Vitamin C, the Brain, and Behavior

Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin needed for health.Human beings do not have the ability to make vitamin C in the body like most other mammals are able to, and therefore must obtain the vitamin from dietary sources (Higdon, 2006). Within the human body, vitamin C functions as an essential cofactor in numerous enzymatic reactions such as in the biosynthesis of collagen, carnitine, and catecholamines, in addition to a potent antioxidant. Vitamin C also accumulates in the central nervous system, especially in the neuronsof the brain (Drake, 2011). Research, although primarily among animals studies, demonstrates the importance of vitamin C as a vital antioxidant molecule in the brain, having a potential therapeutic role against neurodegenerative diseases that involve high levels of oxidative stress,such as ischemic stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntingdon’s disease(Harrison & May, 2009). In addition, a review of the literature reveals that researchers are exploring not only the deficiency risks but also the therapeutic uses of nutrients, such as vitamin C, in substance abuse treatment.

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