Do we need more convincing that vitamin C is a really important component for health? If so, here's a bit more support for that argument.
An article published online on June 29, 2011 in the Journal of Neuroscience reveals that the eye’s nerve cells need vitamin C, which suggests the vitamin may be required by other areas of the nervous system. Henrique von Gersdorff, PhD of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and his associates studied goldfish retinal cells, which are similar to those found in humans.
They found that the cells’ GABA-type receptors, which assist in the modulation of communication between nerve cells, cease to function properly in the absence of vitamin C. Because these cells are a type of brain cell, the researchers believe that GABA receptors in other parts of the brain may also need vitamin C, and that the vitamin’s antioxidant property helps preserve the cells and receptors from breakdown due to oxidative stress. "We found that cells in the retina need to be 'bathed' in relatively high doses of vitamin C, inside and out, to function properly," commented Dr von Gersdorff, who is a senior scientist at OHSU's Vollum Institute "Because the retina is part of the central nervous system, this suggests there's likely an important role for vitamin C throughout our brains, to a degree we had not realized before . . .
Perhaps the brain is the last place you want to lose vitamin C." The findings may have implications for other diseases caused by dysfunction of nerve cells in the retina and brain due to GABA receptor malfunction. "For example, maybe a vitamin C-rich diet could be neuroprotective for the retina — for people who are especially prone to glaucoma," Dr von Gersdorff stated. "This is speculative and there is much to learn. But this research provides some important insights and will lead to the generation of new hypotheses and potential treatment strategies."