Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that must be consumed regularly to prevent deficiency.
While deficiency is relatively rare in developed countries due to the availability of fresh produce and the addition of vitamin C to certain foods and supplements.
The most common risk factors for vitamin C deficiency are poor diet, alcoholism, anorexia, severe mental illness, smoking and dialysis.
While symptoms of severe vitamin C deficiency can take months to develop, there are some subtle signs to watch out for.
Here are the some of the common signs and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency.
- Vitamin C deficiency can cause the formation of small acne-like bumps on the arms, thighs or buttocks. However, these bumps alone are not enough to diagnose a deficiency.
- Abnormally bent, coiled or corkscrew-shaped body hairs are a hallmark sign of vitamin C deficiency, but they may be difficult to detect, as these hairs are more likely to fall out.
- Hair follicles contain many tiny blood vessels that can rupture due to a vitamin C deficiency, causing bright red spots to appear around the follicles.
- Vitamin C deficiency is associated with spoon-shaped fingernails and red lines or spots underneath the nail bed.
- Vitamin C deficiency weakens blood vessels, causing easy bruising. It’s often one of the first obvious signs of vitamin C deficiency.
- Vitamin C deficiency interferes with tissue formation, causing wounds to heal more slowly. This is considered an advanced sign of deficiency, so other signs and symptoms would likely appear first.
- Vitamin C deficiency often causes severe joint pain. In severe cases, bleeding can occur within the joints, causing painful swelling.
- Vitamin C is important for bone formation, and deficiency can increase the risk of developing weak and brittle bones.
- Red, bleeding gums are a common sign of vitamin C deficiency, and severe deficiency can even lead to tooth loss.
- Vitamin C is an important nutrient for the immune system. Low vitamin C levels are linked to an increased risk of infection, while severe deficiency can cause death from infectious diseases.