NUTRITION

5 Signs You Aren't Getting Enough Vitamin C

An essential vitamin for your body, Vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining your immune function, besides having other benefits. But does your body get enough of it? Here are some signs that may suggest otherwise.

By Sahajiya Halder
04 March 2022

While tracking macros is a popular practice and focuses on the big three—carbs, protein, and fat, micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are also crucial in proper functioning of your body processes. A balanced diet ensures that your body gets all the adequate nutritional components.

 

Vitamin C is one such micronutrient that is involved in the growth, development, and protection of your body. As it is not naturally produced within the body and cannot be stored, a regular intake of the vitamin is necessary. According to the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) values presented by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in 2021, the requirement of Vitamin C in adult women is 65 mg per day (80 mg per day for pregnant people), and for adult men is 80 mg per day. 2000 mg is the tolerable upper intake limit per day. The vitamin is found in ample quantities in fruits such as oranges, kiwi, mango, pineapple and papaya, and vegetables such as broccoli, bell peppers and tomatoes, but factors such as poor dietary and lifestyle habits can contribute to a Vitamin C deficiency, and a severe lack of the vitamin causes scurvy, which is now rare. Here are some common ways that your body might be telling you that you need more Vitamin C.

 

Dry, Dull Skin

Skincare routine can't manage dry, dull wrinkled skin? It may be a sign of Vitamin C deficiency. "Vitamin C is an antioxidant and protects our skin from free radicals. This helps with better skin texture and health, and in turn, a deficiency affects the skin, causing dry, dull skin", explains nutritionist Dr. Nikita Suresh, PhD, Food and Nutrition. A review article published in Frontiers in Physiology mentions that Vitamin C can offer protection against UV-induced photodamage.

 

Bleeding Gums and Tooth Decay

"Deficiency of Vitamin C can cause an increased risk of bleeding gums. However, it’s quite rare now. If you do notice bleeding in your gums, it would be best to try an increased intake of Vitamin C-rich foods", advises Dr. Suresh. A review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health presents that Vitamin C has an effect on the prevention of occurrence and development of periodontal disease. Vitamin C may also lead to loosening and decay of teeth.

 

Related Story: Oral Health Tips for Sparkling Teeth: 9 Things Your Dentist Wants You to Know

 

Slow Wound Healing and Easy Bruising

The protein collagen is an important component of connective tissues, bones, and skin, and Vitamin C is essential to produce collagen. Dr. Suresh says, "Deficiency of Vitamin C causes slow wound healing and bruising—this is largely linked to collagen. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, helps in the synthesis of collagen. So the deficiency of Vitamin C alters collagen production. Hence, supplementation with Vitamin C can help with wound healing." An article in BMJ Case Reports showed that a 56 year old man with increasing bruising was found to be deficient in Vitamin C and showed marked improvement with oral vitamin supplementation.

 

Weak Immunity

"Vitamin C plays a vital role in cellular functions of the body’s immune system. Impaired immunity, constantly falling ill, and higher risk of infection are also a sign of Vitamin C deficiency. As vitamin C is an antioxidant, it decreases inflammation and supports the immune system", says Dr. Suresh. A 2017 review in Nutrients showed that Vitamin C may alleviate or prevent infections, and has a role in protection against pneumonia.

 

Fatigue and Mood Swings

One of the most common and early signs that your body isn't getting enough Vitamin C is feeling tired and irritable. "Mood swings are also linked with Vitamin C deficiency. Feelings of fatigue, depression and cognitive impairment are linked to Vitamin C deficiency", says Dr. Suresh.

 

Related Story: 10 Reasons Why You Might Be Tired All The Time

 

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