Vitamin C and the Brain

Broccoli is a good source of vitamin C

Broccoli is a good source of vitamin C. Norm Thomas / Science Photo Library

New research from the Journal of Neuroscience has found that there is a high concentration of vitamin C in the retina, which is the structure at the back of the eye responsible for transferring light images into nerve signals.*  The retina is very similar to the brain and hence they think vitamin C is likely to be just as important in the brain.  Interestingly they found that a particular type of receptor, the GABA receptor, stopped working properly when vitamin C was low.  GABA receptors are important in the eye and brain in that they are what are called inhibitory receptors – they calm down activity within the brain.  This is important for many functions.  Migraine sufferers for example experience lack of inhibition in their brain because of problems with the GABA receptors which predisposes them to migraine attacks.

Other research on vitamin C from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that low vitamin C during pregnancy also affects memory in the child.#  The research showed that even a slight drop in vitamin C affected development in a brain area called the hippocampus which is where memory is centred in the brain.  Vitamin C can found particularly in fresh fruit and vegetables.  Freshness is the key.  Vitamin C levels drop after picking.  Before supplementing with large doses of vitamin C be sure to check with your healthcare practitioner.



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