Symptoms Vitamin C Deficiency?



Vitamin C (also known as Ascorbic acid) is the most well-known vitamin, and it's essential for our health. Vitamin C mainly functions as an antioxidant, but it also helps to form our connective tissue, balance iron absorption, and support our immune system.

Vitamin C is found in all kinds of vegetables and fruits, including citrus fruits, leafy greens, berries and even potatoes. However, this vitamin does evaporate quickly, so you get the most out of it when you cook the vegetables for a short time or eat them raw (where possible). Vitamin C is often added to processed food products in the form of ascorbic acid; this way, you can also get a minuscule amount of vitamin C. However, it is best to get this vitamin from fruits and vegetables.

Although a vitamin C deficiency is very rare, there are several risk groups who have a higher chance of contracting a vitamin C deficiency. These people may benefit from taking extra supplements or adjusting their diet so that they get enough vitamin C.

People with a higher risk of obtaining an vitamin C deficiency are:

  • Persons with an eating disorder,
  • People with an unbalanced diet,
  • Alcoholics,
  • People who have to undergo dialysis,
  • Patients with severe mental illness,
  • Heavy smokers.

A shortage of vitamin C can be recognized by the following symptoms. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, it may be wise to consult a physician.


When you are deficient in vitamin C, your blood vessels can collapse more quickly because they have less support and firm. As a result, red lines and cracks can appear on the nails.

Nails can also curve and become more brittle because they receive too little iron (1)(2).

In short: a lack of vitamin C can lead to weak nails with red cracks/lines around them.


Another consequence of the fast-flapping blood vessels is that you are more likely to bruise. When your blood vessels do not receive enough support from vitamin C, they also break more quickly when you bump into something.

This is because vitamin C contributes to the production of collagen, a substance that keeps your blood vessels firm (3).

The bruises can appear as larger spots, as well as small purple and red dots on your body (4).

In short: a vitamin C deficiency increases the risk of bruising because your body has too little collagen to strengthen your blood vessels.


Vitamin C contributes to the health of your skin in several ways. For example, it helps to keep the connective tissue intact. Still, the antioxidant function of this vitamin also ensures that your skin is protected against oxidative damage (5).

When you have too little vitamin C in your body, the protection is lost, which increases the risk of damage to your skin. Your skin becomes drier, can wrinkle faster and wounds can heal less quickly (6).

In short: when you have too little vitamin C in your body, your skin can become more sensitive, which increases the risk of wrinkles and dry skin.


Wounds need collagen to heal, and vitamin C contributes to the production of this substance. Therefore, when you have too little vitamin C, your injuries may take longer to form a crust and to repair the skin (7).

In severe cases, even old wounds can reopen, but this is almost non-existent (8).

In short: because collagen is needed to heal wounds, a shortage of vitamin C can ensure a long recovery of damages and scabs.


Vitamin C promotes iron absorption in the body. So when you are deficient in vitamin C, the body can absorb less iron than usual (9).

As a result, you can become iron deficient, which can lead to anaemia in the long run.

In short: a lack of vitamin C prevents your body from absorbing enough iron and can lead to an iron deficiency.


Because vitamin C also functions as an antioxidant, this vitamin helps to protect your body against oxidative damage and external invaders (10).

A vitamin C deficiency prevents your immune system from protecting you as well, which increases the risk of contracting an illness (11).

In short: Vitamin C contributes to the immune system, and a deficiency of this vitamin can weaken the immune system.


One of the first symptoms of vitamin C deficiency is fatigue (1).

A deficiency can even lead to a bad mood and mood swings. Still, this symptom can be easily remedied by using supplements or vitamin C-rich foods.

In short: a shortage of vitamin C can lead to fatigue, but can also be quickly resolved.


Our joints are connected by connective tissue, a tissue in which vitamin C plays a significant role.

When you don't have enough vitamin C in your body, it can lead to painful joints when moving (12). This is because the joints have too little connective tissue to move smoothly over each other.

Besides, extra bleeding can also occur around the joints because the blood vessels are weaker, which can cause additional swelling and pain (7).

In short: a deficiency of vitamin C can lead to painful joints because they have too little connective tissue to move over each other. It can also lead to swelling and bleeding around the joints.


Research has shown that vitamin C deficiency is associated with an increased risk of fractures and osteoporosis (13).

Vitamin C plays a significant role in the development and repair of bones, so a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to an increased risk of fractures (14).

In short: a lack of vitamin C can contribute to a high risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

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