Micronutrient status is thought to impact on psychological mood due to the role of nutrients in brain structure and function. The aim of the current study was to investigate the association of vitamin C status with mood state in a sample of male tertiary students. We measured fasting plasma vitamin C levels as an indicator of vitamin C status, and subjective mood was determined using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire. One hundred and thirty-nine male students aged 18 to 35 years were recruited from local tertiary institutes in Christchurch, New Zealand. The average plasma vitamin C concentration was 58.2 ± 18.6 (SD) µmol/L and the average total mood disturbance score was 25.5 ± 26.6 (possible score -32 to 200 measuring low to high mood disturbance, respectively). Plasma vitamin C concentration was inversely correlated with total mood disturbance as assessed by POMS (r = -0.181, p < 0.05). Examination of the individual POMS subscales also showed inverse associations of vitamin C status with depression, confusion, and anger. These findings suggest that high vitamin C status may be associated with improved overall mood in young adult males.
Keywords: POMS; ascorbate; mood; plasma; total mood disturbance; vitamin C.