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Top Five Vitamin C Sources for Mood Improvement

A recent study out of McGill University and Jewish Hospital in Montreal, Canada, featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tackled the issue of mood improvement in critically ill patients. The study noted “improvement in mood and distress among acutely ill hospitalized patients supplemented with vitamin C.” This could be a significant find for hospitals and the patients they treat.

The double-blinded trial randomized 52 acutely hospitalized men and women to receive 500 milligrams vitamin C twice daily or 5,000 international units (IU) vitamin D per day for a maximum of ten days. Seventy-five percent of the participants had insufficient vitamin C levels and 85 percent had insufficient 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations at the beginning of the study. Mood and distress, which are significantly affected by acute hospitalization, and plasma vitamin C, vitamin D and C-reactive protein levels were evaluated before and after treatment.

At the end of the trial, vitamin C levels had normalized and vitamin D levels increased slightly, but did not reach normal values. Mood and distress scores markedly improved among those who received vitamin C, but did not appear to be significantly affected by vitamin D—a fact that the researchers attribute to the failure of short-term vitamin D therapy to normalize insufficient vitamin D levels. Participants who received vitamin C experienced a 71 percent reduction in mood disturbance and a 51 percent reduction in psychological stress in comparison with levels determined by testing at the beginning of the study.

These findings could also have applications to mood improvement in everyday life. Keeping your vitamin C levels in a healthy range may help your mood, outlook and your ability to better handle the stressors in life, but also offer a host of other health benefits through its antioxidant properties. For most adults, the upper limit of vitamin C is 2,000 mg per day and can be achieved through diet or supplements. I always recommend consulting your physician for your safe limit and certainly before you begin any new supplement. My top five sources of vitamin C are:

  1. Red pepper, sweet, raw, ½ cup
  2. Orange juice, ¾ cup
  3. Orange, one medium
  4. Grapefruit juice, ¾ cup
  5. Kiwi fruit, one medium