You’re probably well aware of the importance of vitamin C for a healthy immune system, but this vitamin has such a huge role to place in the body and not only does it help us to fight off infections, it’s also essential for healthy skin, healthy aging, and it’s also involved is helping us deal with stress. The better your levels of Vitamin C to begin with, the less you will be affected by stress, and the less vitamin C you lose after the stress is finished.
Stress isn’t just psychological, but can come in the form of physical stress, whether it’s from an illness, injury, or exercise. Long duration exercise such as running a marathon places a huge amount of stress on the body, and people who regularly train for and compete in these long distance events tend to have a higher level of oxidative stress and impaired immune function. Long distance training can be stressful on the adrenal glands as well. Vitamin C supplementation at doses of 1500mg may be worthwhile for those who are regularly exercising at high volumes.
A study looked at a group of people competing in a marathon, and divided them into three groups: One group received 1500mg of Vitamin C, the second received 500mg and the third received placebo. The groups receiving the supplement had better vitamin c levels in their blood than the placebo group after the race. The group that received the 1500mg dose of Vitamin C showed a lower level of the stress hormone cortisol and other anti-inflammatory chemicals after the race, which would suggest that the exercise induced less stress on the body than the groups with lower levels of Vitamin C.
A German study also found an impact of Vitamin C on stress levels. The researchers split 120 people into two groups, and one group received 1000mg of vitamin C. Both groups were then subjected to stress by being asked to complete a public speaking task and some maths problems. The group receiving the vitamin C reported that they felt less stressed, but they also showed less stress in the form of lower blood pressure, and a better return of cortisol levels to normal. Their vitamin C levels were also much better after the stress was over.
So amp up the vitamin C in your diet!
You may be surprised to note that there are a few foods that have better vitamin C content than oranges!
|Vitamin C per 100g
The doses used in the studies were much higher than the 60mg recommended as our RDA, so if stress is a big issue for you then it may be worthwhile supplementing or adjusting your diet.
If stress is a problem for you, contact me to organise an appointment (now available as either skype or face to face) to get some help with stress management techniques, herbs and diet advice to help your body cope with stress more effectively.
Brody S, Preut R, Schommer K, Schürmeyer TH. A randomized controlled trial of high dose ascorbic acid for reduction of blood pressure, cortisol, and subjective responses to psychological stress. Jan 2002. Psychopharmacology. 159(3):319-24. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11862365
Peters EM, Anderson R, Nieman DC, Fickl H, Jogessar V. Vitamin C supplementation attenuates the increases in circulating cortisol, adrenaline and anti-inflammatory polypeptides following ultramarathon running. Oct 2001. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 22(7):537-43. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11590482