Vitamin C deficiency is a serious health issue. Vitamin C plays a vital role in body. However, most people do not recognize its importance in their regular diet.
Vitamin C is one of the most essential elements in every individual’s diet. It is essential for promoting cell growth and helps boost body’s immunity levels, promote the functioning of circulatory system as well. Vitamin C is also essential for developing and maintenance of body. Deficiency of vitamin C is a serious health concern and it required to be recognized and treated in the early stages itself. Vitamin C deficiency symptoms can be noticed only after deprivation of vitamin C for 45-80 days. Before it is noticed, body’s vitamin C levels falls to around 20% of its optimal amount, says nutritionists.
Lack of this vitamin in diet can lead to vitamin C deficiency anemia. In addition, acute vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy. Because of vitamin C deficiency, lesions are formed in loose connective tissue, which will lead to several psychological and physical impairments. It also causes gum disease known as gingivitis, skin hemorrhages, premature ageing and thyroid problems as well. Vitamin C deficiency is mostly seen among alcoholics, individuals consuming tobacco and malnourished (deprived of vitamin C) people.
Vitamin C deficiency causes several health problems and you need to know the symptoms of it to recognize when you need to add more of this vital vitamin in your regular diet.
Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency
A variety of symptoms show up that the person is suffering from vitamin C deficiency. Below are few signs and symptoms that indicate shortage of Vitamin C.
A brief list of Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms
- Low hemoglobin level (known as Vitamin C Deficiency Anemia)
- Easy bruising
- Bleeding gums
- Low immunity
- Decline in wound healing time
- Dryness of skin and hair
- Splitting hairs
- Epistaxis (Nosebleed)
- Slow metabolism and it may also result in weight gain or weight loss
- Painful and swollen joints
- Gingivitis (Gum inflammation)
- Scaly and rough skin
- Tooth enamel weakness
Vitamin C is essential for oral health. Healthy diet incorporating enough of vitamin C contributes to healthy gums and teeth. Deficiency of vitamin C can lead to deterioration of gums. Gingivitis and bleeding in gums appear in mouth, which is an initial sign. Our gums are made of collagen, which is produced by vitamin C. Gums are ulcerated and swollen when the levels of vitamin C are low. Gums bleed during brushing or flossing in this case. Deficiency of vitamin C leads to bacterial infections within the wounds of gums as well.
Weakened tooth enamel and bleeding gums are few signs that show up commonly. In severe cases, weakness in cartilage, teeth, bone and connective tissue will loosen and decays teeth that lead to eventual tooth loss.
Periodontal problems are also symptoms of vitamin C deficiency, which will further develop to a hazardous level. This condition is known as scurvy, which is a frightening health issue that occurs after prolonged vitamin C deprivation. Scurvy is an extreme condition where the wounds in gums are hard to treat, tooth decay and fall eventually, and gum bleeding is severe. This condition when not treated might lead to death.
A person suffering from deficiency of vitamin C tends to get exhausted and tired easily. Chronic fatigue is a symptom of several illnesses; it is difficult to catch specific condition depending on this symptom. According to the studies mentioned by Office of Dietary Supplements, fatigue, malaise and uneasiness or bodily discomfort is due to impaired carnitine biosynthesis. Our body makes carnitine to help in transportation of fatty acids across membrane in cellular structure responsible for energy generation. However, fatigue is a common symptom of several illnesses and one cannot be sure until other symptoms also become more noticeable.
Weight loss is often a happiest thing we all wish to happen. However, sudden drop in your pounds with no apparent reason should not be neglected. It could also be a sign of vitamin C deficiency, which might further lead to other health issues. This could also be a symptom of other illnesses similar to fatigue and you cannot be sure unless other symptoms also become more visible.
Wounds take long time to heal
Do you tend to bruise easily and if yes, does it take longer time than usual to heal? Excessive bruising is a sign showing that your body’s chemistry needs to be enhanced and is lacking enough of vitamins. This is in fact a sign of vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is essential for formation of scar tissue that helps heal wounds. If you are not having enough of this vitamin, then your wounds take much longer time than usual to heal and you will tend to get bruised easily because the scar tissue needs enough of vitamin C to heal the wound. Without scar tissue, wounds take longer time than usual to heal completely.
Dry/rough skin and hair
Change in skin and hair conditions are also signs of vitamin C deficiency. Your skin/hair can become rough and dry because it hinders in formation of collagen, which is essential in keeping your skin and hair smooth as well as soft.
Lower Immunity Levels
Deficiency of vitamin C will lower your body immunity levels and you are more likely susceptible to infections. Vitamin C is essential for production of white blood cells. Without it, the count of your white blood cells decline and you become more vulnerable to infections.
Capillaries under skin might break spontaneously because of the compromise in integrity of blood vessels which is due to vitamin C deficiency. Ruptured blood vessels, capillary breakage produce pinpoint hemorrhages.
Hypochondria, hysteria and depression are few psychological changes observed due to vitamin C deficiency. Mood change is yet another symptom of vitamin C deficiency. The person might become short tempered or irritable at times.
What is the recommended Vitamin C intake per day?
IOM, Institute of Medicine recommends 75mg of vitamin C intake per day for adult females aged 19 or older. Vitamin C consumption is 90mg for adult males aged 19 or older. However, when you undergo emotional or physical stress, the amount of this vitamin intake should be increased. People who smoke often or those who are exposed to cigarette smoke need to increase vitamin C intake to 35mg in order to prevent from other deficiencies.