Surprising signs of vitamin C deficiency - NL-062
Vitamin C is involved in many important functions in the body. It is required for collagen synthesis, supports healthy immune function and works as a powerful antioxidant that protects cells and tissues from free radicals and reduces oxidative damage and inflammation. Vitamin C also works as a co-factor in the synthesis of L-carnitine (involved in fat metabolism) and helps in the synthesis of many neurotransmitters required for healthy brain function. You also need vitamin C for iron absorption, wound healing and tissue repair.
With such a diverse portfolio under its belt, vitamin C truly packs a punch when it comes to maintaining overall health and preventing infections and disease. With low vitamin C levels, you can experience swollen and bleeding gums, general weakness, fatigue, poor immunity and muscle weakness. However, long-term shortage can manifest as other lesser known symptoms that one might not typically associate with vitamin C deficiency.
Lesser known signs of vitamin C deficiency
Joint pain: Vitamin C is required to make collagen and other proteins, essential for bone mineralization. Collagen is also the main protein in your bones, joints, muscles and cartilage, providing strength and structure to these tissues. Vitamin C improves bone density, reduces the risk of fractures and can be effective in reducing symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA).
Dry, scaly and rough skin: Vitamin C helps make collagen, protein that keeps skin elastic, soft and supple. Vitamin C also protects skin from the damage caused by sun exposure.
Corkscrew hair on the body: Severe vitamin C deficiency can result in scurvy, that can cause corkscrew or coil shaped hair on the body. Scurvy can also cause other serious symptoms such as easy bruising, tooth loss, bleeding gums, bone pain, fatigue and irritability. It can also present as bumps or growth on the skin (typically seen on the elbows, knees and hips), a condition known as follicular hyperkeratosis
Red spots around the hair follicles: Long term vitamin C deficiency makes the small blood vessels around the hair follicles friable and prone to breaking down, resulting in the appearance of red spots.
Poor wound healing: Through its role in boosting collagen synthesis as well as in collagen repair, vitamin C is important for proper healing of wounds. Long term deficiency can result in delayed healing and repair of wounds.
Depression: Vitamin C deficiency can cause depression, poor mood and poor cognitive function. If you are struggling with anxiety, mood swings and fatigue, along with other signs of vitamin C deficiency, eating fresh fruits and vegetables and taking vitamin C supplements can help.
1. David Plevin and Cherrie Galletly. The neuropsychiatric effects of vitamin C deficiency: a systematic review. BMC Psychiatry. 2020.
2. Ripani et al. Vitamin C May Help to Reduce the Knee’s Arthritic Symptoms. Outcomes Assessment of Nutriceutical Therapy. Med Arch. 2019