Feeling Blue? Vitamin C May Be For You

If your mood is not as good as it could be, and you can't figure out why, take a good look at your diet. You may be able to change your frame of mind by eating foods that are rich in vitamin C.

Past research has shown a link between psychological disorders and Vitamin C deficiencies. Most recently, a Canadian study, published in a 2010 issue of the professional journal Nutrition, found that the emotional state of hospitalized patients improved quickly and significantly when they were give supplemental vitamin C. The patients in this study were hospitalized for a short stay to treat chronic medical conditions, and typically had low blood levels of vitamin C.

Eat Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Vitamin C is easy to get from your diet, as long as you eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables or freshly prepared juices. Some of the best natural sources of C include oranges and other citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberries, sweet red and green peppers, tomatoes and broccoli. Other sources include food products and beverages that have been fortified or enriched with additional vitamin C.

The daily recommendation for vitamin C, to prevent a deficiency and the development of chronic disease, is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. For smokers, the recommendations are slightly higher-110 mg for women and 125 mg for men. That's because smokers tend to have lower blood levels of vitamin C.

To put those needs in the context of diet, 1 medium-size orange provides 70 mg vitamin C, 1/2 medium grapefruit provides 38 mg and 1 cup of whole strawberries provides 85 mg. One-half cup chopped sweet red pepper provides 95 mg, 1/2 cup cooked broccoli, 51 mg and 1 medium tomato 16 mg.

What Vitamin C Can Do For You

In addition to potentially fighting off the blues, sufficient vitamin C in the diet may help protect heart health, prevent stroke and reduce the risk of developing cancer. Although some studies suggest that vitamin C helps boost the immune system, and therefore protects against viral infections such as the common cold, other studies show no effect. What is known for sure is that your body requires more vitamin C to fight the effects of stress on the body from infection, cigarette smoke, extreme temperatures and certain types of medication.


Oregon State University. "Vitamin C." Linus Pauling Institute. Nov 2009. Web. 16 Nov 2010.

Zhang, M, Robitaille, L., Eintracht, S. and Joffner, L.J. "Vitamin C Provision Improves Mood in Acutely Hospitalized Patients." Nutrition. 5 Aug 2010. Web. 16 Nov 2010.