16 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C is a water-soluble Vitamin what your body needs as a micro-nutrient on the regular basis. It is also known as ascorbic acid. Also, Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps in proper functioning of the body. Many fruits and vegetables are loaded with this nutrient, like oranges, lemons, kiwi, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and strawberries.

Vitamin C is necessary for your skin and gums. Likewise, it helps in the production of collagen which is a component in connective tissues. Moreover, a lack of vitamin C can serve you with weak immunity, frequent cold, cough, inflammatory diseases, damaged skin and even cancer.

Although severe deficiency is uncommon in the modern days, can cause scurvy in extreme deficiency. Scurvy is a disease caused by the deficiency of vitamin C (below 10 mg per day). Hence, it can cause fatigue, red or purple tiny spots on the skin, inflammatory and swollen gums, joint pain and poor wound healing. People with scurvy can also develop anemia and depression.

Risk factors for Vitamin C Deficiency 

Scurvy is rarely found but you can be deficient in vitamin C with many habits. The people who are more at risk of developing a deficiency of this nutrient are included as:

1. Drunken/ alcoholics/ dependent on drugs (they maintain an unbalanced diet)

2. People preferring restrictive diets (kidney or heart patients)

3. People who develop inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

4. Smokers (vitamin C is quickly used up by the body in the case of smokers).

5. The side effect of Chemotherapy drugs can make you deficient with this nutrient

6. Pregnant women diet needs a higher amount of vitamin C.

7. If you are on dialysis ( restricted with many nutrients)

8. By using antidepressants or a long time

9. If you are suffering from other chronic diseases like heart strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and arthritis.

16 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C can’t be synthesized in your body. So, the only source of getting sufficient vitamin C is through diet. Hence, poor diet, alcohol, and severe illness make you deficient with this nutrient. Symptoms can’t be noticed in a few days or weeks, but there are many signs you should be alert of. Here are 16 most common signs of vitamin C deficiency.

1. Damaged skin:

Collagen is a protein which is the building block of connective tissues of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It is also found in blood vessels, teeth, and cornea of the eyes. Vitamin C helps in producing collagen. So, deficiency of vitamin C hinders collagen production leading to a skin disease known as keratosis pilaris. In contrast, it is a harmless skin condition which causes small, light-colored, hard bumps on your upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. The condition is also known as “Chicken skin.”

You can feel rough, dry and damaged skin with acne and pimples due to lack of vitamin C.

2. Bruising

The small blood vessels around the surface of skin break easily and leak Red blood cells is called bruising. Easy Bruising is a sign of nutritional deficiency with vitamin C, as well as deficiency of iron and vitamin K. Also, vitamin C contains bioflavonoids and help in the production of collagen. Hence, due to the lack of these nutrients, bruising increases with time.
According to the University of Michigan Health System, even minor deficiencies of vitamin C can lead to increased bruising. In addition, if you are a sufferer, increase your intake of vitamin C and consult your doctor.

3. Heal wounds slowly

Collagen is an important nutrient required by your body and help in healing wounds. Also, a slow healing wound is one of the major signs of Vitamin C deficiency. Likewise, it increases the risk of infection. In addition, wounds healing may take up to a month or longer, depending on the condition, infections, and nutrients provided during the healing process. Hence, wounds fail to heal without vitamin C and severity of deficiency may cause scar development and ulcer formation.

4. Bleeding gums

If you see bleeding gums once in a year, it does not mean that you are deficient of vitamin C. Your tissue becomes weak and blood vessels bleed more frequently due to deficiency of vitamin C. Also, redness, swelling and pain is observed. In advanced stages of vitamin C deficiency, the area around gums may become rotten which ultimately lead to tooth decay or loss.

5. Weak bones

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which plays an important role in the formation of bones. Likewise, children and older people require an adequate amount of Vitamin C to prevent themselves from bone diseases. The two common diseases are:

Rickets in children

Osteoporosis in older adults (loss of bone).

By giving supplementation of Vitamin C, healthy bones can be restored. Also, about 40-50% of women suffer from bone loss after the age of 50, due to osteoporosis. Moreover, doctors generally relate women bone health as a calcium deficiency, but its actually a deficiency of vitamin C.

6. Nosebleed

A little of physical injury can lead to the excessive and hidden flow of blood from the nose is called nosebleed. Children are quite close to nosebleeds with any trauma. However, this inability is due to the weakening of the blood vessels which can arise from the deficiency of vitamin C in the body.

7. Weak immunity

Vitamin C deficiency is concerned with frequent cold and coughs, along with weak immunity. Although cold and cough is a common disease but they can lead to pneumonia and other respiratory diseases if vitamin c is found deficient. Since vitamin C has a great impact on your immune system, so deficiency could leave you with frequent infections. Consequently, the concentration of vitamin C in immune cells become weak with age, so aging is one of the major factors behind lowering of vitamin C levels. You can use home remedies for treating normal cold and cough.

8. Painful joints

Vitamin C deficiency can lead to the improper function of collagen which can form cartilages and ligaments of the bones. Also, it can reduce joint pain by rebuilding lost cartilage. Moreover, the nutrient is very helpful in treating arthritis. Also, it improves the pain of arthritis.

According to the American Volume of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Vitamin C is not only associated with the pain of arthritis but treat other complex joint pains.

9. Lead to iron deficiency

Vitamin C and iron deficiency are associated with each other. Also, vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron in the body. Iron helps in making hemoglobin which is a part of Red blood cells. Likewise, vitamin C also helps in the production of RBC. So, the deficiency of vitamin C can lead to anemia or low red blood cell count.

Causes of anemia due to vitamin C deficiency include hyperthyroidism, malnutrition, the inability of a body to absorb iron or cancer.

10. Neck pain and headaches

Neck pain is common in people with a headache and migraines. So, vitamin C could play an important role in the treatment of headaches. Even more, studies are yet to be done regarding a headache based on the deficiency of vitamin C.

11. Fatigue

If you feel weakness along with the low level of energy, you might be experiencing the deficiency of vitamin C. Also, fatigue goes away by taking the adequate dose of vitamin C with iron. So, contact your doctor.

12. Dry hairs

Your hairs are an indicator of your good health. When you have split and dry hairs, you may have a vitamin C deficiency. https://www.oldhouseonline.com/ Also, the strength of hairs depends on the production of collagen. Dry hairs are the sign of having low collagen.

13. Low memory

If it is becoming hard for you to remember the major things in your daily life, it may be possible that your brain is not getting enough nutrients for its basic functions. Also, vitamin C has a great impact on your brain. The brain uses a high level of oxygen and may leave you with full radical damage. So, vitamin C is an important antioxidant which neutralizes this damage. In addition, vitamin C supplements can improve IQ, memory and other mental activities.

14. Inflammation

Vitamin C rich foods contain antioxidants and they are anti-inflammatory. Low level of this nutrient is associated with a high level of inflammation and oxidative stress. Furthermore, studies say that people found with deficiency of vitamin C are more prone to develop heart failure and joint pains.

15. Bowel disorder

Deficiency of vitamin C progresses if left untreated. Less common, but low vitamin C levels can cause stomach disorders like gastritis, bowel inflammatory diseases, and irritation in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

16. Impaired lactation in breastfeeding mothers

The breastfeeding mothers need the adequate amount of vitamin C for the proper development of the baby. Also, they can try vitamin C rich foods to increase their breast milk.


To stay away from Vitamin C Deficiency, there are various sources of vitamin C which shall be consumed. These include bell peppers, guava, kiwi, broccoli, oranges, lemons, cloves, etc. In addition to this, there are various Vitamin C supplements available as well. As vitamin C has a good impact on face, you can try Vitamin C serums for face as supplements.

Sagar Papneja

For me, health is about sustainable living and consuming environmentally conscious food; I am a vegan.

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