Vitamin C Improves Early Brain Development

September 4, 2009 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

Send to a friend

* Required fields

  or  Cancel

 Vitamin C Improves Early Brain Development
Researchers have found that sufficient vitamin C in early life is essential for hippocampal neurons and spatial memory (animal study1).

Vitamin C is a key player in the antioxidant defense system, working synergistically with vitamin E to prop of cellular glutathione, a brain cell's primary antioxidant defense system. On the other side of the coin are excitotoxic irritants that damage brain cells. If such damage occurs while the brain is in a high phases of development then the results can be serious and long-lasting.

Leptin-resistance during pregnancy, which means the mother was overweight going into pregnancy and often gains extra weight during pregnancy, is indicative of a mother likely to have excess levels of brain-related excitotoxic stress. Some symptoms of this would be high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or toxemia during pregnancy. Leptin is a primary brain antioxidant and if leptin does not get into the infant's brain while in the womb, the evolving nervous system would be exposed to higher levels of excitotoxic stress, aggravated if vitamin C is lacking.

Likewise, stress in general will not only increase excitotoxic stress on the evolving nerves, it will simultaneously deplete vitamin C.

Since overweight and stressed pregnant moms are common in today's world, it would be prudent for all pregnant and nursing mothers to take an extra 1000 mg of vitamin C per day and higher levels if fatigued or extra stressed out.

Vitamin C is of course vital to immune system function and with a flu that is problematic for pregnant women, mothers who were just pregnant, and small children, another reason this age group should be on the high side of vitamin C is to help have a healthier immune system.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Low Vitamin C Adversely Influences Cognitive Development  Am J Clin Nutr   Pernille Tveden-Nyborg, Louise Kruse Johansen, Zindy Raida, Charlotte Krogh Villumsen, Jytte Overgaard Larsen, and Jens Lykkesfeldt
  2. ^ Low Brain Vitamin C and Schizophrenia.  Neurobiol Dis.  Castagné V, Rougemont M, Cuenod M, Do KQ.

Search thousands of health news articles!