Vitamin C Helps Reduce Stress

Vitamin C helps to reduce stress by controlling blood cortisol levels. Moreover, it boosts the production of serotonin and gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Vitamin C Helps Reduce Stress
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

According to studies, vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, helps reduce stress and also improves cognitive processes. Moreover, it reduces blood cortisol levels. Likewise, it also impacts the nervous system because it favors the production of myelin in the neurons. Consequently, it improves cell signaling and optimizes memory.

Proverbial phrases such as “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” provide an example of the appreciation for fruits within our culture. For example, in order to face harsh boat trips and prevent scurvy, sailors carried ate citrus fruits during their trips.

We almost always think of vitamin C as a key element to prevent colds and the flu. It should be noted, however, that it doesn’t cure disease on its own. Mainly, this vitamin helps reduce the risk of illnesses and it also boosts our immune system and the basic processes that promote our well-being.

How does vitamin C help reduce stress?

A study conducted at the Oregon Health & Science University was the gateway to an interesting discovery. The study found that, when a person lacks vitamin C, their GABA receptors stop functioning properly. That is to say, gamma-aminobutyric acid has an important function within the central nervous system.

  • A low level of this neurotransmitter is associated with anxiety disorders, insomnia, and depression.
  • Also, having high GABA levels favors mental processes such as relaxation, concentration, memory, less fear and alarm, etc.

Dr. Henrique von Gersdorff, co-author of the study, pointed out that vitamin C might be a lot more important to our brain than we imagined.

In fact, it’s also known that this vitamin promotes the synthesis of several neurotransmitters and that it’s essential to the conversion of dopamine into serotonin. In addition, it modulates the release of neurotransmitters.

The brain needs vitamin C

Ascorbic acid helps reduce stress because it basically acts as a neuromodulator. Although we’re often told that we have to increase our consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables to obtain it, we’re seldom told about its pro-brain qualities.

The part of our body that needs vitamin C the most is the brain. In fact, it was found that when the human body is deprived of vitamin C, it remains in the brain for a lot more time than it does in other areas of our body.

Science doesn’t yet understand how many processes and mechanisms this vitamin can influence. However, we do know that vitamin C reduces blood cortisol levels.

  • Studies such as the one carried out by doctors Oliveira IJ, de Souza VV, Motta V, and Da Silva SL, in 2015 show that vitamin C reduces stress and anxiety by regulating the production of cortisol.
  • In addition, this study appreciated that a group of high school students scored better in memory and concentration tasks after increasing their consumption of vitamin C.
  • Vitamin C is also essential for collagen synthesis. This element not only safeguards teeth and bones, but it also improves the integrity and resistance of blood vessels.

How to maintain vitamin C levels

Ironically, according to specialists, it’s very common to have low vitamin C levels in our bodies. But we believe that if we don’t have enough of it, we’ll be more likely to catch colds and our body would have a harder time healing wounds.

To clarify, the organ that seems to need vitamin C the most is the brain. Without this vitamin, we’ll feel overwhelmed and have concentration problems and higher stress levels. We should also note that we need this vitamin in order to improve our absorption of iron.

"C" fruit form.

How to improve your vitamin C levels

The recommended vitamin C daily intake is between 75 and 90 milligrams. To improve your vitamin C levels, instead of resorting to vitamin supplements, it’s much better to include the following fruits in your diet:

  • Oranges and lemons
  • Mangoes
  • Pomegranates
  • Currants
  • Guavas
  • Broccoli
  • Red peppers
  • Strawberries

To conclude, it’s good to know that vitamin C helps reduce stress. However, we shouldn’t forget to improve our daily habits: avoid smoking, exercise, and integrate adequate relaxation techniques into your routine. Managing anxiety and stress will also help a lot.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Oregon Health & Science University. (2011, July 16). Scientists discover new role for vitamin C in the eye and the brain. ScienceDaily. Obtenido de

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.