A recent Danish study on animals underscores just how important vitamin C can be to the brains of newborns, especially during the first few months of their lives.
Researchers studied the need for vitamin C "brain food" by separating 30 newborn guinea pigs into groups fed diets containing low or adequate amounts of vitamin C for two months. Then, the mental acuity of each guinea pig was measured in a water maze, in addition to the number of neurons in their hippocampus (the sector of the brain that affects long-term memory and spatial navigation).
No surprise, guinea pigs in the low vitamin C group had 30 percent fewer neurons in the hippocampus and performed markedly worse on spatial tests than those fed adequate diets.
Consequently, scientists believe the vitamin C-deficient diets of pregnant women as well as those choosing to breast feed may harm the mental development of newborns. And, based on reported problems among adults, experts estimate as many as 10 percent of newborn babies may be affected by the lack of vitamin C.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 90, No. 3, pp. 540-546, September 2009
Science Daily September 2, 2009
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