Essential Vitamins : Vitamin C, Magnesium and B Vitamins

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

dr alibhai Dr. Tasreen Albhai N.D.
Naturopathic Medical Director

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that has many health benefits. The following are health benefits of vitamin C based on research studies.  

1. Vitamin C may decrease the risk of chronic diseases because it is a powerful antioxidant. [1] Antioxidants are molecules that boost the immune system by protecting cells from harmful free radicals. Studies have shown that increasing vitamin C intake increases the blood antioxidant levels by 30% to flight inflammation. [2,3]

2. Vitamin C may lower blood pressure. In a review of 29 human studies, vitamin C supplement decreased systolic blood pressure by 3.8 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.5mmHg in healthy adults. In adults with high blood pressure, vitamin C reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.9 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.7mmHg. [4] 

3. Vitamin C is linked to decrease risk of heart disease. In a review of 9 studies, those who too vitamin C over 10 years had a 25% reduction in heart disease than those who did not take vitamin C. [5] In an analysis of 13 studies, vitamin C lowered the risk factors for heart disease. LDL (bad) cholesterol was decreased by 7.9mg/dL and triglycerides levels by 20.1mg/dL. [6] 

4. Vitamin C helps prevent iron deficiency. It increases iron absorption by converting plant-based iron sources into easily absorbable forms. [7] Hence, vitamin C reduces the risk of anemia for individuals prone to iron deficiency.  

5. Vitamin C have been shown to protect decline in memory and cognition with aging. Low vitamin C levels is linked to impaired thinking and memory such as dementia. [8,9] High vitamin C intake have been shown to be protective effect on cognition with aging. [10]


Magnesium is an essential mineral in the body. It regulates the health of the body and brain. The following are evidence-based benefits of magnesium. 

1. Magnesium supports more than 600 hundred chemical reactions in the body. It is need for energy creation, protein production, gene maintenance, nervous system regulation, and muscle movements. [11] Magnesium acts as a helper molecule (cofactor) in biochemical reactions performed by enzymes. Studies have shown 50% of the US & European population get less than the daily requirement. [12]  

2. Low magnesium levels are linked to low mood and increased risk of depression. [13] Magnesium supplements may help reduce symptoms of depression. [14] In a randomized controlled trial of depressed older adults, daily magnesium supplement improved mood as effectively as antidepressant drug. [15]  

3. Magnesium has benefits against type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown 48% of type 2 diabetics have low blood magnesium levels which can impair insulin from keeping blood sugar levels under control. [16] One study over 20 years found those with highest magnesium levels were 47% less likely to develop diabetes. [17] 

4. Magnesium may lower blood pressure. [18,19] One study showed a those took magnesium supplement had a remarkable decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. [20]

5. Magnesium has anti-inflammatory benefits. Low magnesium levels is linked to aging, obesity, and chronic diseases. [21,22] Magnesium supplements may decrease inflammatory markers in older adults, overweight individuals, and prediabetics. [23,24]

Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B Complex is a combination of eight B vitamins: 
Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12). B vitamins have an impact on energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism. The following are studies that show the benefits of vitamin B complex.
1. Certain B vitamins may help prevent migraine with aura specifically vitamin B6, B9, and B12. [25] Vitamin B2 has been shown in a systematic review that it is well tolerated and effective at reducing migraine frequency in adults. [26] 

2. Multivitamins that contain high levels of B complex reduces stress and metal fatigue. [27] In a 1-month study, a combination of high dose B complex and mineral supplement improved mental health and stress. The combination also increased performance on cognitive tests. [28]  

3. B vitamins may relieve stress, increase cognitive performance, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. A study on adults with depression found that treatment with B-complex for 1month resulted in recovery with depression and anxiety symptoms, compared to a placebo. [29] Low levels of B12, B6, and folate have been linked to increased risk of depression. Therefore, it is important to rule out nutrient deficiencies if experiencing symptoms of depression. [30, 31]  

4. A combination of B6 and calcium improves symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). [32] A systematic review and meta-analysis found B6 helpful in controlling physical and psychological PMS symptoms. [33]   

5. Adequate B vitamins levels are extremely important during pregnancy. According to the CDC guidelines, all reproductive age women should take 400mcg of folic acid daily in addition to eating foods with folate. This is to reduce birth defects linked to the baby’s brain (anencephaly) and spinal cord (spina bifida). [34]



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