Vitamin C Deficiency: Symptoms, Prevention, And Treatment

Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that has many functions in your body and has been related to impressive health benefits. The body is not able to make vitamin C on its own or store it. That’s why it is important for your daily diet to include vitamin C-containing foods. Luckily, there is a wide variety of fruit and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, blackcurrants, red and green peppers, potatoes, broccoli, etc.

Vitamin C is essential in collagen, carnitine, hormone, and amino acid formation. According to Healthline, it serves as a strong antioxidant that may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, controls high blood pressure, fights heart disease risk factors, helps in reducing blood uric acid levels and prevents gout attacks, improves iron absorption, boosts your immunity, and protects your memory as you age. It is necessary for wound healing and facilitates recovery from burns.

But, as part of general undernutrition, vitamin C deficiency can occur. As a result of this, the formation of intercellular cement substances in connective tissues, bones, and dentin becomes impaired, which leads to subsequent hemorrhage and defective bones and related structures.Vitamin C Deficiency

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Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency

In adults, Vitamin C deficiency symptoms develop after weeks to months of vitamin C depletion. Most common ones are as follows:

– frequent nosebleeds

– dry, split hair

– bleeding and swollen gums

– slow wound healing

– iron deficiency

– swollen, painful joints

– dry, red, or wrinkled skin

– easy bruising

– weight gain

– frequent infections

– fatigue, moodiness

Vitamin C Deficiency

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Prevention

Make sure to have a healthy, balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in vitamin C, such as:

– Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes

– Berries such as blackcurrants, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries

– Kiwifruit

– Cantaloupe melon and watermelon

– Vegetables such as spinach, green and red peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes

(One large orange a day can provide you with enough vitamin C.)

 

Treatment

According to Patient, to treat vitamin C deficiency it is recommended to replace the vitamin C that is lacking in your diet. Make sure to take vitamin C supplements and eat a diet rich in vitamin C. Usually, you can stop taking Vitamin C supplements after a period of time, however, a vitamin C rich-diet should be always part of your lifestyle.

People with vitamin C deficiency usually make a full recovery. Once you start your treatment, symptoms will quickly improve within days or weeks.

 

The recommended daily intake of vitamin C:

The recommended daily intake of vitamin C varies depending on your age and sex. Usually, pregnant and breastfeeding women need greater amounts of vitamin C in their diet.

Children aged 1-10 years need 30 mg of vitamin C per day.
Children aged 11-14 years need 35 mg of vitamin C per day.
Whereas, children over the age of 15 years and adults need 40 mg per day.

For more detailed information, help, and advice contact a dietician for help.

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Persistent (chronic) vitamin C deficiency, usually over a period of around three months or more, can lead to an illness known as scurvy.

Scurvy

Scurvy is a disease resulting from a lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Typically, scurvy is caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet. Usually, Scurvy symptoms show at least a month of little to no vitamin C intake.

Some of the early symptoms of this disease include weakness, feeling tired, and sore arms and legs. If not treated, it would lead to decreased red blood cells, gum disease, changes to hair, and bleeding from the skin. Scurvy can also cause poor wound healing, personality changes, and finally death from infection or bleeding.

High-risk groups for scurvy are:

– People who abuse drugs and/or alcohol

– People following restrictive diets

– Older people with a less varied diet

– People who don’t consume foods rich in vitamin C

– People with a medical condition that impairs the body’s ability to digest and absorb food, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

– Pregnant and breastfeeding women

– Smokers

 

Scurvy Symptoms

According to Merck & Co., Inc., the most common symptoms of Scurvy include:

– Swollen, bleeding gums (purple, spongy, and friable)

– Loose and avulsed teeth.

– Poor wound healing

– Spontaneous hemorrhages

– Lower extremity edema and painful bleeding or effusions within joints.

Whereas, infants diagnosed with scurvy experience anorexia, pain during movement, slowed growth, impaired bone growth, and anemia.

 

Read also: Vitamin D Deficiency Most Common Causes And Symptoms

 


Disclaimer: The contents of this article: text, graphics, images, and other materials contained are strictly for informational purposes only. The Content is NOT intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Please ALWAYS seek the advice of a qualified health provider with all the questions that you have related to, or about, a medical condition.