Washington: A new study has found that Vitamin C is required for the proper functioning of the eyes and the brain.
The findings could have implications for diseases, like scurvy, glaucoma, and epilepsy.
We found that cells in the retina need to be bathed` in relatively high doses of vitamin C, inside and out, to function properly, said Henrique von Gersdorff, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Oregon Health and Science University`s Vollum Institute and a co-author of the study.
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, he said.
The brain has special receptors, called GABA-type receptors that help modulate the rapid communication between cells in the brain.
GABA receptors in the brain act as an inhibitory brake on excitatory neurons in the brain.
The OHSU researchers found that these GABA-type receptors in the retinal cells stopped functioning properly when vitamin C was removed.
Because retinal cells are a kind of very accessible brain cell, it`s likely that GABA receptors elsewhere in the brain also require vitamin C to function properly, stated von Gersdorff.
And because vitamin C is a major natural antioxidant, it may be that it essentially preserves the receptors and cells from premature breakdown, he added.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience.