Vitamin C is one of the most effective nutrients that the human body needs, it has many benefits including protection from immune system deficiencies. Vitamin C promotes the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. In this article, we will be discussing what a vitamin C deficiency is, the symptoms, how to come back from one and how to prevent a deficiency.
What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin C?
There is an abundance of benefits from vitamin C which people take for granted as they don’t understand what vitamin C does for the body. In actual fact, vitamin C helps to:
- Protects cells and keeps them healthy
- Promotes healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage
- Helps with healing wounds
What Is The Daily Recommended Amount Of Vitamin C?
The recommended daily dose of vitamin C depends on age and sex. The Department of Health & Human Services has provided the average daily amount for different age groups below:
|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|
“Article by the Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board – Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids External link disclaimer.”
If a person is a smoker then they should add an extra 35mg on top of their recommended daily amount for their age. This is due to smoke giving off toxic chemicals which require a higher defence for their body. This means that smokers need more vitamin C as their body requires more work.
Vitamin C can not be stored in the body so it needs to be taken every day. This can easily be met by having a healthy and balanced diet with fruit and vegetables. Alternatively, people can boost their vitamin levels through vitamin C tablets but it is not recommended to go over the level of 1000mg per day as it can cause flatulence, stomach pain and diarrhoea.
What Is A Vitamin C Deficiency?
A vitamin C deficiency is an illness where a person is not absorbing enough vitamin C from their diet. This is pretty rare in developed countries as there is easy access to fresh produce rich in vitamin C. There are some groups of people who have higher risk factors of getting this, including:
- Smokers – This is due to smoke affecting the absorption of vitamin C in the body. It is also used up more quickly with smokers.
- Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers – This is due to them needing higher levels to support themselves and their baby.
- Alcoholism or Drug Dependencies – People who are dependent on drugs or alcohol are more likely to get a vitamin c deficiency due to them not having a healthy balanced diet.
- Restrictive Diets – People who go on seriously restrictive diets with lots of protein and no carbs can be more likely to get a vitamin C deficiency.
- Older People – Older people have a less varied diet so they can get a vitamin c deficiency through lack of eating.
- People With Medical Conditions – People who have medical conditions where the body’s ability to absorb nutrients such as Crohn’s disease can be affected.
What Are The Symptoms?
When looking out for a vitamin C deficiency, there are symptoms that must be paid attention to. Symptoms are separated into two groups. The first group of symptoms happen in the first couple of weeks or months of the deficiency which include:
- Mental Weariness
- Weight Loss
- Muscle Aches
- Joint Stiffness
- PinPoint bleeding around hair follicles
- Nose Bleeding
Can A Vitamin C Deficiency Cause Scurvy?
The next signs of symptoms are after more than 3 months of having a vitamin C deficiency. The Illness is then classed as scurvy which is what a vitamin C deficiency causes and in relation to the defect in connective tissues. These symptoms are more specific and they include:
- 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 From Bleeding Joints
If someone starts to feel any of the above symptoms it is extremely important to go to the doctors to get treated as this can be extremely uncomfortable and painful and can also result in death in some cases if not treated in time.
How To Prevent This From Happening?
Preventing a vitamin C deficiency really isn’t that hard, even people on an unhealthy diet would struggle to get a vitamin C deficiency. There are so many foods out there that are rich in vitamin C including Oranges, Broccoli, Red and Green Peppers, Spinach, Potatoes and more so even if a person eats chips, this is still helping to build their vitamin C supply for the day (Although, this is not recommended in any diet).
Vitamin C can’t be synthesized and it doesn’t react well with heat so it’s best to have as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible so that all the nutrients can be absorbed in a way that will benefit the body.