Generic Name: Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
Brand Names: Ascocid, C-500
Drug Class: Vitamins
Available Dosage Forms: Oral tablet, capsule, solution, intravenous injection, and topical
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an essential enzyme cofactor and anti-oxidant. The chemical name of Vitamin C is Ascorbic Acid or Ascorbate. Humans lack ascorbic acid and hence have to obtain it from vitamin C-rich foods.
Several studies reveal reduced levels of Ascorbic acid in diseases of multiple organ systems, especially the CNS. Brain regions including the hippocampal, occipital and frontal cortex store the highest concentration of Ascorbic Acid.1 Acute Vitamin C deficiency leads to poor brain development, memory issues, and possible impairments in the pathways of mood regulatory neurotransmission.
Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety may develop in response to dysregulated neurotransmitter systems, mainly
Altered neurophysiological pathways caused by oxidative stresses give rise to depression and anxiogenic states in the brain. Being an anti-oxidant, Vitamin C inhibits oxidative factors in the brain and thus lowers the severity of anxiety. Administration of Vitamin C in anxious students for more than two weeks significantly improved anxiogenic symptoms.2
Studies indicate that the antidepressant effects of the vitamin are presumably due to:1
-Increased activity of serotonin releasing receptors at postsynaptic neurons
-Activation of adrenergic receptors that leads to increased availability of norepinephrine
-Enhanced uptake of norepinephrine by astrocytes
-Simultaneous glutamate uptake and release of ascorbic acid
-Downregulation of NMDA receptors
How to use Vitamin C?
-Vitamin C can easily be consumed by eating Vitamin C rich foods in your diet
-People already consuming such foods do not need to use Vitamin C supplements
-Healthy adults aged 19-64 should take at least 65 to 90 mg of Vitamin C per day
-Vitamin C deficiency is resolved with dosages of 100-250 mg twice daily for a minimum of two weeks
-Ask your doctor about the optimum dosage if you are pregnant and breastfeeding
-Do not consume large doses of 1000-2000 mg without consulting a health care professional
What are the side effects of Vitamin C?
Mild side effects:
Moderate side effects
-Haemolysis (RBC breakdown)
Who should not use Vitamin C?
-Those with glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
-Those with a history of oxalate stones, compromised renal function
-Those with hypersensitivity to Vitamin C
-Ascorbic Acid has interactions with medications. Get approval from your doctor before starting Vitamin C supplements
- Moritz B, Schmitz AE, Rodrigues ALS, Dafre AL, Cunha MP. The role of vitamin C in stress-related disorders. J Nutr Biochem. 2020;85:108459. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2020.108459
- de Oliveira IJ, de Souza VV, Motta V, Da-Silva SL. Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pak J Biol Sci. 2015;18(1):11-18. doi:10.3923/pjbs.2015.11.18