7 Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency (And What You Can Do About It)

By Patrick Banks

Posted 4 years agoHEALTH

Ever heard of scurvy? It’s a pretty nasty disease that a lot of sailors died from, and it’s caused by a lack of vitamin C.

In fact, between 1500 and 1800, around two million sailors died just because they didn’t get enough vitamin C in their bodies. If that doesn’t show you how important this stuff is, what will?

Vitamin C is crucial to keeping humans not only functioning normally but just alive in general. Without it, your body will quickly start to fail you. 

If you think you might have a vitamin C deficiency, check out our guide to the signs and symptoms as well as how to get your daily hit of the good stuff.

Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms

Although scurvy is far less common today thanks to modern medicine and a better knowledge of food, deficiencies are still around. Luckily if your body isn’t getting enough vitamin C it’ll definitely let you know. Take a look at some of the signs of vitamin C deficiency to make sure you know what to look out for. 

1. Rough Skin

Did you know that vitamin C keeps our skin healthy? If you have lower levels of vitamin C, you can develop keratosis pilaris, which is characterized by chicken skin. You’ll notice your skin turning bumpy around your thighs, buttocks, and upper arms as keratin builds up inside the pores. 

It can also lead to dry, damaged skin that bruises easily, so if you’re having a lot of skin issues it could be time to look at your vitamin C intake. 

2. Red Hair Follicles

Noticing the hair follicles on your skin turning bright red should always be an alarming sight. This isn’t happening because of too many red M&Ms, it’s actually due to small blood vessels breaking easily because you’re not getting enough vitamin C. 

It’s a sign of severe vitamin C deficiency that’s often seen in studies and one that’s easy to spot. Look out for bright red spots around your hair follicles and if you see them act quickly. 

3. Wounds That Won’t Heal

When it comes to symptoms of low vitamin C, this is one of the nastiest. If you’re noticing large wounds are taking a lot longer than they should to heal, you could be experiencing scurvy. It can even lead to old wounds reopening, which is pretty scary if it happens to you! 

If you’re seeing problems with wounds, you’ve probably been deficient for a few months at least. It’s one of the more advanced stages and you should see a doctor as soon as you can. 

4. Feeling Tired and Grumpy

If people have been complaining about your mood recently, it might not be entirely up to you. The earliest signs of vitamin C deficiency are a drop in mood and fatigue, making day-to-day life less than joyful. 

These symptoms can actually appear before you develop a deficiency, so keep an eye out for them! 

5. Swollen Joints and Weaker Bones

Vitamin C can affect your body’s collagen production, leading to those skin problems mentioned earlier. But it can also affect your joints, leading to pain and swelling. The pain can become so severe it can cause you trouble walking, so this is definitely something you need to treated as soon as possible.

Vitamin C is also vital in bone formation, and a lack has been shown to increase fractures. This makes it particularly important to give kids enough vitamin as their bones are still forming. 

6. Teeth and Gum Problems

Spitting blood when you brush? Whilst your mind might instantly go to gum disease, it could also be a sign of vitamin C deficiency. Without enough, your gum tissue gets a lot weaker and bleeds easily. In more advanced deficiencies, they may even become purple and rot.

After some time, your teeth can start to fall out because of your unhealthy gums. Visit your dentist for gum problems but remember vitamin C could be the cause. 

7. Persistent Anemia

Anemia is characterized by an iron deficiency, but did you know it can also be a symptom of vitamin C deficiency?

This is because iron and vitamin C go hand in hand, and iron supplements won’t work well if you’re not getting enough of vitamin C too. If your anemia won’t go away, it could be time to switch the attention from iron.  

Vitamin C Deficiency Causes and Treatments

Vitamin C deficiency can have lots of causes, with the main culprit being your diet. If you’re not eating enough vitamin C rich foods it’s no surprise your body’s lacking. It can also be caused by alcoholism, smoking, and anorexia. 

If you do any of those three things, your best bet to get rid of your deficiency is to stop and start eating a healthy, balanced diet. Start eating foods rich in vitamin C to increase your levels, such as oranges, strawberries, and broccoli. You should also start taking a daily vitamin C supplement to get an extra hit and help your body recover from the deficiency. 

To help you look after your body and get enough vitamin C, here are some helpful links:

Keep Healthy and Happy

Deficiencies aren’t uncommon but they’re easily treated. By keeping up a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise, you’ll help avoid deficiencies and keep your body and mind happy. 

About the author Patrick Banks

Patrick is a Berlin-based dating advisor, motivational speaker, a huge fitness and vegan diet enthusiast and the main editor at Wingman Magazine, specialised in men's health. His ultimate goal is to share with men around the world his passion for self-development and to help them to become the greatest version of themselves. He believes a healthy body and successful social interactions are two main keys to happiness.

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