Among several vitamins and minerals, our body is known to require a lot of supplements to keep it healthy and that can be acquired from several sources including a balanced diet and natural tonics. One such vitamin is Vitamin C which is known to be an essential type of vitamin as the body is unable to produce it on its own. It is primarily a water-soluble vitamin that can be lost through excretion and hence, must be replenished from time to time to help your body with positive effects of the same.
Having a vitamin C deficiency can involve risk factors like are poor diet, alcoholism, anorexia, severe mental illness, smoking, and dialysis.
It takes a long process to develop severe symptoms of vitamin C deficiency; however, there is some subtle sign to look out for.
While symptoms of severe vitamin C deficiency can take months to develop, there are some subtle signs to watch out for.
Here, at Healthlink.News we provide you the 15 most common signs and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency.
1. Rough, Bumpy Skin
Vitamin C is necessary to produce collagen that is a key ingredient and protein, abundant in connective tissues like skin, hair, joints, bones, and blood vessels.
Low vitamin C can affect your skin condition and can lead to the development of keratosis pilaris.
keratosis pilaris can cause bumpy “chicken skin” forms on the back of the upper arms, thighs, or buttocks because of a buildup of keratin protein inside the pores.
This is a condition that starts developing after three to five months due to a lack of vitamin C in your body and fades away with supplementation.
However, keratosis pilaris can cause due to other potential reasons as well and not only due to a deficiency.
2. Corkscrew-Shaped Body Hair
Vitamin C deficiency can cause hair problems due to the defect in the protein structure of hair growth resulting in hair growth in a bent or coiled shapes.
If you have corkscrew-shaped hair then you might be vitamin C deficit, however, you might not be able to know it as the damaged hair easily break off or fall out.
A proper intake of vitamin C for a month can resolve the hair damage issue proving you a better hair structure.
3. Bright Red Hair Follicles
Our hair follicles on the surface of the skin have several tiny blood vessels that function to supply blood and nutrients to the area.
Vitamin C deficient body can rupture these tiny blood vessels fragile and easily breakable that can result in small, bright red spots that occur around the hair follicles.
Commonly known as, perifollicular hemorrhage and a well-documented sign of severe vitamin C deficiency. Proper medication and vitamin C intake can aid in overcoming this within two weeks.
4. Spoon-Shaped Fingernails with Red Spots or Lines
We often see the concave shape and thin brittle kind of nails, known as spoon-shaped nails in our surroundings that are caused by iron deficiency anemia but also vitamin C deficiency.
Vitamin C deficiency can also lead to red spots or vertical lines underneath the nail bed, often known as splinter hemorrhage. This usually happens due to weakened blood vessels that rupture easily.
These appearances can help us understand our body’s vitamin C deficiency, however, it’s not considered diagnostic.
5. Dry, Damaged Skin
Healthy skin requires lots of vitamin C, most importantly in the epidermis, or outer layer of skin.
Our skin gets oxidative damage due to sun exposure and pollutants like cigarette smoke or the ozone. That’s where vitamin C plays a vital role to aids in the protection of your skin keeping it healthy. Vitamin C is necessary to produce collagen making your skin look plump and youthful.
Consumption of high vitamin c helps you get better healthy skin and stay away from the occurrence of dry and damaged skin.
Dry, damaged skin can be caused by any other reason not alone vitamin c deficiency.
6. Easy Bruising
Vitamin C can cause bruising that appears when blood vessels under the skin rupture, resulting in blood leaking into the surrounding areas. This can happen due to poor collagen production leading to weak blood vessels.
The deficient bruises can occur as tiny purple dots under the skin or covering massive areas of the body.
Vitamin c can cause easy bruising revealing the symptoms and urgency to tackle the vitamin c deficiency.
7. Slowly Healing Wounds
Vitamin c is known to aid in the production of collagen and lack of it can slow down the formation of collagen resulting in diminishing the rate of healing a wound faster.
People diagnosed with chronic, non-healing leg ulcers are more prone to be vitamin c deficient than those without it.
A major deficiency of vitamin c can cause the reopening of old wounds involving a higher risk of infections.
Vitamin C deficiency interferes with tissue formation, causing wounds to heal more slowly revealing advanced signs of deficiency. It can usually come under notice when someone is deficient for several months.
8. Painful, Swollen Joints
Vitamin c deficiency can cause joint pain that contains massive collagen-rich connective tissue causing bleeding in several cases within the joints causing painful swelling.
Vitamin c deficiency can cause joint pain which can promote limping or difficulty in walking.
These issues are treatable with the aid of vitamin c supplements within one week.
9. Weak Bones
Vitamin c is vital for bone formation and low vitamin c intake can cause fracture and osteoporosis. Vitamin c deficiencies can higher the risk of developing weak and brittle bone.]
Vitamin c is most crucial among children as they are in their growing and developing period and deficiency of vitamin c can affect their skeletons.
10. Bleeding Gums and Tooth Loss
Red, swollen, bleeding gums can indicate vitamin C deficiency.
Lack of vitamin c can cause gum tissue to become weakened and inflamed and blood vessels to bleed easily.
The complex stage of vitamin c deficiency can reflect purple and rotten gums.
Severe vitamin c deficiency can cause tooth loss due to unhealthy gums and weak dentin, the calcified inner layer of teeth.
11. Poor Immunity
Vitamin c is the most vital nutrients for the immune system as it aids in accumulating carious immune cells to fight against infections and destroy disease-causing pathogens.
Lack of vitamin c reflects poor immunity and increases the risk of infections, including serious illnesses like pneumonia.
A low level of vitamin c is also associated with death from an infectious disease like scurvy which causes the immune system to function poorly.
12. Persistent Iron Deficiency Anemia
Vitamin C deficiency can higher the risk of iron deficiency anemia by reducing iron absorption and increasing the likelihood of bleeding.
Some common symptoms can occur like paleness, fatigue, trouble breathing during exercise, dry skin and hair, headache, and spoon-shaped fingernails.
Vitamin c deficiency can cause iron deficiency anemia by lowering the absorption rate of iron from plant-based foods and negatively affecting iron metabolism.
13. Fatigue and Poor Mood
The earliest symptoms associated with vitamin c deficiency are fatigue and poor mood occur even with low-to-normal levels of vitamin c.
These reoccurring fatigue and irritability can be prevented with the intake of a sufficient amount of vitamin c and can even be controlled within 24 hours with the help of a high dose of vitamin c supplement.
14. Unexplained Weight Gain
Having a vitamin c deficiency can cause weight gain in some people as vitamin c helps in regulating the release of fat from fat cells lowering stress hormones and diminishing inflammation.
As per research low, vitamin c levels can cause excess fat but can involve other factors as well like diet quality.
Vitamin c deficiency is associated with an increase in belly fat. Nevertheless, more examination is required to be sure that weight gain is caused by vitamin c or it involves other factors.
15. Chronic Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Vitamin c is a water-soluble antioxidant that functions as the prevention of cellular damage by neutralizing free radicals that can cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. This can result in several chronic diseases like heart disease or diabetes.
Vitamin c deficiency can cause an increased risk of inflammation and oxidative stress, resulting in heart diseases. high consumption of vitamin c can lower the risk of such chronic illnesses.
The Best Food Sources of Vitamin C
The recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin C is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women (1).
People who smoke should increase their vitamin c intake by 35 mg daily due to the reduction of absorption level of vitamin c caused by tobacco and increases the body’s use of the nutrient.
A person diagnosed with scurvy requires a minimal intake of vitamin c that is 10mg daily (1tbsp) can be found in bell pepper or half lemon juice.
Some of the best food sources of vitamin C (per cup) include (2):
|2,740% of the RDI
|628% of the RDI
|338% of the RDI
|Sweet red pepper:
|317% of the RDI
|273% of the RDI
|226% of the RDI
|187% of the RDI
|160% of the RDI
|149% of the RDI
|144% of the RDI
|135% of the RDI
|133% of the RDI
Vitamin C rapidly breaks down when exposed to heat, therefore the consumption of raw fruits and vegetables is more suitable than cooked ones.
Our body requires a daily intake of vitamin c as it is unable to store a large amount of it. Therefore, it is recommendable to eat fruits and vegetables daily.
Vitamin c supplement is not harmful to our body. However, more than 2000 mg daily can result in abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and nausea, as well as increase the risk of developing oxalate kidney stones in men (3).
If you are going for a blood test in the stool or stomach should avoid intake of vitamin c two weeks before testing as a daily dose of 250mg can affect the testing.
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