What Famous Vitamin Is Also A Stressbuster?

It comes as no surprise that vitamin C is one of the most famous vitamins due to its ability to support the immune system, to help protect against bacteria and viruses, to help form blood vessels and muscle, and to support collagen in bones.1 Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which can play an important role in many damaging diseases. However, this critical vitamin can also help your body to adapt to stress.  

Historically, a vitamin C deficiency is known for causing scurvy – a condition common in sailors due to a lack of fresh fruits (and their vitamin C content) while the sailors were at sea. In addition, a vitamin C deficiency can initiate internal strain such as weak bones, painful joints, and easy bruising. A prolonged deficiency of vitamin C can cause bleeding gums and poor wound healing, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that scientist Albert Szent-Györgyi discovered vitamin C. 

This discovery of the need for vitamin C became one of the foundations of modern nutrition, which encourages the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables (such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, broccoli, and dark leafy greens) that contain high quantities of naturally occurring vitamin C. In fact, good amounts of natural vitamin C is found in a vast array of foods beyond fruit, such as broccoli, potatoes and cauliflower.  

Vitamin C can help your body thrive in other ways as well. During stressful times, your body may experience mental and physical changes caused by anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping, headaches, an upset stomach, high blood pressure, or chest pain.3,4 These symptoms can be annoying in the short term, but too much stress over time may cause damage to organ systems in your body. Chronic stress can engender conditions such as depression, personality disorders, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, skin and hair problems, and gastrointestinal upset.5

Researchers have determined that when certain people are stressed but also have high levels of vitamin C, they may not show physically damaging signs of stress.6 In addition, evidence suggests that people who have higher levels of vitamin C may actually recover from stress faster than those with lower levels of vitamin C.  

Another study investigated the role of vitamin C in association with the release of the stress hormone, cortisol.7 This study found that participants who supplemented with a vitamin C formula had lower levels of cortisol in their blood after physical exertion. This suggests that vitamin C can help the body adapt to stress and exertion more efficiently.  

Taking vitamin C may help support your immune system. If you’re looking for natural ways to manage you stress levels, vitamin C may be your best choice! When selecting a vitamin C formula to add to your nutritional regimen, we recommend natural-source vitamin C (from plants such as amla) rather than synthetic vitamin C (a white crystalline powder). Be sure to choose a formula from a trusted, reputable company with high quality standards to ensure you are receiving maximum benefit. 

Resources

  1. “Vitamin C.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Oct. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932. 
  2. “Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Vitamin C - Landmark.” American Chemical Society, www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/szentgyorgyi.html. 
  3. “What Are Psychological and Emotional Signs of Stress?” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/qa/what-are-psychological-and-emotional-signs-of-stress. 
  4. Goldberg, Joseph. “How Stress Affects Your Health.” WebMD, WebMD, 16 Oct. 2018, www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-anxiety-depression. 
  5. “What Are the Consequences of Long-Term Stress?” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/qa/what-are-the-consequences-of-longterm-stress. 
  6. Staff, PT. “Vitamin C: Stress Buster.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 25 Apr. 2003, www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200304/vitamin-c-stress-buster. 
  7. Peters EM, Anderson R, Nieman DC, Fickl H, Jogessar V. Vitamin C supplementation attenuates the increases in circulating cortisol, adrenaline and anti-inflammatory polypeptides following ultramarathon running. Int J Sports Med. 2001;22(7):537‐543. doi:10.1055/s-2001-17610