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Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency

September 20, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team


Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid and ascorbate) is a water-soluble vitamin found in citrus and other fruits and vegetables and is also sold as a dietary supplement. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue, the formation of collagen, and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters. It is required for the functioning of several enzymes and is important for immune system function. It also functions as an antioxidant.

How Much Vitamin C do you Need?

The body doesn't make or store vitamin C, so one has to consume it every day. In most cases, eating a balanced diet can fulfill the daily requirement of Vitamin C. For adults, 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day is good enough.

If you smoke, you'll need an extra 35 milligrams of vitamin C per day to help repair the damage caused by free radicals.

Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency

Symptoms of severe vitamin C deficiency can take months to develop. Here are some signs to watch out for vitamin C deficiency:

  • Bleeding Gums, Nosebleeds, Bruises

    Vitamin C deficiency can cause bleeding in gums, nosebleeds, and difficulty in blood clotting in bruises. Vitamin C keeps your blood vessels healthy, and it helps your blood clot. Collagen is also essential for healthy teeth and gums. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue, and the formation of collagen.

  • Painful, Swollen Joints

    Vitamin C deficiency often causes severe joint pain. In severe cases, bleeding can occur within the joints, causing painful swelling.

  • Slow Healing Wounds

    Vitamin C deficiency interferes with tissue formation, causing wounds to heal more slowly.

  • Weak Bones

    Vitamin C deficiency can also affect bone health and has been linked to an increased risk of fracture and osteoporosis. Vitamin C is important for bone formation, and deficiency can increase the risk of developing weak and brittle bones.

  • Chronic Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

    Vitamin C is a strong water-soluble antioxidant that helps prevent cellular damage by neutralizing free radicals that can cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

  • Dry or Wrinkled Skin

    Vitamin C keeps skin healthy by protecting it from oxidative damage caused by the sun and exposure to pollutants like cigarette smoke or the ozone. It also promotes collagen production, which keeps skin looking smooth and soft.

  • Belly Fat

    Vitamin C deficiency can result in the gain of belly fat.

  • Weak Immunity

    Vitamin C is an important nutrient for the immune system. Low vitamin C levels are linked to an increased risk of infection.

  • Scurvy

    Scurvy is a disease that results from severe vitamin C deficiency. Its symptoms include - skin spots caused by bleeding and bruising from broken blood vessels, hair loss, swelling or bleeding of gums, and eventual loss of teeth.

The Best Food Sources of Vitamin C

Some of the best food sources of vitamin C include (per 100gm):

  • Kakadu plum - 1000-5300 mg.
  • Camu camu - 2800 mg.
  • Acerola - 1677mg.
  • Seabuckthorn - 695 mg.
  • Indian gooseberry - 445 mg.
  • Rose hip - 426 mg.
  • Guava - 228 mg.
  • Blackcurrant - 200 mg.
  • Yellow bell pepper/capsicum - 183 mg.
  • Red bell pepper/capsicum - 128 mg.
  • Kale - 120 mg.
  • Broccoli - 90 mg.
  • Kiwifruit - 90 mg.

Summary

Vitamin C rapidly breaks down when exposed to heat, so raw fruits and vegetables are better sources than cooked ones. Since the body does not store large amounts of vitamin C, it is recommended to eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day.

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