When you see the beginnings of a cold, you should immediately increase your vitamin C consumption. Let’s drink some orange juice! While vitamin C can assist strengthen the immune system, it isn’t the only thing the nutrient can do. It’s a multi-hyphenate multi-tasker, much like Beyonce. Aside from immunity, vitamin C is recognized for keeping skin fresh and promoting mental wellness.
You read that correctly. One little-known aspect of vitamin C is that it is a powerful mood enhancer. Many people have heard that vitamin C can help us stay healthy during the cold and flu season. However, vitamin C can help protect against mental illness.
What is the relationship between vitamin C and mood?
According to Dr. Naidoo, the main reason vitamin C is a mood enhancer is that it is required for the creation of neurotransmitters in the brain. Even if you haven’t gone totally down the rabbit hole of investigating how mood is controlled, you’ve probably heard of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is a “happy” brain chemical that makes us feel invigorated and plays an important function in the pleasure and reward systems of the brain.
Dr. Naidoo notes that a lack of vitamin C might result in a decrease in dopamine levels. Scientific research also indicates that vitamin C aids in the conversion of dopamine into another neurotransmitter known as norepinephrine. Low norepinephrine levels might cause feelings of depression or anxiety.
According to Dr. Naidoo, another way vitamin C is linked to mood is that it influences our energy levels. When the body is inflamed, it puts the body under stress; it demands energy to defend and battle inflammation, she explains. As a result, when inflammation is minimized, you should anticipate your energy to increase. If you’ve ever had a nasty spell of intestinal trouble, you know how exhausted your energy may be. The same is true when your body is fighting a bad cold. So, even though vitamin C does not contain calories, it stands to reason that it has an effect on energy levels.