Did you know that frequent exposure to high levels of stress hormones exhausts the body’s physical resources, impairs learning and memory, and makes people susceptible to depression?
Or that when you’re stressed, sick, or afraid, your body begins to use more vitamin C than usual?
So, then, with the work-related demands (duties of parenting, schooling, responsibilities of life, etc.) that you likely encounter on a daily basis, there’s a good chance that you’re experiencing stress and your body is being depleted of vitamin C at a fast rate—and is probably actually craving vitamin C!
When someone mentions Vitamin C, the colours yellow and orange are the first things that come to mind. Present in fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits—one eight-ounce glass of fresh orange juice provides 97 milligrams of the vitamin—it’s also found in red peppers, kiwi fruits, blackberries, cauliflower, pineapple, spinach, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus, parsley strawberries, watermelon, papayas, cantaloupes, and many more.
The magical wonders of living creations, most animals can synthesize their own Vitamin C which means that some animal products can, in fact, be used as sources of Vitamin C. Interestingly, human beings are one of the few mammals on this planet that do not produce vitamin C, and, as so, dieticians and nutritionists advise its inclusion into every diet.
Scientific Research on Vitamin C & Stress
Vitamin C is relatively known for treating and reducing the severity of common colds and the flu, but the vitamin also acts as an effective antihistamine, has been found to absorb iron into the body due to its soluble nature (therefore enhancing growth)—and helps protect the body from stress, reducing both the physical and psychological effects of stress.
In situations where Vitamin C is deficient or present in low amounts, scientists found a notable reduction in the production of neurotransmitters, the chemicals in our brain responsible for anxiety and communication between nerve cells. On the other hand, people with high levels of vitamin C in their blood don’t show expected mental and physical signs of stress (when subjected to acute psychological challenges), and they also bounce back from stressful situations faster than people with low levels of vitamin C.
In one study, German researchers subjected 120 people to a stressor: a public speaking task combined with math problems. Half of those studied were given 1,000 mg of vitamin C. Those who received vitamin C reported that they felt less stressed during the task. Furthermore, certain notable signs of stress, such as elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol and spikes in blood pressure, were significantly greater in those who did not receive the vitamin supplement.
The researchers believe that vitamin C should be considered an essential part of stress management.
Earlier studies showed that vitamin C abolished secretion of cortisol in animals that had been subjected to repeated stress. Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Once it gets into the bloodstream, it is responsible for relaying the news of stress to all parts of the body and mind. For example, cortisol is what triggers the “fight or flight” response to stress which allows us to spring into action when we sense danger.
In animal studies, vitamin C fed to rats undergoing stress not only prevented the expected increase in cortisol levels, it also prevented the animals from exhibiting the known signs of physical and emotional stress. Animals that did not receive vitamin C had three times the level of stress hormones. (Psychologytoday.com)
The present RDA for vitamin C for adults is 60 milligrams—a far cry from the 1,000 mg found helpful in the stress study on humans. But there’s a growing belief that the RDA for vitamin C is vastly outdated (as it was set decades ago and is based on the amount of the vitamin needed to ward off scurvy).
According to the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, “The medical literature has virtually ignored 75 years of physician reports and laboratory and clinical studies on successful high-dose vitamin C therapy. Effective doses are high doses, often 1,000 times more than the US Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Daily Reference Intake (DRI). It is a cornerstone of medical science that dose affects treatment outcome. This premise is accepted with pharmaceutical drug therapy, but not with vitamin therapy. Most unsuccessful vitamin C research has used inadequate, low doses. Low doses do not get clinical results. Investigators using vitamin C in high doses have consistently reported excellent results. … ” (adhdboss.com)