Preventive and Therapeutic Potential of Vitamin C in Mental Disorders

Curr Med Sci. 2018 Feb;38(1):1-10. doi: 10.1007/s11596-018-1840-2. Epub 2018 Mar 15.


In this review, we summarize the involvement of vitamin C in mental disorders by presenting available evidence on its pharmacological effects in animal models as well as in clinical studies. Vitamin C, especially its reduced form, has gained interest for its multiple functions in various tissues and organs, including central nervous system (CNS). Vitamin C protects the neuron against oxidative stress, alleviates inflammation, regulates the neurotransmission, affects neuronal development and controls epigenetic function. All of these processes are closely associated with psychopathology. In the past few decades, scientists have revealed that the deficiency of vitamin C may lead to motor deficit, cognitive impairment and aberrant behaviors, whereas supplement of vitamin C has a potential preventive and therapeutic effect on mental illness, such as major depressive disorder (MDD), schizophrenia, anxiety and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although several studies support a possible role of vitamin C against mental disorders, more researches are essential to accelerate the knowledge and investigate the mechanism in this field.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; ascorbic acid; major depressive disorder; oxidative stress; vitamin C.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage
  • Vitamins / pharmacology*
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamins
  • Ascorbic Acid