Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is important as an antioxidant and plays roles in numerous cellular functions.
When the human body is deprived of vitamin C, the vitamin stays in the brain longer than anyplace else in the body.
Previous research has found that nerve cells in the eye require vitamin C to function properly.
A vitamin C-rich diet could be neuroprotective for the retina — for people who are especially prone to glaucoma, a group of eye diseases where vision is lost due to damage to the optic nerve.
In a recent study published in Nutrients, researchers from Melbourne Australia examined the link between vitamin C status and cognitive performance, in both cognitively intact and impaired individuals.
Instead of testing human volunteers, the researchers conducted a systematic review on 50 published studies that focused on the topic.
Of these, 36 studies were conducted in healthy participants and 14 on cognitively impaired individuals (including Alzheimer’s and dementia).
Vitamin C status was measured using food frequency questionnaires or plasma vitamin C. Cognition in these studies was assessed using a variety of tests, mostly the Mini-Mental-State-Examination (MMSE).
The researchers found that higher vitamin C concentrations in the cognitively intact groups of participants compared to cognitively impaired groups.
In addition, no correlation between vitamin C concentrations and MMSE cognitive function was found in the cognitively impaired individuals.
The group suggests that a potential association between plasma vitamin C concentrations and cognition.
They also suggest that due to a number of limitations in these studies, further research is needed.
Tips for a vitamin C rich diet:
Eat fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. for example, raw pineapple has 16mg of vitamin C, asparagus has 31 mg, raw broccoli has 89 mg, sun-dried tomatoes in oil have 101 mg, and raw parsley has 133 mg.
Eat citrus. Citrus is an especially good source of vitamin C. One cup of grapefruit, for instance, provides an entire day’s worth of vitamin C, while a glass of orange juice is the equivalent of 165 percent of your daily vitamin C intake.
Aim to eat food from the cabbage family, red and green peppers, potatoes, blackcurrants, strawberries, citrus fruit, and tomatoes.
Eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables. This includes broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and collard greens. Eat the vegetables raw or steam them, using only a small amount of water to maximize the amount of vitamins the vegetables retain.
Add potatoes to your diet. Potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C. In spite of what you may have heard, the skin does not have the highest concentration of vitamin C, but its fiber is good for you.
Take vitamin C supplements in pill form. There are lots of brands of vitamin C supplements in pill form available over-the-counter.