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The causes and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency

The causes and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency

Vitamin C is no doubt one of the most vital body nutrients. The body needs it for its well-being. It is an essential nutrient and cannot be produced in the body. Hence ought to be taken consistently to prevent a deficiency.

While this deficiency is relatively uncommon, it still affects about 7% of adults in some countries. Severe vitamin C deficiency symptoms may take months to manifest, but some subtle warning signs indicate if you have a vitamin deficiency.

These articles present the causes alongside symptoms of this economic and food-related deficiency.

Vitamin C deficiency

Scurvy, described as bad mouth disease, is a severe disorder that occurs when vitamin C in the body is low. Gums pulling away from the teeth, and blood gushing out of the nostrils are some of its markers.

Risk factors

There are many conditions that could make this deficiency occur more often. Some of them are;

  • Alcoholism
  • Cases of cow milk breastfeeding
  • Improper dieting
  • Avoidance of fruits and vegetables
  • Smokers
  • People who suffer from eating disorders
  • Gastrointestinal diseases like inflammatory bowel disease
  • Excess consumption of iron
  • Strict diets or food allergies

Causes of vitamin C deficiency

The deficiency of vitamin C could be either a result of an inadequate number of nutrients or poor absorption.

One would think with the abundance of supplements, and fresh fruits alongside the inclusion of vitamin C in diets, the deficiency would be a thing of the past, But that is rarely the case. 


After 8 to 12 weeks of insufficient intake or absorption of the nutrient, a couple of symptoms appear. Some of these are;

Rough skin with bumps

Vitamin C plays a role in the production of connective tissues, collagen. Collagen is a protein that is prevalent in connective tissues. It gives our skin, hair, joints, bones, and blood vessels a smooth feel.

Reduced vitamin C intake causes a skin disorder resulting in lumpy "chicken skin" on the back of the upper arms, thighs, or buttocks.

Red patches on fingernails

While iron deficiency could also lead to this, vitamin C plays a huge role. Vitamin C deficiency can cause red patches or vertical lines in the nail bed. This condition is known as splinter haemorrhage.

An intake of supplements rich in both iron and vitamin C could help combat this. Although the aesthetic appearance of fingernails and toenails may aid in identifying the risk of a vitamin C deficiency, it is not a diagnostic test!

 iron and vitamin C

Bruised and inflamed joints

Joints are one of the body parts most affected by vitamin C insufficiencies. This is due to the presence of a lot of collagen-rich connective tissue. These bruised or impaired joints frequently induce limping or make walking challenging.

In more severe cases, it could result in bleeding inside the joints, which can cause swelling and further pain. However, vitamin C intakes are used to curb this symptom.

Gum disease and tooth loss

Gums that are red, swollen, and bleeding are another typical symptom of vitamin C insufficiency. Without enough vitamin C, blood vessels bleed easily. Gum tissue also weakens and gets inflamed over time.

In severe cases of this deficiency, gums may appear purple and rotting. Teeth may eventually fall out.

Lack of Immunity

Lack of vitamin C causes lowered immunity and a higher risk of infection, including life-threatening conditions like pneumonia. Vitamin C piles up inside different types of immune cells.

This helps the cells fight off infection and eradicate germs causing disease. Many scurvy patients battle infection because of their questionable immune systems. Some of these symptoms surface in vitamin D deficiency.

Lack of Immunity

Remedy for vitamin C deficiency

There are various ways to tackle this deficiency. Some of the most popular include;

Consuming diets that are rich in vitamin C

The best source of vitamin C is from foods and vitamin-rich diets.

Consumptions of vitamin C supplements

While the needed vitamin C can be gotten from diets. It's essential to add supplements, especially for people on restrictive diets.

Lifestyle changes

Imbibing a lifestyle that guarantees proper vitamin intake and quitting smoking and drinking would always be a great remedy.


A wide range of anomalies showcases the deficiency of vitamin C. Consuming fruits and vegetables frequently is the best approach to avoiding vitamin C deficiency. Fortunately, deficiencies go away after vitamin C levels are normalized.