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Vitamin C is a brain vitamin

Do you have trouble focusing on your work? Or performing mental tasks that require you to think about several things at once? There may be too little vitamin C circulating in your body. Supplementation will help.

Vitamin C is a brain vitamin

Nutrition researchers at Seoul National University divided 46 subjects with a low vitamin C level [less than 50 micromol per liter] into 2 groups.

For 4 weeks, one group took a dose of 500 milligrams of vitamin in the form of a powder twice a day, which the subjects had to dilute with water. In total, the subjects took one gram of vitamin C per day.

The researchers used a product from Kwang Dong Pharmaceutical. Kwang Dong co-funded the study.

The other group took a placebo.

Before the supplementation started and on the last day of the supplementation period, the researchers tested the cognitive abilities of their subjects.

Vitamin C supplementation increased the subjects' ability to concentrate. The subjects reported that they were better able to focus their attention on their work [Attention], and that they were more absorbed in their work [Absorption].

Click on the table below for a larger version.

Vitamin C is a brain vitamin

The researchers also studied the subjects' ability to mentally perform multiple functions simultaneously. They did this on the basis of the Stroop test. Test subjects have to read out the names of colors, while those names are also printed in different colors. Sometimes the color of the letters corresponds to the word, other times not.

If the latter is the case, the colors slow down the reading speed. The smaller the delay, and therefore the faster the reading speed, the greater the mental flexibility of the test subjects.

Vitamin C supplementation accelerated the speed of reading during the Stroop test under the latter condition.

Vitamin C is a brain vitamin

"Vitamin C supplementation at 1000 mg/day for 4 weeks effectively increases serum vitamin C concentrations in subjects with suboptimal vitamin C status", write the researchers.

"Supplementation promotes their mental vitality, especially work motivation and attentional focus, contributing to better performance on cognitive tasks that require sustained attention."

Eur J Nutr. 2022 Feb;61(1):447-59.

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