Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency - The Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

Vitamin C deficiency, also known as scurvy, is a serious condition caused by inadequate dietary intake of vitamin C. The deficiency develops slowly over time and can be potentially life threatening if not treated. In this article, we discuss the symptoms, causes, and prevention of vitamin C deficiency.

Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency:

  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Bleeding gums and/or bruising easily
  • Pinpoint red dots on your skin
  • Dry, splitting hair
  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Slow-healing wounds

Causes of Vitamin C Deficiency:

The main cause of vitamin C deficiency is inadequate dietary intake. A poor or monotonous diet, insufficient fresh fruits and vegetables, and certain diseases such as diabetes or cancer can all increase a person’s risk for vitamin C deficiency.

How to Prevent Vitamin C Deficiency

  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, with plenty of sources of vitamin C.
  • Choose fresh, unprocessed foods such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, and green peppers.
  • If you are at a higher risk for vitamin C deficiency, ask your doctor about taking a vitamin C supplement.
  • Quit smoking, if applicable.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid drinking excess alcohol.

Left untreated, vitamin C deficiency can be life-threatening. If you think you may be Vitamin C deficient, contact your doctor for a blood test to confirm your diagnosis. With a healthy lifestyle and adequate dietary sources of vitamin C, you can prevent the potentially grave consequences of a vitamin C deficiency.