15 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency

Medically Reviewed on 7/22/2022
15 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency
Because your body doesn’t store vitamin C, it must be consumed daily through food or supplements.

Vitamin C shortage can have a negative effect on nearly every aspect of health, including immune system performance, wound healing, maintaining strong blood vessels, and energy levels.

  • Long-term effects could potentially be more severe, increasing the risk of chronic disease and other medical issues. 
  • Fortunately, it can frequently be avoided by consuming a variety of foods high in vitamin C and following a healthy, balanced diet. Increase your consumption of foods high in vitamin C to prevent low levels of the nutrient.

What is vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that your body cannot store. Because your body doesn’t store vitamin C, it must be consumed daily through food or supplements. Foods such as tomatoes, broccoli, and citrus fruits such as oranges and kiwi must be consumed to meet your needs. 

  • Your body requires vitamin C for growth and repair. It aids in the production of collagen, a necessary protein required to build skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.
  • Vitamin C is essential for the maintenance and repair of bones and teeth, as well as the healing of wounds.
  • vitamin C functions as an antioxidant. Free radicals, which harm the DNA, are one of the things that antioxidants help prevent. Free radical accumulation over time may accelerate aging and lead to the development of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.

15 signs of vitamin C deficiency

Fifteen signs and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include:

  1. Dry and wrinkled skin: People who consume a healthy diet rich in vitamin C may have skin that is softer and smoother.
    • One explanation could be the antioxidant properties of vitamins can help shield your skin from free radicals.
    • These free radicals otherwise degrade proteins, lipids, and even DNA, causing age-related dark spots and poor skin quality. 
  2. Poor immunity: You shouldn't be surprised to discover that a lack of vitamin C increases your risk of getting sick and may make recovery more difficult.
    • Vitamin C has various roles in maintaining your immune system. Some evidence suggests that vitamin C may help shield you from ailments including pneumonia and bladder infections.
    • Your risk of heart disease and several types of cancer may even be reduced by vitamin C.
  3. Scurvy: Before the 1700s, this potentially fatal illness used to be a major issue for sailors.
    • Although it's somewhat uncommon today, it is possible if you consume less than 10 mg of vitamin C per day. 
    • People with scurvy frequently experience corkscrew body hair, loose teeth, split fingernails, joint pain, and brittle bones. 
    • When vitamin C levels are increased, symptoms begin to improve within a day, and the condition is typically resolved within three months.
  4. Loss of vision: A lack of vitamin C, other antioxidants, and specific minerals may cause age-related macular degeneration to progress more quickly. Prevention of cataracts may be aided by consuming enough vitamin C in the diet, but further research is required to fully understand this association.
  5. Mood change: Regular mood swings are another typical sign of vitamin C insufficiency. You often become more agitated and temperate if your body is lacking in vitamin C. In a small research, six out of seven men with low vitamin C levels reported feeling worn out and agitated. That implies a connection; however, other factors might be at play. 
  6. Weight gain: Early studies have discovered a connection between low levels of vitamin C and increased levels of body fat, particularly belly fat. The efficiency with which your body burns fat for energy may be affected by this vitamin.
  7. Nosebleeds: If you frequently experience nosebleeds, this may indicate a vitamin C deficit. The capillaries at the front of the nose are where most nosebleeds originate. Your capillaries will become stronger and less brittle if you have enough vitamin C in your system.
  8. Slow wound healing: Vitamin C levels in your blood and tissue decrease when you are injured. It is required by your body to produce the protein collagen, which is involved in every stage of skin restoration. Furthermore, vitamin C promotes the efficient operation of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that fights infection.
  9. Muscle and joint pain: Lack of vitamin C is indicated by persistent joint and muscle pain. According to a study, people with low levels of vitamin C are three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those with a high amount of vitamin C.
  10. Dry hair and brittle nails: A change from healthy to dry hair can be a warning indication. It can mean that your body isn't receiving the necessary amount of vitamin C and other necessary nutrients. Because hair is a nonessential tissue, the body distributes the majority of its vitamin C to other essential tissues, and hair tends to get devoid. vitamin C is necessary for iron absorption. Iron deficiency can result in hair loss, sluggish hair development, and brittle and concave nails.
  11. Bruises: People who lack vitamin C are more prone to bruises. Excessive and regular bleeding is an indication that your body's chemistry requires care and requires some vitamin C supplementation.
  12. Dental disorders: Sufficient intake of vitamin C makes a significant contribution to tooth and oral health. Vitamin C deficiency may lead to the degradation of gums. The presence of low levels of vitamin C in your body might potentially cause periodontal disease.
  13. Iron deficiency: Iron can be absorbed by your body in two forms: heme and nonheme.
    • Because nonheme iron often comes from plant sources (such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and others) and is poorly absorbed, vegetarians should endeavor to incorporate iron-rich foods into their diet.
    • Heme iron is typically found in animal sources and is well absorbed.
    • Iron deficits frequently coexist with vitamin C deficiencies because vitamin C aids in the body's ability to absorb nonheme iron more effectively and has been demonstrated to be a powerful predictor of iron status. 
    • Your body will be able to benefit the most from iron-rich foods if you consume adequate vitamin C.
  14. Fatigue: Fatigue is one of the most typical signs of vitamin C deficiency. Indeed, a person's level of tiredness alone cannot accurately describe their state.
    • However, you can identify a potential shortage when fatigue is present in addition to other symptoms. 
    • A study conducted on 141 office workers reported that taking vitamin C reduced their degree of fatigue within two hours, especially if it was lower, to begin with. The effect then persisted for the remaining of the day.
  15. Weak bones: Lack of vitamin C can affect bone health. Low consumption has been connected to a higher risk of osteoporosis and fractures. According to research, vitamin C is essential for bone development. Therefore, a deficit might hasten the rate of bone loss.


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Medically Reviewed on 7/22/2022
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