional, you can book an appointment here. 

Sonya Galea is a family therapist with the Willingness Team. She works with families and couples experiencing couple relationship issues and parenting struggles.


Bauer, B.A.(2020) Can Vitamin C improve your mood? Retrieved from Do the benefits of vitamin C include improved mood? – Mayo Clinic

Estroff Marano, H. (2018) The Cognitive Benefits of Vitamin C – there’s nothing to sniffle at.  Psychology Today Retrieved from The Cognitive Benefits of Vitamin C | Psychology Today

Han, Qq., Shen, Tt., Wang, F. et al. Preventive and Therapeutic Potential of Vitamin C in Mental Disorders. CURR MED SCI 38, 1–10 (2018).