Whole-fruit vitamin C boosts your feelings of vitality, study shows

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In a new study, researchers found that adults low in dietary vitamin C can improve their feelings of vitality by eating two kiwifruits a day for two weeks.

The benefits were stronger than in a matched group taking vitamin C through a supplement tablet.

The finding highlights the advantages of ingesting vitamin C through whole fruits such as kiwifruit.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Otago.

In the study, the team tested whether increasing vitamin C through whole fruit or tablets can improve feelings of vitality or zest for life.

They recruited 167 people between 18 to 35 years-old who had low baseline levels of vitamin C and randomly divided them into three groups; a kiwifruit group, an equivalent vitamin C tablet group (250 mg), or a placebo-tablet group.

Each day for four weeks, participants were asked to eat two Sungold kiwifruit (a fruit known to be exceptionally high in vitamin C) or consume their tablet.

The team found that vitamin C levels in both the kiwifruit group and vitamin C tablet group increased to normal within two weeks.

A key finding however was the extra benefits to vitality reported by the group taking kiwifruit.

The vitamin C tablet did decrease fatigue and improve well-being to some extent for individuals with consistently low vitamin C levels leading up to the intervention.

Interestingly, the benefits of consuming kiwifruit emerged in just 2 weeks.

The team says vitamin C has many functions in the body and brain and increases the production of numerous hormones and neurotransmitters.

These include adrenalin, serotonin, and oxytocin that control stress levels, regulate mood, and promote feelings of well-being.

While links between vitamin C and physical functioning are well-documented, this study establishes a role for vitamin C in mental functioning.

The study also suggests that whole fruit intake promotes added benefits to mental function.

The team says by raising vitamin C levels through whole foods like kiwifruit, people can get other active ingredients that will benefit more systems in the body and brain.

One author of the study is Associate Professor Tamlin Conner.

The study is published in Nutrients.

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