There is some truth in the old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Vitamin C – pictured here in crystalline form – is produced in the liver of many animals, but not humans. Keeping ourselves topped up is essential – vitamin C (also known as L-ascorbic acid) has several important roles in the body and is hard at work inside every cell in the brain. It’s a very effective anti-oxidant, able to ‘mop up’ volatile molecules produced in energetic brain regions such as the hippocampus. Recent research suggests that as well as having this protective role, vitamin C is directly involved in producing energy inside nerve cells and may reduce the risk of epileptic seizures. So “an apple a day” is good advice, but a couple of strawberries would be even better – they contain up to ten-times as much of this vital vitamin.
Written by John Ankers
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.