Signs of a Vitamin C Deficiency

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Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that fabricates collagen which helps to maintain healthy bones & tissue in the body. Discover the signs of Vitamin C deficiency.

Vitamins as we know, are a group of substances needed in small amounts by the body to maintain health. Vitamins C, also called ascorbic acid, cannot be made by the human body alone, so is an essential component of your diet.Vitamin C Vitamin C is needed to assist the body in the development of collagen, which is required for the health and repair of bones and tissue in the body, such as:

  • Bone
  • Skin
  • Cartilage
  • Blood Vessel walls
  • Ligaments and Tendons
  • Teeth

While a vitamin C deficiency is relatively rare due to the mass range of foods on offer that are rich in vitamin C, it isn’t uncommon, especially in people that don’t eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables. Everyone knows that oranges contain vitamin C, but they may not know exactly how this vital vitamin works in our bodies – or if you’re getting enough.

In this article we will explain the signs of a vitamin C deficiency and how to get that lack of vitamin C under control.

What is a Vitamin C Deficiency?

A vitamin C deficiency happens because of the lack of sufficient amounts of vitamin C in your diet. Overtime, a lack of vitamin C means that new collagen cannot be formed. This causes various tissues in the body to start breaking down and the health and repair of your body can become affected.

What happens if you don’t get enough vitamin C?

A serious vitamin C deficiency is rare but can lead to scurvy, a disease once widespread among fruit-deprived sailors. Scurvy is caused by not having enough vitamin C in your diet for at least 3 months. Even people who don’t necessarily have a very nutritional diet are not usually considered at risk of scurvy. Scurvy due to a vitamin C deficiency is rare in the UK. These are a few things that may increase your risk of scurvy:

  • Have little to no fresh fruits or vegetables in your diet for more than three months
  • Eating very little foods at all, which may be due to treatments such as chemotherapy or eating disorders
  • Smoking, as it reduces the amount of vitamin C your body gets from food
  • Having a long-term dependency on alcohol that affects diet
  • Having poor diet when pregnant or breastfeeding, because the body needs more vitamin C at these times



The good news is that scurvy can be very easily treated once it has been diagnosed. Your doctor might advise that you add vitamin C-rich foods to your diet or that you should take supplements to ensure you’re consuming enough vitamin C until you start to feel better. If you think that you may be suffering with an underlying health condition then you should seek medical assistance.



Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency

Not all signs of low vitamin C intake point directly toward scurvy. If not diagnosed and treated, vitamin C deficiency can also lead to shortness of breath, nerve problems, high body temperature (fever) and convulsions. Adults may feel weak, tired, and irritable if their diet is low in vitamin C, they may also start to lose weight and have vague muscle and joint aches.

Symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency can include:

  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Irritability
  • Easy bruising
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Sore or bleeding gums
  • Poor healing of wounds
  • Weight loss

Infants can suffer from a vitamin C deficiency too. Their likely symptoms would be: irritability, have pain when they move, and losing their appetite. Infants will also not gain weight as they normally would do, and bone growth can be impaired, as well as the possibility of anaemia.

How to Prevent a Vitamin C Deficiency

The best sources, as outlined above, of vitamin C are fruit and vegetables. The best way to get a healthy amount of vitamin C is through having a healthy, balanced diet. You can find vitamin C in foods such as citrus fruits, berries, peppers, tomatoes, green vegetables and potatoes, especially new potatoes.Food for Vitamin C

If you don’t feel as though you are consuming enough vitamin C, supplements can be taken to make sure your body receives the correct amount. After a period of time, vitamin C supplements can be stopped, however, it is important to continue to eat a rich vitamin C diet after the supplements have stopped. This will avoid becoming deficient in vitamin C again.

However, taking more than the recommended dosage of vitamin C can cause stomach pain, diarrhoea and flatulence. If ever in doubt, always seek advice from a trusted healthcare professional.

Now that you’ve read all about vitamin C deficiency and the signs to look out for, are you curious on how to give your body that extra boost? Why not read our article on 9 vitamins to boost immune systems, next!



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