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May 2023

Vitamin C deficiency: Symptoms, Cause, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on May 14, 2023

Vitamin C is a really essential nutrient for our body. Excessive or insufficient levels of vitamin C can cause many complications in your body. However, vitamin C deficiency is rare, but factors can cause this deficiency.

What is vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, which is also known as ascorbic acid. This vitamin is highly essential for a healthy immune system. Vitamin C has multiple benefits, including producing collagen for skin, connective tissue and bones.

Our body does not produce vitamin C, we need to derive it from vitamin C enriched foods. If you are not able to get vitamin C from the foods, then you need to take supplements to maintain the sufficient amount of vitamin C in your body.

What is Vitamin C deficiency?

A diet lacking vitamin C can lead to vitamin C deficiency, which is also known as Scurvy. Vitamin c deficiency in the long term can refrain from producing new collagen, and can affect your body’s healing procedure.

Prolonged vitamin c deficiency can cause you bleeding gums, loose teeth, tooth loss, nose bleeding and severe tiredness. More symptoms are mentioned below.

What are the symptoms of vitamin C deficiency?

  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Chronic muscle pain
  • Slow wound healing
  • Poor immune system
  • Easy bruising
  • Bleeding gums
  • Swelling gums
  • Nose bleeding
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Hair splitting
  • Dry skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Depression

So, the most common effect of vitamin c deficiency is gum swelling, gum bleeding and tooth loss. However, untreated scurvy can cause severe health complications, including edema, hemolysis, jaundice, convulsions, neuropathy, acute spontaneous bleeding and even death.

For this reason, it is crucial to identify its root cause and seek proper treatment in order to avoid serious health issues.

What are the causes of vitamin C deficiency?

As we all know, we need to obtain vitamin c from our diet and supplements as our body cannot generate it. Some of the diet related issues which can cause vitamin C deficiency are given below:

  • If your diet lacks vitamin C enriched fruits and vegetables.
  • If you have a restrain diet because of an allergy and impaired digestive system.
  • If you have a restricted diet because of older age.
  • If you have an eating disorder.

There are also certain health concerns which can cause vitamin C deficiency. Some health conditions, treatments and daily habits can restrict your body to absorb vitamin C from diet, such as:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Prolonged diarrhea
  • Pregnancy
  • Surgery
  • Smoking
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol

How vitamin C deficiency is diagnosed?

If you are experiencing symptoms of vitamin C then your doctor would first conduct a physical exam and then will give you certain diagnostic tests.

For a physical exam, your doctor will look for dry skin, bruising and swelling or bleeding gums. Then, he or she will ask you about your daily habits and eating habits. Also, they would ask you if you have any health conditions that could contribute to vitamin C deficiency.

After this, your doctor will ask you to go for a vitamin profile test or complete vitamin profile test to measure the vitamin levels in your body. You can opt for a thyrocare vitamin profile test as they provide vitamin tests at a very reasonable pricing.

How vitamin C deficiency is treated?

The treatment of vitamin C deficiency is to maintain sufficient vitamin C levels through foods and supplements. Your doctor would prescribe you vitamin c supplements for a certain period of time.

Doctors usually prescribe 300 milligrams of vitamin C medication to children, and 500 to 1000 milligrams for adults. Within 24 hours of taking the medicines, most people claim to feel noticeably better.

How to prevent vitamin C deficiency?

Therefore, if you are wondering how to prevent vitamin c deficiency and live a healthy life without any difficulties, the best step you should take is to follow a vitamin C enriched diet.

Eating a plate full of vitamin c enriched fruits and vegetables daily, is sufficient to maintain the vitamin C level in your body. Orange, kiwi, guava, strawberries, lemons, blackberries, and papaya, broccoli, green bell pepper, and kale are some of the foods rich in vitamin C.

Also, try to eat them fresh and raw, because vitamin C can degrade in heat. Apart from the diet, you can also take oral vitamin C supplements as well.

Vitamin C deficiency in the long term can be harmful for your health, however there are multiple treatments available. And the best part is, you will be completely healthy within the 3 months of medications.