You wouldn’t think that anyone could be vitamin C deficient because everything seems to be fortified with this vitamin. You’re probably consuming some vitamin C, but is it enough to protect your body? Your body needs adequate levels of vitamin C for prevention against the development of common sickness and serious health problems. As an essential nutrient, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) protects the body against deficiencies in the immune system.
When the body is low in vitamin C, symptoms can manifest in many ways. Take a look at some early signs that your body is deficient in vitamin C :
Your gums swell and bleed easily
Teeth and gums need adequate amounts of vitamin C for optimum health. If your body lacks vitamin C, your gums tend to swell, become inflamed, and bleed easily. Your gums could also recede. Low vitamin C has been linked to periodontitis, according to a study by the American Society for Microbiology. This disease leads to gum infection and damage that could cause tooth loss as well.
Your hair is dry with lots of split ends
Vitamin C you consume goes to the more important tissues and organs first before the nutrient makes its way to the hair. If your vitamin C levels are less than ideal, then your hair roots won’t be able to benefit as much as they need to. So, you end up having dry hair with split ends. Additionally, vitamin C aids in faster hair growth, as it helps the body absorb more iron. A deficiency, therefore, may not just slow down hair growth. It could also lead to hair loss.
You get frequent nosebleeds
Regular vitamin C intake lessens the fragility of the capillaries. Since the nose is lined with several of these small blood vessels closer to the skin’s surface the nose can be quite sensitive. If you experience frequent nosebleeds, you may have inadequate “C” levels in your system. A nosebleed, also known as epistaxis, is one of the symptoms of scurvy, or a condition that highlights the body’s ascorbic acid deficiency.
You have dry, rough, red skin
These are indicators that there is not enough ascorbic acid in your system. Your body needs vitamin C to synthesize with the skin’s collagen, so your skin remains healthy.
The lack of “C” might lead to the development of a skin condition called keratosis pilaris. Although most common among young people, this condition can occur at any age. It is characterized by rough patches or tiny bumps that appear on the thighs, buttocks, upper arms, and cheeks.
Keratosis pilaris can cause mild itching. While it doesn’t hurt and it’s not a serious condition, the sandpaper roughness could be uncomfortable. Moisturizers and lotions with vitamin components help treat dry skin and lessen the wrinkles.
You bruise easily
Because your capillaries are weaker without vitamin C, a simple bump might result in instant bruising. Are there instances when you don’t know how you got your bruises on the thighs or arms? Now, you have an explanation for it – your body probably lacks vitamin C. Of course unexplained bruising can also indicate an underlying health condition.
Your wounds heal slowly
Do you have cuts or scrapes that have lingered for weeks? Have you gotten surgery and still feel some tenderness around the wound? It might not be healing fast because you don’t have enough vitamin C that helps the connective tissues bind with the wound. “C” has an important role in tissue repair, as per the Journal of Dental Research. It can also prevent infection of wounds.
You have swollen, painful joints
Joints that swell with pain could be inflamed. This is common for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, people with low vitamin C levels have three times the risk of developing this disease compared to those with adequate vitamin C intake.
You get a lot of colds
Vitamin C helps with the production of white blood cells that attack virus and bacteria. It’s also an antioxidant that protects your cells from infections. If your body is low in “C”, you’re likely susceptible to the common cold, the flu virus or strep throat infections.
You’re in low spirits
Ever find yourself easily tired and in low spirits and you can’t explain why? Vitamin C deficiency has been proven to have psychological links as well. Separate studies in hospitalized patients and high school students with anxiety showed that their mood became more positive by as much as 34 percent after taking vitamin C supplements.
HOW TO INCREASE VITAMIN C INTAKE
The best way is by adding foods high in vitamin C to your diet.
- Citrus fruits such as orange, kiwi, lemon, guava, grapefruit
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
- Capsicum (green and red peppers)
- Spinach, kale, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens
- Sweet and white potatoes
- Tomatoes and tomato juice
- Various berries
- Winter squash
You get more benefits from eating fruits fresh, instead of juiced or blended. Studies have also shown that overcooking vegetables may reduce their nutritional value. So, make sure to add vegetables in soups and stews when it’s already boiling, and not before.