We reach for vitamin C during cold and flu season without thinking twice, but studies have also found this powerful antioxidant beneficial for improving brain health, boosting mood and in helping your skin stay looking its best.

Here are a few science-backed reasons to consider taking a vitamin C supplement.

Brain Health

A 2014 study in subjects who had experienced a hemorrhagic stroke found low levels of vitamin C to be a risk factor, with 45percent of the subjects having depleted levels of C and 14 percent being deficient in the vitamin.

On the other hand, healthy subjects who had not had a stroke were found to have normal levels of vitamin C.

Other brain health studies have found that maintaining healthy vitamin C levels protects against age-related cognitive decline, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Mood Booster 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression effects more than 16 million Americans.

A study published in Nutrition Journal found high doses of vitamin C to be effective at reducing the severity of depression symptoms. When subjects who were taking a popular antidepressant added 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C to their regimen, they reported a significant improvement in mood. The healthy subjects without depression who were enrolled in the study also reported improvements to their mood when taking C.

See also Beat the Moody Blues.

Skin Health

Vitamin C is an important skin health nutrient both as an antioxidant and in its role in collagen synthesis.

Studies have found that taking a vitamin C supplement can help prevent damage to the skin caused by harmful UV rays. Vitamin C intake has also been associated with better skin appearance, including fewer wrinkles. 

Since only a small percentage of the antioxidants we ingest make it to the skin, adding a topical vitamin C serum is a great addition to your skin care regimen.

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