10 Signs You’re Vitamin C Deficient

Why is Vitamin C so important for YOUR health?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a natural antioxidant that your body needs for several important functions. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t store it, so you can easily develop a vitamin C deficiency. One study showed that of the about 92% of Americans who have some sort of vitamin deficiency, more than 7% are vitamin C deficient.

The Covid19 pandemic turned the spotlight on the importance of vitamin C for your body as it can help boost your immune system. While vitamin C cannot prevent or treat Covid-19, it may help you recover faster. This also applies to common colds.

Here are some of vitamin C’s most important roles in your body:

  • It boosts collagen production, which is necessary to make tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and skin.
  • It helps wound healing.
  • It’s vital for maintaining bone health.
  • It can reduce the damage caused by free radicals and thus can lower the risk of conditions like cancer and heart disease.

Luckily, we can easily get the daily amount of vitamin C our body needs from different foods or supplements. The recommended daily dose for vitamin C is 75 mg for adult women, 90 mg for adult men, and between 15 and 75 mg for children. Keep in mind that those represent the minimum amount of intake of vitamin C necessary for your body to function properly.

I’m sure you’ve heard so many times that orange juice is one of the richest sources of vitamin C. I’m not gonna say it’s a myth, but surely it’s a bit of overrated healthy advice. Broccoli and strawberries, for instance, both have about 80 mg of vitamin C per cup, while one medium kiwi has about 70 mg.

Now, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself Am I getting enough vitamin C? If you’re worried that you might not be, then keep reading to find out several symptoms and subtle signs that show you have a vitamin C deficiency.

Rough skin
Photo by cunaplus from Shutterstock

1. Rough, bumpy skin

Examine your skin closely. Do you have rough, bumpy skin, particularly on the back of your upper arms? If the answer is yes, then you may have keratosis pilaris, a skin condition that develops when you don’t get enough vitamin C.

This occurs because vitamin C is involved in the formation of collagen, a protein that keeps joints, skin, and bones healthy. Basically, a vitamin C deficiency translates as a collagen deficiency, which can lead to keratosis pilaris.

This skin issue occurs after approximately five months of low vitamin C intake. Luckily, once your doctor detects it, it can be treated with supplements.

Note: keep in mind that there may be other potential causes of keratosis pilaris. That’s why it’s very important to talk to your doctor first as she or he will know exactly what treatment you should follow.

2. Corkscrew-shaped body hair

Another unusual symptom of vitamin C deficiency is having corkscrew-shaped hair on your body. This can happen as collagen, the protein produced by adequate amounts of vitamin C also supports healthy hair in addition to its essential role in skin structure. When your body doesn’t have enough vitamin C, you may notice corkscrew-shaped hair on your body.

But that’s not all. Unfortunately, vitamin C deficiency may also lead to hair shedding. Again, hair loss is a condition that can have many root causes, so talk to your doctor if it’s worrying you. Taking vitamin C supplements will help your hair stop falling and grow back within one or two months.

Red hair follicles
Photo by RandomizeTH from Shutterstock

3. Bright red hair follicles

You can’t see it, but a hair follicle is a tunnel-shaped structure that contains both cells and connective tissues protecting the root of a hair. Hair follicles contain lots of tiny blood vessels that provide nutrients and blood to the area. When your body is low on vitamin C, these small blood vessels (also called capillaries) become extremely fragile.

The result? They break, which leads to perifollicular hemorrhage, a skin condition characterized by bright red spots surrounding hair follicles. Numerous research and studies on perifollicular hemorrhage show that taking appropriate doses of vitamin C will make the issue disappear within two or three weeks.

4. Spoon-shaped nails

Take a look at your nails as they can also indicate a vitamin C deficiency. A concave or spoon shape is frequently related to vitamin C insufficiency. People who have spoon nails describe it as being able to hold a tiny drop of water on the top of their nail.

If this is your case, your nails could also become brittle and thin with red spots and vertical lines in the nail bed. These kinds of changes are more common on fingernails rather than toenails.

The medical term for this issue is splinter hemorrhage, and it’s usually caused by vitamin C deficiency. Keep in mind that these symptoms are also related to iron deficiency anemia. Talk to your doctor to find out if your spoon-shaped nails with red spots and vertical lines are a sign of vitamin C deficiency.

Dry skin and vitamin C
Photo by TY Lim from Shutterstock

5. Dry, damaged skin

Skin is the human body’s largest organ that often shows early signs of underlying health issues. Since healthy skin needs adequate amounts of vitamin C, a lack of it in your body would definitely send some unpleasant signals to your skin.

Basically, vitamin C is vital for your skin as it’s protecting it from oxidative damage caused by sun exposure and certain harmful substances such as cigarette smoke. On top of that, it stimulates collagen production to keep your skin looking young and healthy.

Dermatologists always correlate high levels of vitamin C with clear and healthier-looking skin. Actually, many studies showed that a lack of vitamin C increases the risk of having wrinkled skin by 10 percent.

However, damaged skin can have various root causes, and this symptom on its own is unlikely to indicate a vitamin C deficiency.

6. Easy bruising

Bruises, also called contusions in medical terms, appear when blood vessels burst getting trapped below the skin’s surface. We’re not talking about those bruises that develop after bumping into different pieces of furniture from your house. Spontaneous bruises are actually the ones that should worry you.

If you spot bruises on your body and you don’t know where they come from, then you may be vitamin C deficient. These seemingly-innocent bruises appear because your body doesn’t produce enough collagen so your blood vessels become weak. Another thing to keep in mind is that deficiency-related bruises usually show up as little purple dots.

Do you bruise easily? If the answer is yes, then we recommend seeking medical advice because liver illness, alcohol addiction, and blood thinners can all have the same symptom.

Healing wounds and vitamin C
Photo by Alisusha from Shutterstock

7. Slowly healing wounds

Not only does vitamin C maintain healthy skin, but it’s also essential for the immune response, which works to treat wounds and combat infection. By promoting collagen synthesis, vitamin C helps to form scar tissue over wounds. When your body doesn’t have enough vitamin C it needs, it starts producing less collagen.

If collagen formation is delayed, then your body’s own tool for healing itself stops functioning properly.

According to several medical studies, people with chronic and non-healing lower leg ulcers are more likely to have a vitamin C deficiency than people who do not have chronic leg ulcers. Severe vitamin C deficiency, also known as scurvy, can trigger old wounds to return anytime, increasing the risk of infection.

Long story short, your body needs vitamin C to heal wounds and minimize scar formation. Take note that slow wound healing is a symptom that generally shows after many months of vitamin C deficiency.

8. Swollen, painful joints

As previously stated, good collagen formation is vital in having healthy articulations, so a lack of vitamin C has major effects on your joints. In fact, it seems that quite a lot of Americans are dealing with joint pain caused by vitamin C deficiency.

Some occurrences are so bad that make walking impossible. Unfortunately, in some cases, it goes as far as bleeding into the joints. If you suffer from joint pain, keep in mind that lacking vitamin C can also lead to bleeding within the joints.

Fortunately, taking vitamin C supplements will treat those symptoms within about two weeks.

9. Weak bones

Vitamin C has a major impact on bone health. In fact, low levels of vitamin C are frequently linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis. In addition to that, some studies emphasize the beneficial effect of vitamin C in bone formation. Those folks who have a high intake of vitamin C tend to minimize the risk of fracture, hip fractures included.

On the other hand, if your body doesn’t have enough vitamin C, most probably your bones will suffer. According to new research, children’s skeletons are the most affected because they are still developing and growing.

Here Are 14 Things You Didn’t Know About Osteoporosis

10. Bleeding gums

Did you know your gums are partially made up of collagen? Because of that, they are more sensitive when you’re low on vitamin C. They also may bleed more (especially during tooth brushing), and because vitamin C contributes to wound healing, a lack of it implies that bleeding gums will heal more slowly.

Swollen gums are caused by inflammation which vitamin C, as an antioxidant, helps to prevent. In fact, if it’s ignored, vitamin C deficiency can even change the color of your gums, making them turn purple. Later, this may result in tooth loss.

An adequate amount of vitamin C has been demonstrated to improve gum health and reduce gum inflammation.

If you enjoyed reading this article, we also recommend reading: 8 Vitamins You Should Take On a Daily Basis!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Related posts