The brain and central nervous system are made up of large amounts of nerve cells. Stanford University's HOPES Project also notes that Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is also very prevalent in parts of the brain in between nerve cells. Studies have shown potential that Vitamin C can repair and prevent nerve damage.
About Vitamin C in the Body
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and, according to Stanford University, inside the body it changes forms to a negatively charged compound called ascorbate. Most animals make their own Vitamin C, but humans and some other closely related animals cannot because of a genetic mutation. Stanford University's HOPES Project says that humans must have Vitamin C in the diet to make necessary molecules. Vitamin C is important in the production of collagen, carnitine and noradrenaline.
About Free Radicals
Free radicals can damage cells by stealing their electrons through a process called oxidation. Stanford University says that free radicals can come from air, food, medicine or even water. When free radicals oxidate or damage a cell, the cell can lose normal function and eventually die. According to Stanford's HOPES Project, increased production of free radicals causes or accelerates nerve cell injury and damage.
Vitamin C Fights Free Radicals
Vitamin C has strong anti-oxidant properties, according to Stanford University. Inside your body, vitamin C changes to ascorbate and has a negative charge. Stanford says that the ascorbate is able to neutralize free radicals by donating its electrons to the free radicals. This in turn protects other parts of the cell like DNA and proteins from having their electrons stolen, thus protecting nerve cells.
Ascorbate and Nerve Diseases
Scientists at Stanford University have found that ascorbate is very high in the striatum area of the brain. Most of this is located in between nerve cells in what Stanford researches call extracellular fluid. During motor activity, the nerve cells release ascorbate into the extracellular spaces. According to Stanford, research has shown that in mice with nerve damage this releasing mechanism does not work as well, therefore a decrease in motor function could be tied to the lowered levels of ascorbate in certain brain areas.
Stanford University research has shown that injections of ascorbate into mice with nerve damage improved their motor function. Researchers theorized that inadequate amounts of ascorbate worsened the nerve symptoms. A French study with mice by Dr. Michel Fontes showed that treatment with Vitamin C or ascorbic acid improved symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a nerve disorder that affects 1 in 2,500 Americans. Researchers are planning to find out in the future if the Vitamin C has the same effects on improving human conditions as it did on lab mice.