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As we’ve said time and time again, vitamin C is extremely important in a healthy diet, and its an essential nutrient that we literally cannot live without. It’s important in skincare because it promotes an even skin tone and is a necessary part of collagen synthesis—meaning increasing your vitamin C levels can increase the amount of collagen you produce—so needless to say, it’s highly advised you get enough of it.
Until the end of the 18th century, it was common for sailors who were away at sea for long periods of time with only cured meats and dried grains to eat to come down with a mysterious disease that would make them weak and sickly, and ultimately kill them off. Eventually, scurvy was discovered to be caused by a lack of vitamin C, and in fact the terms “scurvy” and “vitamin C deficiency” are interchangeable.
After hearing the above, you might think vitamin C deficiency has been all but eradicated by now, but you’d be wrong. While having such a severe case for long enough to actually kill a person is incredibly uncommon in developed societies, mild to moderate deficiency—which is not life-threatening but is certainly not ideal either—is fairly prevalent. As such, Vine Vera decided it would be a good idea to discuss vitamin C deficiency, the symptoms, and what you can do about it.
Symptoms and Causes
Definitively, a vitamin C deficiency is—predictably—caused by insufficient levels of vitamin C in the blood and body tissues for optimal functioning. More specifically, though, it’s usually either caused by a lack of sufficient vitamin C intake, or a lack of sufficient absorption. In other words, if you’re vitamin C deficient, it could be because you don’t eat enough food or take a supplement with enough vitamin C for optimal health, but it could also be the case that you actually are consuming plenty of vitamin C, but your body isn’t able to properly absorb it for other reasons.
If you’re vitamin C deficient, you may notice a lack of energy or a case of near-constant fatigue, and you may experience atypical mood swings. In more severe cases, you might loose a large amount of weight quickly, experience aches and pains in your joints and all over your body, or even get frequently and profusely bleeding gums if it’s really bad.
In order to reverse vitamin C deficiency, you have to have both a good vitamin C intake and a good absorption rate. Boosting your intake is pretty easy; just consume more foods that contain vitamin C, like citrus fruits, chili peppers, dark leafy greens, and other assorted fruits and vegetables. You should also consider a vitamin C supplement, preferably in the order of 500 mg a day.
Boosting your absorption rate, however, can be more complicated. There’s a few things you can try, though. For one, just try to have an all-around healthy and balanced diet with a good mix of all the basic food groups. For another, try taking a multivitamin; this will give you an assortment of necessary vitamins and minerals that you need for proper functioning, and should help your absorption rate of vitamin C (it’s common for certain vitamins and minerals to rely on the presence of others to be absorbed, such as calcium, which requires vitamin D present in the body for optimal absorption). Finally, when taking a vitamin C supplement, stagger it into two doses. 250 mg twice a day is better than 500 mg once a day. Finally, if you’re still worried, consult your doctor.