About three in every four elderly persons in India suffer from Vitamin C deficiency due to poor dietary habits and tobacco consumption. Vitamin C is one of the most essential vitamins in an individual’s daily diet. This is required for good cellular growth and for the proper functioning of the circulatory system, to maintain body health, for tissue repair, for healing of wounds and collagen formation. It is an antioxidant that prevents damage caused by free radicals in our body.
The recommended daily intake for Vitamin C differs according to age and gender. Adult women are advised to take 75 mg daily; while men should consume 90 mg daily.
Vitamin C deficiency Causes:
If your daily intake of Vitamin C is below the recommended dosage, it can cause Vitamin C deficiency. Since this vitamin is required for many vital bodily functions, you should consume the proper amount or take it in the form of a supplement. Deficiency of this essential Vitamin usually happens due to poor diet habits – diet which is low in fruits and vegetables. Smoking and cooking with fuels or dung can reduce Vitamin C levels in the blood. This can cause oxidative stress (which can cause damage to cells).
Vitamin C deficiency is a very serious issue and should be treated using natural foods or dietary supplements.
[ Read: Vitamin E Deficiency ]
Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms:
There are many recognizable symptoms when an individual is suffering from Vitamin C deficiency. Common symptoms are unexplained fatigue, purple or red dots on the skin, swelling of the gums, slow-healing wounds, joint pain and corkscrew hairs, anaemia, losing teeth, bleeding gums, bruising, change in hair and skin conditions, development of depression, mood swings, weight Loss, infections , joint and muscle aches .
Very high doses of vitamin C can lead to acidification of the urine, cause diarrhoea, and can lead to iron overload.
[ Read: Vitamin C Rich Foods ]
Vitamin C Deficiency Diseases & Treatment:
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that destroys free radicals which damage the cells in your body. A lack of this Vitamin can lead to cancer. Vitamin C may be useful in preventing cancers such as skin, cervix and breast cancer.
Low levels of Vitamin C in the body can lead to the development of asthma. It helps to reduce the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma. Consume citrus fruits regularly for protection against the chronic disease – asthma.
3. Cardiovascular Problems:
Deficiency of Vitamin C can cause cardiovascular problems like leaking blood vessels, weak blood vessels and reduced heart function. Studies indicate that natural vitamin C intake is inversely related to coronary heart disease risks.
Vitamin C enhances the function of many cells of the immune system like neutrophils, lymphocytes and phagocytes. Neutrophils help get rid of attacks from microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. It helps to increase circulating antibodies within the blood serum.
Anaemia is a disease caused by insufficient Vitamin C intake. Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron required for the haemoglobin found in red blood cells. An insufficient level of Vitamin C therefore reduces the body’s ability to absorb iron. This can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness and numbness or tingling in the appendages.
6. Connective Tissue Defects:
Deficiency of Vitamin C can lead to very serious defects in the body’s connective tissue. The first sign can be bruise-coloured spots on the skin. Weakened vessels can give rise to worse problems like bleeding gums, poor healing of wounds, severe joint pain from bleeding within the joints and blurred vision from bleeding inside the eyes.
7. Hair Thinning:
Iron & Vitamin C deficiency can cause thinning hair in anaemia. Hair loss happens due to lowers levels of red blood cells. Therefore Vitamin C intake is a must for the health of your hair follicles. Consume iron supplements with Vitamin C to maintain healthy hair.
8. Swollen and Bleeding Gum Tissue:
Like the skin, our gums are also made up of collagen. This is produced by your body using Vitamin C. Without Vitamin C, the gums can swell up and bleed easily when flossing or brushing. As the deficiency increases, bleeding can result in moderate pressure or while eating. The gums may be affected to a point where tooth fall may happen. Vitamin C deficiency can give rise to bacterial infections in the wounds of the gums.
Scurvy is caused by the deficiency of Vitamin C. This can be effectively treated by increasing vitamin C intake. You can increase this either through your dietary intake or by taking supplements.
Consume all fruits and vegetables that contain Vitamin C. Best dietary sources include green peppers, strawberries, green, leafy vegetables, white potatoes, tomatoes, citrus fruits, broccoli, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin C is essential to help the body in its natural healing process. Deficiency of this Vitamin may result in wounds, burns and other small injuries not healing properly.