Vitamin C is a vital nutrient that has countless benefits for the body. It helps to protect against immune system deficiencies and acts as an antioxidant. With summer coming along nicely, we can safely say that most people won’t be getting a vitamin C deficiency this summer but there are going to be some people who genuinely have a vitamin C deficiency and don’t know they have one. In this article, we will be going through what symptoms come from a vitamin C deficiency and how to come back from one.
What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin C
- Protects Cells and keeps them healthy
- Promotes healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage
- Helps to heal wounds
What Is The Recommended Daily Amount Of Vitamin C To Be Taken?
There is no set daily recommended daily amount of vitamin C someone should have as there are several factors that should be taken into consideration such as gender and age but also if you are a woman, you will also have to take into consideration whether you are pregnant and whether you are breastfeeding or not. The Department of Health & Human Services has created this graph for you to know your own average RDA.
|0–6 months||40 mg||40 mg||–||–|
|7–12 months||50 mg||50 mg||–||–|
|1–3 years||15 mg||15 mg||–||–|
|4–8 years||25 mg||25 mg||–||–|
|9–13 years||45 mg||45 mg||–||–|
|14–18 years||75 mg||65 mg||80 mg||115 mg|
|19+ years||90 mg||75 mg||85 mg||120 mg|
Table reproduced from an article by the Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board – Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C.
When smoking, the smoke gives off toxic chemicals that your body requires a higher defence. This means that smokers should add an extra 35mg of vitamin C to their diet per day as their bodies need much more work.
The issue with vitamin C is it doesn’t get stored in the body so it must be taken every day so that the body can have its recommended daily amount. This can be easily achieved through a healthy balanced diet which includes fruit and vegetables. There are many people out there who don’t eat their fruit and veg and need an alternative so that they can get their RDA. Vitamin C tablets are a great alternative but when taking them, you should not take more than 1000mg per day as this can cause symptoms like stomach cramps, diarrhoea and flatulence.
Foods High In Vitamin C
There is an abundance of foods high in vitamin C Including:
- Red Pepper
- Oranges / Juice
- Green Pepper
What Is A Vitamin C Deficiency?
A vitamin C deficiency is a rare illness where the body can’t absorb enough vitamin C from its diet. This mostly happens in less developed countries as there are not enough nutrients in their diet. There are some groups of people who have a higher risk, including:
- Smokers – Vitamin C is used up more quickly when you smoke.
- Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers – Higher levels of vitamin C are needed to support the babies growth.
- Alcohol & Drug Dependencies – This group of people rarely have a healthy balanced diet.
- Restrictive Diets – High protein and carb diets for people who go on restrictive diets are more likely to get a vitamin C deficiency.
- Older People – Old people have a less than adequate or varied diet which they can get a deficiency through not eating enough.
- People With Medical Conditions – People who have medical conditions like Crohn’s disease find it hard to absorb nutrition so these people could be likely to be deficient.
What Symptoms are Included With A Vitamin C Deficiency?
When you are trying to determine whether you have a vitamin C deficiency, there are some telltale signs to be looking out for. Symptoms are separated into two groups as they happen at different stages. The first line of symptoms happens in just a couple of weeks which you must consult a doctor. These symptoms include:
- Mental Weariness
- Weight Loss
- Muscle Aches
- Joint Stiffness
- PinPoint bleeding around hair follicles
- Nose Bleeding
Can A Vitamin C Deficiency Cause Scurvy?
The short answer, yes. This is the next stage of symptoms for people with a vitamin C deficiency. Once you have been experiencing symptoms for around three months, the illness is then classed as scurvy. These symptoms are more specific that can easily be identified.
- Loose Teeth
- Swollen & Purple Gums That Bleed
- Severe Bleeding & Bruising In The Skin
- Scaly, Dry & Brown Skin
- Slow Healing Wounds
- Bulging Eyes
- Very Dry Hair
- Healed Scars Will Open
- Areas Over Bones Of Arms & Legs Will Swell With Bleeding Joints.
These symptoms will get worse with time until the worst happens so it is vital to contact a doctor if you or someone else has these symptoms.
How To Prevent Scurvy?
Preventing a vitamin C deficiency is easy enough, the simplest way is by eating a healthy balanced diet that includes fruit and vegetables. Countless foods include vitamin C including Oranges, Broccoli, Peppers, potatoes and much more. That means even a bowl of chips will help to improve your levels although this isn’t recommended. Remember that this must be done every day as vitamin C can’t be stored or synthesised. Once you have started eating correctly for the next month or two, you will start to see a difference. If you are still receiving symptoms, you should go talk to a doctor so that they can treat you further.