Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential vitamin that strengthens the immune system and prevents sickness and serious health problems.
Seminars in Preventive and Alternative Medicine published a study that reviewed more than 100 studies over 10 years and compiled a growing list of benefits of vitamin C. The study researcher Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, of the University of Michigan, said:
“Vitamin C has received a great deal of attention, and with good reason. Higher blood levels of vitamin C may be the ideal nutrition marker for overall health. The more we study vitamin C, the better our understanding of how diverse it is in protecting our health, from cardiovascular, cancer, stroke, eye health [and] immunity to living longer.”
According to Andrew W. Saul:
“Vitamin C is the world’s best natural antibiotic, antiviral, antitoxin and antihistamine…”
Therefore, its deficiency in the body can poses serious health risks. These are the early signs that indicate that your body is low in this vitamin:
Susceptibility to colds and flu
Vitamin C supports the production of white blood cells that destroy virus and bacteria and acts as a powerful antioxidant that prevents infections. Its reduced levels might make you prone to the flu virus, common colds, or strep throat infection.
The lack of vitamin C in the body weakens capillaries, so a proneness to bruising can be another early sign of this issue.
Regular vitamin C intake strengthens the capillaries, but the inadequate levels of this nutrient might cause nosebleeds since the nose is lined with several of such small blood vessels closer to the skin’s surface.
Painful, swollen joints
Low vitamin C levels raise the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, which causes swellings and intense pain in the joints.
Dry, rough, red skin
As vitamin C is needed to synthesize with the skin’s collagen, its lack causes the development of skin issues, as well as a skin condition called keratosis pilaris, characterized by rough patches or tiny bumps on the thighs, buttocks, upper arms, and cheeks.
Slow healing of wounds
Vitamin C helps the connective tissues to bind with the wound and is crucial in the repair of tissues, so if your wounds take much time to heal, your body might have low levels of it.
Fatigue and anxiety
If you feel constantly tired and anxious, it might be a result of the low vitamin C levels in the body, as studies have shown that vitamin C deficiency has psychological links as well.
Swollen and bleeding gums
Vitamin C is needed for the health of the teeth and gums as it strengthens the epithelium tissue, that acts as a barrier against bacteria that lead to dental diseases. Therefore, its low levels lead to inflammation, bleeding, and swellings of the gum, as well as periodontitis, and gum infections.
Dry hair and split ends
The body directs vitamin C to the most important tissues and organs first, so low vitamin C levels lead to dry hair and split ends, and even hair loss and slow hair growth.
The best way to optimize the levels of vitamin C is to consume foods rich in it. The foods richest in vitamin C are citrus fruits, white potatoes, green peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and sweet potatoes, as well as cabbage, red peppers, raspberries, dark leafy greens, cantaloupe, papaya, mango, cauliflower, blueberries, winter squash, watermelon, brussels sprouts, and pineapples.
The American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Dee Sandquist, RD, advises:
“Strive to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily, because you will get a healthy dose of vitamin C along with an abundance of other vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are good for disease prevention and overall health.”