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Article

Initial Evidence of Variation by Ethnicity in the Relationship between Vitamin C Status and Mental States in Young Adults

1
Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
2
Independent Researcher, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
3
Centre for Free Radical Research, Department of Pathology and Biomedical Science, University of Otago, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Carol S. Johnston
Nutrients 2021, 13(3), 792; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030792
Received: 16 January 2021 / Revised: 17 February 2021 / Accepted: 24 February 2021 / Published: 27 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamins C and D: Global and Population Health Perspectives)
Higher fruit and vegetable intake has been associated with improved mood, greater vitality, and lower stress. Although the nutrients driving these benefits are not specifically identified, one potentially important micronutrient is vitamin C, an important co-factor for the production of peptide hormones, carnitine and neurotransmitters that are involved in regulation of physical energy and mood. The aim of our study was to investigate the cross-sectional relationship between blood plasma vitamin C status and mood, vitality and perceived stress. A sample of 419 university students (aged 18 to 35; 67.8% female) of various ethnicities (49.2% European, 16.2% East Asian, 8.1% Southeast/Other Asian, 9.1% Māori/Pasifika, 11.5% Other) provided a fasting blood sample to determine vitamin C status and completed psychological measures consisting of the Profile of Mood States Short Form (POMS-SF), the vitality subscale of the Rand 36-Item Short Form (SF-36), and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Participants were screened for prescription medication, smoking history, vitamin C supplementation, fruit/juice and vegetable consumption, kiwifruit allergies, excessive alcohol consumption and serious health issues, and provided age, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status information, which served as covariates. There were no significant associations between vitamin C status and the psychological measures for the sample overall. However, associations varied by ethnicity. Among Māori/Pasifika participants, higher vitamin C was associated with greater vitality and lower stress, whereas among Southeast Asian participants, higher vitamin C was associated with greater confusion on the POMS-SF subscale. These novel findings demonstrate potential ethnicity-linked differences in the relationship between vitamin C and mental states. Further research is required to determine whether genetic variation or cultural factors are driving these ethnicity differences. View Full-Text
Keywords: psychology; mental health; well-being; nutrition; micronutrients; healthy adults; ethnicity; Māori; Pasifika; Pacific; Asian psychology; mental health; well-being; nutrition; micronutrients; healthy adults; ethnicity; Māori; Pasifika; Pacific; Asian
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fletcher, B.D.; Flett, J.A.M.; Wickham, S.-R.; Pullar, J.M.; Vissers, M.C.M.; Conner, T.S. Initial Evidence of Variation by Ethnicity in the Relationship between Vitamin C Status and Mental States in Young Adults. Nutrients 2021, 13, 792. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030792

AMA Style

Fletcher BD, Flett JAM, Wickham S-R, Pullar JM, Vissers MCM, Conner TS. Initial Evidence of Variation by Ethnicity in the Relationship between Vitamin C Status and Mental States in Young Adults. Nutrients. 2021; 13(3):792. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030792

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fletcher, Benjamin D., Jayde A. M. Flett, Shay-Ruby Wickham, Juliet M. Pullar, Margreet C. M. Vissers, and Tamlin S. Conner. 2021. "Initial Evidence of Variation by Ethnicity in the Relationship between Vitamin C Status and Mental States in Young Adults" Nutrients 13, no. 3: 792. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030792

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