It's common knowledge that vitamins are an essential diet-health component. One of the most important vitamins is vitamin C, and it turns out that vitamin C deficiency is common, even in developed countries such as the U.S., according to Merck Manual
. This is primarily due to a diet which inadequately provides this crucial Vitamin.
What Does Vitamin C Do for You?
Vitamin C is one of the essential nutrients that is not
produced naturally in the human body, per Medline Plus
. Therefore, it's essential that you consume a sufficient amount of vitamin C in your diet or through proper supplementation.
Vitamin C serves various functions in your body, which is why a lack of it can result in noticeable detriments. It is necessary for tissue growth and repair; this goes for your skin, tendons, bones, and blood vessels. Additionally, vitamin C is an antioxidant, and antioxidants are responsible for fighting off free radicals, which contribute to the aging process and possibly to more serious conditions such as heart disease. Given the multitude of roles vitamin C plays, the effects of deficiency can be quite noticeable and harmful.
Signs That You Might Be Lacking Vitamin C
Dry or damaged skin
is a common result of vitamin C deficiency. This is because the vitamin contributes both to collagen production (which keeps skin healthy) and protection for the skin from damage inflicted by pollutants such cigarette smoke as well as excessive sun exposure, per healthline.com
. Of course, there are many potential causes for dry or damaged skin, but vitamin C deficiency is one to consider.
Slow wound healing
, per webmd.com
, is a possible telling symptom of vitamin C deficiency. This is because of the structural roles that vitamin C plays, notably in the healing of skin damage from external factors. Collagen is the protein that your skin will miss out on when you're deficient in vitamin C. It is important to know that many symptoms of this deficiency might not show up for months after the damage has begun taking effect.
Bleeding of the gums
is another potential sign of vitamin C deficiency (and also of scurvy, a condition typically resulting from long-term deficiency of vitamin C). Per webmd.com
, this symptom occurs for a few reasons. Once again, collagen is important for gum health, and low vitamin C means low collagen production. Vitamin C also contributes to healthy blood vessels and capillaries, and it contributes to healthy blood clotting.
Painful and swollen
joints are another potential symptom of vitamin C deficiency, once again due to lack of collagen production, as per healthline.com
. As you might notice, vitamin C is critical to the production of collagen, which is a critical structural component throughout your body. This symptom affecting joint health can apparently lead to your developing a limp or some other walking-related disability. But the good news is that current science suggests these joint symptoms can be improved relatively quickly by consuming enough vitamin C.
is discussed by both Merck Manual
as one of the symptoms of vitamin C deficiency. This one is important to consider, as it is typically one of the earliest symptoms. Fortunately, it can also be easily cured by getting enough vitamin C. So if you have made any sudden and significant diet changes and are experiencing noticeable irritability, consider a lack of vitamin C as a potential factor.
Unexplained weight gain
is another potential sign of vitamin C deficiency. Weight gain, particularly in or on the stomach, per healthline.com
, sometimes occurs because not enough vitamin C is present to help regulate the release of fat from your cells. Because excess fat is fairly common in developed countries such as the U.S., this one needs to be strongly examined as a potential result of other factors before pinning it on a lack of vitamin C.