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12 Early Symptoms Of Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin required for boosting the immune system, works as a defence against oxidative stress, helps in the formation of collagen and so on. The food sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, red bell pepper, kale, broccoli, etc. Consuming lesser amounts of vitamin C is said to cause vitamin C deficiency.

Though vitamin C deficiency is very rare in developed countries due to the availability of vitamin C rich foods, it still affects people due to certain risk factors. These include poor diet, smoking, anorexia, alcoholism, dialysis and severe mental illness.

If your body is deficient in vitamin C, these are the symptoms to watch out for.

Symptoms Of Vitamin C Deficiency


1. Dry skin

Epidermis, the outer layer of the skin contains large amounts of vitamin C. The presence of vitamin C in the skin protects the skin from oxidative damage caused by the sun and pollution. It also helps in collagen production, which keeps the skin looking young.

Lower intake of vitamin C has been linked to dry and damaged skin [1].


2. Bleeding gums

Another common symptom of vitamin C deficiency is red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Inadequate vitamin C leads to weakened and inflamed blood vessels in the gum tissues, causing the gums to bleed. This further causes the teeth to fall out due to unhealthy gums [2].

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3. Bruised skin

If your skin is getting bruised easily that means your body has low levels of vitamin C. It occurs when blood vessels under the skin burst, causing the blood to leak into the surrounding areas [3].


4. Bumpy skin

Low levels of vitamin C cause keratosis pilaris. It is a type of skin condition that causes bumpy skin to develop on the back of the upper arms, thighs or buttocks due to keratin protein buildup inside the pores [4].


5. Red hair follicles

The hair follicles have many small blood vessels that supply blood and nutrients to the area. Deficiency in vitamin C leads to weak blood vessels near the hair follicles, thereby causing small, bright red spots near the hair follicles.


6. Weight gain

According to a study, low levels of vitamin C has been associated with an increase in belly fat among healthy individuals. Higher levels of vitamin C can help prevent obesity by regulating the release of fat from the fat cells and lower inflammation and stress hormones [5].


7. Swollen joints

Studies have shown that swollen joints have been linked to vitamin C deficiency which causes difficulty in walking or limping [6]. Sometimes bleeding within the joints can also happen, which can further lead to swelling and joint pain.

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8. Fatigue

Another early symptom of vitamin C deficiency is fatigue and low mood. These symptoms can resolve once you increase the intake of vitamin C rich foods [7].


9. Anaemia

Low levels of vitamin C in the body can lead to iron deficiency anaemia. Vitamin C aids in better iron absorption so, reduced vitamin C levels slow down the absorption of iron from plant-based foods [8].


10. Weak immunity

Deficiency in vitamin C can also weaken your immunity, making you vulnerable to a higher risk of various infections. Higher levels of vitamin C is required for the body to combat infections and kill disease-causing germs [9].


11. Chronic inflammation

Not taking adequate amount of vitamin C have been linked to higher levels of inflammation and oxidative stress. Vitamin C stops cellular damage by neutralizing free radicals that cause inflammation and oxidative stress [10].


12. Weak bones

Numerous studies have shown that vitamin C deficiency increases the rate of bone loss, thus elevating the risk of fracture and osteoporosis [11].

Daily Vitamin C Requirement

The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for women is 75 mg per day and men 90 mg per day.

Read more about: vitamin c deficiency symptoms signs
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