Even though most of us don’t think of vitamin C to be of much importance to our bodies, it is crucial in supporting healthy immune function. Not only that, according to a study published by Harvard Medical School, vitamin C is necessary for skin integrity, iron absorption and many other important activities. Nutritionists also recommend that for adults, the required daily amount of vitamin C is 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women. Foods such as fruits and vegetables can provide us with the daily necessary requirements but restricting those items can put your body at risk. Here, we are listing the 10 signs to check whether your body is getting enough vitamin C or not.
1. Your skin can become dry.
Your body requires vitamin C to create vital proteins that are responsible for making your skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels, according to the US National Library of Medicine. Vitamin C is also necessary to help enzymes in the body produce collagen and carnitine. Without the required level of vitamin C, your body won’t be able to efficiently produce them to satisfy the needs. This means that if you’re not getting enough vitamin C, the collagen that makes your skin glow is limited, causing your skin to likely look dull and wrinkled.
According to Alexander Michels, a research associate at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, “Collagen is important for the structure of your skin, so vitamin C has the potential to lessen the appearance of wrinkles and support wound healing. When vitamin C levels in the body get very low, this can lead to a variety of skin problems that will alter its appearance, like thickening of the skin, and bruising around hair follicles”. (source)
2. You can experience hair breakage.
Collagen is not only necessary to maintain your skin, but also your hair. Collagen provides the structure needed for strong hair, nails, and skin. When deprived of it, your thick and lush hair can become fragile and weak. “People with severe vitamin C deficiency have hair that grows in a very peculiar corkscrew pattern,” says Alexander Michels. “Hair breakage can be a sign of vitamin C deficiency,” suggested Cassie Berger, MS, RDN. Corkscrew-shaped hair is one of the hallmark signs of vitamin C deficiency, says Healthline. Eating foods that are rich in vitamin C like broccoli and kiwi can provide you with the necessary supplements. (source)
3. You experience frequent joint pains.
According to experts, this is one of the most common initial signs of a vitamin C deficiency. Michels explains that vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights inflammation. Without the nutrient, your body will start to feel pain at joints which is caused by inflammation. “The best way to prevent a vitamin C deficiency is just to eat a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. These contain other nutrients and phytochemicals besides vitamin C that will support good health,” said Michels. “Chili peppers and golden kiwi are great ways to get your vitamin C because they have over 100 mg of vitamin C. Blueberries, papaya, bell peppers, oranges, kale, and spinach are also good sources”. (source)
4. You feel unusually tired than normal.
If you feel unusually tired during the day, even after a good night’s rest, then it’s possible that you are not getting enough vitamin C. As Michels suggests, fatigue can be a sign of vitamin deficiency. This includes feeling sleepier than normal as well as a lack of motivation to carry out throughout the day. In a study conducted by researchers in South Korea, subjects who often experienced fatigue were asked to take vitamin C routinely. At the end of the study, researchers discovered that the subjects had reduced feelings of fatigue after the experiment. (source)
5. You have brittle nails.
Another tell-tale sign of vitamin C deficiency is brittle fingernails. If your fingernails are extremely fragile and break off easily, then you might have a vitamin C deficiency. The nutrient is important for the absorption of iron within the body. When deprived of vitamin C, it can lead to iron-deficiency, which can then cause your nails to become brittle and break off without much effort. According to Michels, adding more fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet, like citrus or peppers. (source)
6. You can experience rough, bumpy skin.
When the vitamin C levels go extremely low, it can lead to the development of keratosis pilaris, a skin condition. Those with the condition often see their skin becoming rough and bumpy, especially on the back of the upper arms and thighs. This is caused by vitamin C deficiency, which typically appears after three to five months of inadequate intake, says Healthline. (source)
7. You have painful or swollen gums.
Vitamin C is a necessary nutrient for healthy gums. According to Julie Upton, MS, RD, who talked to Business Insider, the vitamin is essential for the production of collagen, which is necessary for many organs and tissues. Red, swollen and painful gums due to the tissues weakening is often a sign of vitamin C deficiency. In advanced stages, the gums can even appear purple and eventually, teeth can fall out due to unhealthy gums and weak dentin, says, Healthline. (source)
8. You have poor immunity.
Studies show that vitamin C helps combat infections as well as get rid of disease-causing pathogens. The lack of nutrient can cause the immune system to weaken, which can lead to a greater risk of infections. The longer the deficiency, the weaker the immune system, which can pave way for diseases such as pneumonia as well as many others. If you are someone who constantly gets the flu, colds, and infections, then you might have a vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C also stimulates the production of white blood cells, which fight off foreign invaders. (source)
9. You undergo constant moodiness or irritability.
Two of the earliest signs of vitamin C deficiency are moodiness or irritability. Vitamin C plays a key role in energy production and mood stabilization. So, a lack of the nutrient can throw both your energy and mood out of balance. There is evidence that eating produce high in vitamin C can enhance overall mood, reduce fatigue, increase vigor, and reduce depression. (source)
10. You have oxidative stress.
Vitamin C is one of the body’s most important water-soluble antioxidants. The nutrient also plays a key role in preventing cellular damage by neutralizing free radicals that can cause oxidative stress. Low intakes of vitamin C have been linked to higher levels of oxidative stress. Experts recommend taking antioxidants that neutralize or remove free radicals by donating an electron. Foods such as fruits and vegetables provide many essential antioxidants in the form of vitamins and minerals that the body cannot create on its own. (source)