While uncommon, vitamin C deficiency is still possible – even in today’s modern world. Since it’s an essential element (but one your body does not manufacture or store), all of your vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) must come from your diet, and on a daily occurrence. That means if your diet doesn’t contain enough of the right kinds of foods or your lifestyle doesn’t support adequate absorption of vitamin C, you may be headed for trouble.
Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency
The inventory of vitamin C deficiency signs and symptoms is, unfortunately, pretty general, overall. Fatigue, dry hair and skin, and painful or swollen joints are just a few of the things you may notice. Another, and perhaps more obvious, sign of even mild vitamin C deficiency is increased bruising, or cuts that take longer to heal. Collagen is a key element when it comes to repairing damaged tissue, and vitamin C is essential for its production. Without enough ascorbic acid you’ll probably start to notice you bruise more easily and they take longer to finally clear up.
In addition, lifestyle choices such as smoking tobacco and heavy alcohol use can also impede the body’s ability to absorb vitamin C, adding to the long list of health issues already tied to those activities.
Best Sources for Vitamin C
As mentioned earlier, your required intake of vitamin C must come from your diet. The most common and well-known food source is citrus fruits and juices, namely oranges or grapefruit. But you may not know that pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, and mango are also excellent ways to combat vitamin C deficiency.
If you’re partial to vegetables, you have plenty to choose from, as well. Tomatoes, spinach, squash, broccoli, and cauliflower are just a few of the ways you can work some vitamin C into your diet, not to mention other vitamin-fortified foods and supplements, as well.
Recommended daily intake for teenagers is 65mg/day for girls and 75mg/day for boys. As you age your requirements increase, so women over 19 years old should get 75mg/day and men should get 90mg/day.
If you feel like you may be suffering from a vitamin C deficiency, the best way to be sure is to get tested for it by a health care professional. If you doctor finds out you’re levels are too low, you can usually get back up to healthy levels in a matter of days with the right diet plan.