Vitamin C can boost mood, memory, intelligence and brain function for Students

Posted on Jun 4, 2013 in Children Articles, Fitness & Health, Food

Vitamin C can boost mood, memory, intelligence and brain function for Students

“It’s smart to take vitamin C, and it may make you even smarter.” That’s the advice from Jean Carper, author of Your Miracle Brain. She outlines studies showing that vitamin C supplements can improve IQ, memory and other mental functions, especially for students with low levels of vitamin C. This isn’t surprising considering vitamin C is involved in making neurotransmitters – chemicals that affect our mind and mood.

Our bodies can’t make nor store vitamin C, so we must receive it every day through food and drinks and, if necessary, supplements. Getting the right amount of vitamin C is vital for good health because – as with all nutrients – having too much or too little can cause health problems.

What evidence is there that vitamin C helps improve our mind and mood?

In 2011 researchers from Texas Woman’s University in Texas gave 236 school children and 115 university students IQ tests. They also tested the vitamin C levels and classified the students as high or low. Generally students with the highest vitamin C levels had higher IQ scores by five to ten points.

The students were then given orange juice, high in vitamin C, at school for six months. After this time the students with originally high vitamin C levels improved very little in IQ scores. The IQ of the students with low vitamin C levels, however, increased by about four points, plus: “IQ scores generally rose along with blood vitamin C concentrations”, says Carper.

Researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia studied 117 elderly people. The study found that those who took vitamin C supplements were 40% less likely to have severe brain function problems compared to those who didn’t take vitamin C. This was true regardless of education level. When supplement takers also ate a high vitamin C diet, the chance of mental decline dropped to 32%.

A Swiss study of people aged 65 to 94 showed that those with the highest blood levels of vitamin C did better on memory tests than those with low levels.

How much vitamin C should we receive daily?

Countries and organizations may differ regarding how much vitamin C they recommend we should each receive every day. Here are some recommendations for adults:

  • The World Health Organization: 45 milligrams (mg) per day
  • The United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency (FSA): 40 mg per day
  • The United States and Health Canada 2007: both recommend 90 mg per day for males, and 75 mg per day for females

People who need more vitamin C include:

  • smokers
  • pregnant woman
  • breastfeeding women
  • people who drink high amounts of alcohol
  • people who are stressed for long periods of time

What foods are high in vitamin C?

  • parsley
  • cherries, including acerola cherries and juice
  • peppers (capsicum – red, yellow and green)
  • guavas
  • currants
  • kale (raw)
  • spinach (raw)
  • kiwifruit
  • papaya (pawpaw)
  • broccoli (raw)
  • citrus fruit and their juice, such as oranges, lemons, tangerines, mandarins and grapefruit
  • watermelon
  • pineapples
  • berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries
  • mangos
  • Brussels sprouts and tomatoes

Vitamin C appears to help boost mood and mental function, and help protect us from diseases. There are many groups at high risk of low levels of vitamin C and these people, especially to students who need to ensure they get enough vitamin C for good health, brain and nerve function.


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