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Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, widely recognized for its antioxidant properties. The vitamin protects the body from damage caused by reactive oxygen species and participates in many physiological processes, including immune function, wound healing, fatty acid metabolism, neurotransmitter production, and blood vessel formation, as well as other key processes and pathways. Findings from a new study suggest that vitamin C improves mental health and performance in young adults.
The study investigators conducted a cross-sectional study involving 214 young adults between the ages of 20 and 39 years. They measured vitamin C concentrations in the participants' serum (the watery portion of blood). Then they conducted a randomized controlled trial involving participants whose vitamin C concentrations were considered inadequate (less than 50 micromoles per liter). Half of the participants received 500 milligrams of vitamin C twice daily for four weeks; the other half received a placebo. They assessed the participants' fatigue, attention, anxiety, and other aspects of work performance and mental health status. They also measured serum concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a type of neurotrophin – or growth factor – that controls and promotes the growth of new neurons.
They found that higher serum vitamin C concentrations among participants in the cross-sectional study correlated with greater attention but had no influence on fatigue or mood. Participants who took the supplemental vitamin C had greater attention and work absorption and showed improvements in fatigue, performance, and work engagement. However, supplemental vitamin C did not influence mood or BDNF concentrations.
These findings suggest that vitamin C benefits mental performance and health in young adults. Learn more about vitamin C in our overview article.](https://www.foundmyfitness.com/topics/vitamin-c)
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