Vitamin C is already everybody’s favorite nutritional supplement, linked to preventing the common cold and fighting cancer. But vitamin C recently added a new notch on its belt. It helps reduce both the physical and psychological effects of stress on people.
In one study, German researchers subjected 120 people to a stressor: a public speaking task combined with math problems. Half of those studied were given 1,000 mg of vitamin C. Those who received vitamin C reported that they felt less stressed during the task. Furthermore, certain notable signs of stress, such as elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol and spikes in blood pressure, were significantly greater in those who did not receive the vitamin supplement.
Alabama researchers put laboratory rats under stress by immobilizing them for one hour a day over a three-week period. To check whether vitamin C would reduce the production of stress hormones, the rats were fed 200 milligrams a day. The study showed that vitamin C reduced the levels of stress hormones in the blood-and also reduced other typical indicators of physical and emotional stress.
The researchers believe that vitamin C should be considered an essential part of stress management. Vitamin C allows the body to quickly clear out cortisol, a primary stress hormone that increases sugars in the bloodstream. Although helpful in a fight or flight scenario, regularly elevated levels of cortisol in your body suppress normal functioning of the digestive system, reproductive system and growth processes. Vitamin C helps to regulate cortisol and prevent blood pressure from spiking in response to stressful situations.