Vitamin C and mood — a new study suggests that there may be a link between the two in acute care hospital settings.
It is not uncommon for long-term hospitalizations to have an effect on the mood and outlook of patients. Research also suggests that as many as 20 percent of acute care patients suffer from vitamin C deficiencies.
“Earlier studies, both in our hospital and in other centers, demonstrated that the majority of acutely hospitalized patients have subnormal levels of vitamins C and D in their blood,” said Dr. L. John Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D, an investigator at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research.
To discover whether a relationship exists between vitamin C and mood, a team of researchers at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital and the affiliated Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research initiated a double-blind clinical trial of patients admitted to the hospital.
And the results revealed that vitamin C treatments administered to patients in these settings had a positive effect on overall outlook.
Focused specifically on the effects to hospitalized settings, the research does not offer insight into how vitamin C would affect mood in the general population.
“About one in five acute-care patients in our hospital have vitamin C levels so low as to be compatible with scurvy,” said Hoffer, also a senior physician in the Divisions of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, and a professor of medicine at McGill University.
“But patients are rarely given vitamin supplements. Most physicians are simply unaware of the problem. Subclinical deficiencies of vitamin C and D have each been linked to psychological abnormalities, so we examined that aspect in our clinical trial.”
Scurvy, the scourge of past century seamen, proved the necessity of vitamin C to the human diet.
And while some of the often touted benefits of vitamin C — namely its ability to cure the common cold — have not held up against research, the supplement has been linked to protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and even skin wrinkling.
Participants were randomly assigned to receive either vitamin C or vitamin D supplements for seven to ten days.
Those who were administered vitamin C not only had a clinically significant improvement to state of mood, but they also experienced this shift in outlook rapidly.
For those patients receiving vitamin D supplements, there were no significant mood changes recorded, said researchers. Hoffer added that the lack of any effect of vitamin D on the mood of recipients suggests that “we are not dealing with a placebo response.”
“This looks like a true biological effect. Our finding definitely requires follow up in larger studies in other centers,” he said. “The treatment is safe, simple and cheap, and could have major clinical practice implications.”
Their results were published recently in the journal Nutrition.
SourceJewish General Hospital