Does Vitamin C Influence Neurodegenerative Diseases and Psychiatric Disorders?

Abstract

Vitamin C (Vit C) is considered to be a vital antioxidant molecule in the brain. Intracellular Vit C helps maintain integrity and function of several processes in the central nervous system (CNS), including neuronal maturation and differentiation, myelin formation, synthesis of catecholamine, modulation of neurotransmission and antioxidant protection. The importance of Vit C for CNS function has been proven by the fact that targeted deletion of the sodium-vitamin C co-transporter in mice results in widespread cerebral hemorrhage and death on post-natal day one. Since neurological diseases are characterized by increased free radical generation and the highest concentrations of Vit C in the body are found in the brain and neuroendocrine tissues, it is suggested that Vit C may change the course of neurological diseases and display potential therapeutic roles. The aim of this review is to update the current state of knowledge of the role of vitamin C on neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic sclerosis, as well as psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. The particular attention is attributed to understanding of the mechanisms underlying possible therapeutic properties of ascorbic acid in the presented disorders.