Vitamin C rapidly improves emotional state of acutely hospitalised patients

In a double-blind clinical trial, patients admitted to Montreal's Jewish General Hospital and the affiliated Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research were randomly assigned to receive either vitamin C or vitamin D supplements for seven to ten days. Patients administered vitamin C had a rapid and statistically and clinically significant improvement in mood state, but no significant change in mood occurred with vitamin D, the researchers discovered.

Earlier studies ahd shown that the majority of acutely hospitalised patients have subnormal levels of vitamins C and D in their blood. About one in five acute-care patients in the Jewish General Hospital have vitamin C levels so low as to be compatible with scurvy 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.

"The lack of any effect of vitamin D on mood is good evidence we are not dealing with a placebo response," said Dr John Hoffer, an investigator at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research. "This looks like a true biological effect. Our finding definitely requires follow up in larger studies in other centres," 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.


First Published in September 2010

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