Public Release:  Vitamin C rapidly improves emotional state of acutely hospitalized patients, say LDI researchers

Simple treatment may counteract widespread problem of subnormal vitamin levels in acute-care patients

Jewish General Hospital

This release is available in French.

Treatment with vitamin C rapidly improves the emotional state of acutely hospitalized patients, according to a study carried out by researchers at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital (JGH) and the affiliated Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research (LDI).

In a double-blind clinical trial, patients admitted to the JGH were randomly assigned to receive either vitamin C or vitamin D supplements for seven to ten days. Patients administered vitamin C had a rapid and statistically and clinically significant improvement in mood state, but no significant change in mood occurred with vitamin D, the researchers discovered. Their results were published recently in the journal Nutrition.

"Earlier studies, both in our hospital and in other centres, demonstrated that the majority of acutely hospitalized patients have subnormal levels of vitamins C and D in their blood," said Dr. L. John Hoffer, MD, PhD, an investigator at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research.

"About one in five acute-care patients in our hospital have vitamin C levels so low as to be compatible with scurvy," added Hoffer, also a Senior Physician in the Divisions of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, and a professor of medicine at McGill University. "But patients are rarely given vitamin supplements. Most physicians are simply unaware of the problem. Subclinical deficiencies of vitamin C and D have each been linked to psychological abnormalities, so we examined that aspect in our clinical trial."

"The lack of any effect of vitamin D on mood is good evidence we are not dealing with a placebo response," said Dr. Hoffer. "This looks like a true biological effect. Our finding definitely requires follow up in larger studies in other centres," he said. "The treatment is safe, simple and cheap, and could have major clinical practice implications."

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Contact:

Mark Shainblum
Research Communications Officer
Jewish General Hospital
Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research
Tel.: 514-340-8222 x 6592
Email: mshainblum@jgh,mcgill.ca
Website: jgh.ca

About the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the Jewish General Hospital

The Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research (LDI), located in Montreal, Quebec, is the research arm at the Jewish General Hospital, and has strong academic ties to McGill University. With over 150 affiliated researchers, the LDI is one of the largest and most important biomedical research institutes in Quebec and all of Canada. Major breakthroughs have been made by LDI researchers in the areas of HIV/ AIDS, aging, cancer, vascular disease, epidemiology and psychosocial science, and have thereby contributed to the health and well-being of millions of patients in Montreal, across Quebec and around the world. Website: ladydavis.ca

About the Jewish General Hospital

Now in its landmark 75th year of providing Care for All, the Jewish General Hospital has been a mainstay of superior medical care for generations of patients of all backgrounds. One of Quebec's largest and busiest acute-care hospitals, the JGH is committed to improving the quality of healthcare for all Quebecers in partnership with the provincial healthcare network. In this anniversary year, the Jewish General Hospital has redoubled its commitment providing patients the best possible care in a clean, safe and human-centered environment. The JGH is able to deliver these pioneering, innovative medical services by strengthening its role as a McGill University teaching hospital, by expanding and upgrading its facilities, and by pursuing cutting-edge research at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research. Website: jgh.ca

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