14 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency

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A lack of vitamin C can have a detrimental impact on practically every element of health, including the the function of the immune system, the speed of healing from wounds, the maintenance of robust blood vessels, and energy levels. 

The severity of the long-term impacts could raise the likelihood of developing chronic illnesses and other health problems.  

Fortunately, eating a range of foods strong in vitamin C and adhering to a healthy, balanced diet is generally preventable. To avoid low vitamin C levels, increase your intake of foods high in the vitamin. 

What is Vitamin C Deficiency?  

Vitamin C deficiency results from consuming insufficient amounts of the vitamin in your diet. Over time, a deficiency in vitamin C prevents the production of new collagen. 

This affects the health and repair of your body by causing numerous tissues to start deteriorating. Scurvy is a condition caused by a persistent (chronic) vitamin C deficiency that typically lasts for three months or longer. 

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency  

The 14 signs and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency that you shouldn’t be overlooked include:

Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency

Loss of vision  

A deficiency of vitamin C, other antioxidants, and particular minerals may hasten the progression of age-related muscular degeneration. Consuming enough vitamin C in the diet may help prevent cataracts, but further research is necessary to completely understand this process. 

Slow healing of wounds  

As lack of vitamin C hinders the production of collagen, wounds take longer to heal. According to research, individuals with persistent, non-healing ulcers are much likely to be vitamin C deficient than those without such conditions. 

Old wounds might even resurface in some cases of vitamin C deficiency, raising the risk of infection. This critical symptom usually not apparent until a a person has been lacking for several months. 

Mood swings  

Another typical symptom of vitamin C deficiency is frequent mood swings. If your body is deficient in vitamin C, you frequently get more irritated and irritable. 

Dry hair and brittle nails  

The transition from healthy to dry hair can be a red flag. It can imply that your body isn’t getting enough vitamin C and other essential nutrients. The body allocates the majority of its vitamin C to other vital tissues as hair is a non-essential tissue, leading to hair becoming depleted. For iron to be absorbed, vitamin C is required. A lack of iron can cause brittle, concave nails, slow hair growth, and hair loss. 

Iron deficiency  

Heme and nonheme are the two types of iron that your body can absorb. Vegetarians should make an effort to get iron-rich foods in their diets because nonheme iron is frequently obtained from plant sources (such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and others) and is poorly absorbed. 

The well-absorbed heme iron is typically obtained from animal sources. Because vitamin C helps the body absorb nonheme iron more effectively and has been shown to be a potent predictor of iron status, iron deficits and vitamin C shortages usually coexist. 

Iron deficiency anaemia and vitamin C deficiency can also frequently coexist. Paleness, exhaustion, difficulty breathing while exercising, dry skin and hair, headaches, and spoon-shaped fingernails are indications of iron deficiency anaemia.  

Low amounts of vitamin C may worsen iron metabolism and decrease iron absorption from plant-based meals, which may lead to iron deficiency anaemia. Anaemia can be exacerbated by vitamin C deficiency by an increase in the risk of excessive bleeding. 

Check your vitamin C levels if iron deficiency anaemia lasts a long time without having a clear reason. If you have enough vitamin C, your body will be able to benefit the most from iron-rich foods. 

Muscle and joint pain  

Persistent joint and muscular pain is a sign that you lack vitamin C. A study found that individuals with low vitamin C levels are three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those with high vitamin C levels. 


Fatigue is one of the earliest signs of vitamin C insufficiency. These signs may even emerge before a true deficit.

Although some of the initial symptoms, such as weariness and irritability, may disappear after a few days of appropriate intake or within 24 hours of high-dose supplementation. 

Weak bones  

Vitamin C deficiency can also have an impact on bone health. Low consumption has actually been connected to a higher risk of osteoporosis and fractures. 

A deficit can speed up the rate of bone loss because vitamin C, according to research, is essential for bone production. Given that their bones are still growing and developing ,children’s bone health may be more vulnerable to vitamin C insufficiency. 

Weak immunity  

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a deficiency in vitamin C raises your risk of getting sick and could make recovery more challenging. 

Vitamin C builds up inside the different types of immune cells to support those cells’ ability to fight off infection and eradicate germs that cause disease. 

Deficit of vitamin C is linked to low immunity and a higher risk of infection, including life-threatening conditions like pneumonia. In fact, due to their compromised immune systems, many scurvy patients eventually pass away from infection. Scurvy is one of the condition brought on by a lack of vitamin C. 

Bright red hair follicles  

Numerous blood veins can be seen in the hair follicles on the skin’s surface, which brings effective nutrients and blood to the area. 

These tiny blood vessels might weaken and burst more easily when there is vitamin C deficiency , which results in the development  bright red hair follicles .

Perifollicular haemorrhage is a well-recognised indicator of severe vitamin C insufficiency. This condition usually goes away in two weeks when taking vitamin C tablets. 

Damaged dry skin  

Vitamin C is abundant in healthy skin, particularly in the outer layer of the skin. By protecting it from oxidative damage brought on by the sun and the exposure to contaminants like ozone or cigarette smoke , vitamin C keeps skin healthy. 

Additionally, it encourages the formation of collagen, which keeps skin appearing young and plump. Low intakes are linked to a 10% increased chance of having dry, wrinkly skin, while higher intakes are linked to better skin quality. 

While Vitamin C deficiency has been linked with dry, damaged skin, there are many additional causes for this symptom, making it insufficient evidence.

Swollen joints  

Joints are susceptible to vitamin C deficiency because they are presented with a lot of collagen-rich connective tissues. Numerous joint discomforts are associated with vitamin C deficiency ,these cases are frequently severe enough to result in trouble walking or limping .

Vitamin C deficiency could also result in bleeding inside the joints, which might be the cause of swelling and further pain. However, vitamin C tablets can be takento alleviate both of these symptoms, and they often go away within a week.  

Bleeding gums  

Gums that are swollen ,red and bleeding are another typical symptom of vitamin C insufficiency. Without enough vitamin C, blood vessels might bleed and gum tissue weakens and inflames.Gums might even appear purple and rotting in some cases of vitamin C deficiency. Teeth may eventually even fall out as a result of poor dentin.

Unexplained weight gain  

By controlling the release of fat from fat cells, lowering stress hormones, and reducing inflammation, vitamin C may help prevent obesity. 

It is unclear if there is a cause-and-effect relationship between increased body fat and insufficient vitamin C intake, despite the fact that research has consistently found a link between the two .Low blood levels of vitamin C have been associated with increased levels of belly fat. 

Even though extra body fat by itself does not prove a vitamin C deficiency, it may be worth investigating when other potential causes have been ruled out. 

How Long Does it Take to Fix Vitamin C Deficiency?  

After beginning to replenish the nutrient, people with vitamin C deficiencies can notice an improvement in their state of health. However, if you’re wondering how long it will take to treat a vitamin C deficiency, here is a summary of the symptoms and how long it will probably take for them to go away. 

  • Pain, weariness, anorexia, and lethargy throughout the day. 
  • Bruising, bleeding, and severe weakness for 1-2 weeks. 
  • Full healing after three months. 
  • It is essential to note that depending on the severity of the deficit and other medical issues, this timeline may change from person to person. 
  • Permanent harm, such as severe dental distortion or tooth loss, cannot be undone. This is why it is important to prioritize your health in order to stop vitamin C deficiency before it is too late. 


A vitamin C supplement taken as directed may be helpful if you are worried that you may not be consuming or absorbing enough vitamin C-rich foods. However, you should first seek the opinion of your doctor or a nutritionist. 

1. What are the best foods for vitamin C deficiency?  

Some of the most prominent food sources of this nutrient are as follows: 
Kiwi fruit 
Bell peppers 

2. What are the signs and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency in children?  

Some of the symptoms include low-grade fever, irritability, loss of appetite, and later dermatological such as petechiae, hyperkeratosis, ecchymoses and corkscrew hairs.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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