Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which our body requires for healthy growth and development. As they quickly dissolve in water, excess amounts of it leave our collection through urine.
Our body usually stores a small amount of vitamin C, but it is advised to include vitamin C rich foods in the diet to prevent its deficiency.
How would you recognize if you are vitamin C deficient? Read the blog further and know the early warning signs and symptoms.
Why Taking Adequate Vitamin C Is Important?
- If stress has weakened your immune system with time, take vitamin C rich foods as it can be beneficial for your overall health.
- If you have a common cold, taking vitamin C can help prevent future complications.
- Higher concentrations of vitamin C in the blood can minimize the risk of developing a stroke.
- Higher vitamin C intake is linked to lower the risk of dryness of the skin, wrinkles, and other aging signs.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant and thus helps prevent the oxidation of other molecules. This property makes it useful for treating cancer.
How Much Is Vitamin C Enough?
The amount of vitamin C you need to take daily depends upon your gender and the age group to which you belong. Have a look at the data below to know the Recommended Dietary Allowance(RDA) for different age groups:
Kids (1–3 years) 15 mg
Kids (4–8 years) 25 mg
Adolescents (9–13 years) 45 mg
Teens (14–18 years) 65–75 mg
Adult women (aged 19 and older) 75 mg
Adult men (aged 19 and older) 90 mg
Pregnant women (aged 19 and older) 85 mg
Breastfeeding women (aged 19 and older) 120 mg
Signs & Symptoms Of Vitamin C Deficiency
Following are some of the most widespread signs and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency:
Bleeding, Swollen Gums And Tooth Loss
Bleeding, swollen gums are a sign that you might be deficient in vitamin C. Insufficiency of vitamin C in the body can weaken and inflame your gum tissues, making the blood vessels to bleed more easily.
Studies suggest that more severe cases of vitamin C deficiency may make your gums appear purple and rotten. Your teeth may even fall out as a result of unhealthy and weak gums.
Frequent nosebleeds are yet another sign of vitamin C deficiency.
When the tiny blood vessels in your nose burst out, your nose will bleed. Since collagen is required to strengthen the blood vessels, having a vitamin C deficiency weakens them. It makes the blood vessels burst and create nosebleeds frequently.
Slow Wound Healing
Your body’s healing mechanism depends partially on vitamin C levels. The immune system relies on vitamin C to repair wounds and fight infection. Moreover, this particular nutrient is responsible for the formation of collagen, which is required to strengthen the scar tissue that forms over your wounds. Vitamin C deficiency can make the process less effective, inducing more extended bleeding and gradual healing.
Dry, Split Hair
If your hair is healthy and shiny, it suggests you have a well-balanced diet. The deficiency of vitamin C can leave your hair dry with split ends.
Hair relies on collagen for health and strength. When you are not getting adequate vitamin C levels daily, it can lead to weak and brittle hair that falls out quickly. Your hair can tell a lot about which nutrient you are deficit on, just consult your healthcare specialist.
Cork-Screw Shaped Body Hair
If your body hair is growing in bent or coil-shaped, it indicates a vitamin C deficiency. It happens because of the defects that occur in the protein structure of hair as it grows. Such hair generally gets damaged or falls out quickly, and so most people fail to recognize this sign.
Fortunately, these hair abnormalities get resolved within a month of treatment with the right amounts of vitamin C.
Spoon Shaped Fingernails With Red Lines Or Spots
Spoon-shaped nails are very thin and brittle and are marked by their concave shape. These are increasingly common in iron deficiency anemia, but can also be linked with vitamin C deficiency.
You can also notice red vertical lines or spots on your nail beds when you are deficient of vitamin C, because of the weak blood vessels that damage easily.
One important thing to note is that spoon-shaped nail with red lines or spots may only help determine the possibility of vitamin C deficiency, but should not be considered as an ultimate diagnostic method.
Dry, Damaged Skin
It is observed that healthy skin has significant amounts of vitamin C in the outermost layer of skin, called epidermis.
Vitamin C is essential in keeping your skin healthy as it helps prevent oxidative rupture caused by excessive exposure to skin or other harmful pollutants such as ozone or cigarette smoke. Vitamin C produces collagen that promotes healthy and youthful skin.
Take sufficient amounts of vitamin C daily for improved skin quality, and reduce the risk of dry, damaged skin.
If your skin is appearing to be dry or damaged, you can just conclude that you are vitamin C deficient. Several other factors may also be the underlying cause, and so you need to be careful.
Bruising happens when the blood vessels underneath your skin get damaged. Easy bruising is one of the most common warning signs of vitamin C deficiency, as improper collagen production leads to weak blood vessels.
You can have these bruises as small as a purple-colored dots, or it may also cover large parts of the body. Therefore, these signs need to be addressed by a specialist for further investigation of vitamin C levels.
Painful And Swollen Joints
Your joints have numerous collagen-rich connective tissues. For this reason, they can also get impacted with a vitamin C deficiency.
Many people have reported some of the other joint issues with vitamin C deficiency. Some are so severe that it can result in limping or difficulty walking.
Vitamin C deficiency can weaken your bones and make you more susceptible to bone fractures and osteoporosis. Some studies suggest that vitamin C has a significant role in the formation of bones., and so a deficiency may increase the likelihood of your bone loss.
Poor Immune System
Researchers have found that vitamin C stockpiles inside several types of immune cells to help them fight infection and kill the disease-causing pathogens. People having a vitamin C deficiency generally have a weak immune system and a higher risk of disease, including several serious illnesses such as pneumonia.
Some studies suggest that people having scurvy eventually dies off infection as their immune systems are not strong enough to combat infections.
Iron Deficiency Anemia That Persists For Very Long
Iron deficiency anemia and vitamin C deficiency usually occur together. Signs of iron deficiency anemia include fatigue, paleness, difficulty breathing while exercising, headache, spoon-shaped fingernails, dry hair, and skin, etc.
Inadequate levels of vitamin C may encourage iron deficiency anemia by decreasing the absorption of iron from plant-based foods. It can also affect iron metabolism negatively.
When you have a vitamin C deficiency, the risk of bleeding increases, which can lead to anemia, if you have a persistent iron deficiency anemia, you should consult a doctor and check your vitamin C levels.
Unintended Weight Gain
You may have unintended weight gain for several reasons, and so it is not enough to rule out other causes of your symptoms.
Low vitamin C can make you obese, but other factors may also be involved, such as diet quality. This particular vitamin also has a crucial role in how efficiently your body burns fat for energy.
Poor Mood And Fatigues
You may be astonished to know that there is a strong link between your vitamin C levels and mood. A study was conducted on a group of patients who often get hospitalized for having lower than normal levels of vitamin C. It was found that they felt less fatigued or depressed after receiving proper amounts of vitamin C. Taking a vitamin C supplement helps alleviate mood, even in people who aren’t yet aware of their vitamin C deficiency. Ensure that you are not crossing the upper limit of 2000 milligrams of vitamin C per day as too much of any nutrient can also be dangerous.
Examples Of Foods Rich In Vitamin C
- Red, green or yellow pepper