Sunday 6 October 2019

Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin, one of the most essential vitamins in an individual’s daily diet. It acts as a potent antioxidant helping to reduce the damage caused by free radicals and thereby helping prevent the development of conditions like heart disease and cancer. It plays vital functions in the body including growth, maintaining the health of the body,  repair of  tissues like the skin, joints, blood vessels, bones, and teeth, boost the absorption of other nutrients in the body. It is critically important in wound healing and is also a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C can have a huge impact on the health from the inside out. It is needed for numerous daily functions, supports immune function, and facilitates the absorption of iron. 

   Found primarily in fruits and vegetables, it is abundant throughout the diet. A deficiency in this important vitamin can wreak havoc on health, causing symptoms like easy bruising, bleeding gums, fatigue, weakened immunity,  increased risk of conditions like gout and heart disease and, in severe cases, scurvy. 
     You need to consume vitamin C daily—preferably through foods rich in vitamin C. Most people think of oranges—and they are a great source—but many other fruits and vegetables are loaded with this nutrient, like strawberries, papaya, broccoli, tomatoes, red bell peppers, and cauliflower. It is also found in fresh milk, fish and offal such as liver and kidney, it can also be gotten from fortified foods such as cereals.

   The recommended daily intake for Vitamin C differs according to age and gender.  Pregnant and breastfeeding women need higher amounts of this vitamin in their diet. Adult women are advised to take 75 mg daily; while men should consume 90 mg daily. You can easily get what you need from these foods; Red pepper — 1 cup: 190 mg, guava — 1 fruit: 126 mg, green bell pepper — 1 cup: 120 mg,  orange — 1 large: 98 mg, strawberries — 1 cup: 89 mg, papaya — 1 cup: 87 mg, broccoli — 1 cup, raw: 81 mg,  pineapple — 1 cup: 79 mg, cauliflower — 1 cup, raw: 46 mg, mango — 1 cup: 46 mg, lemon — 1 fruit: 45 mg, grapefruit — 1/2 fruit: 38 mg, peas — 1 cup, cooked: 23 mg, tomatoes — 1 cup, raw: 23mg.
  Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency

While symptoms of severe vitamin C deficiency can take months to develop, there are some subtle signs to watch out for.

  • Sudden, swollen and unexpected bleeding from your gums:The gums are made up partially of collagen, which is why they tend to be more sensitive when vitamin C levels in the body dip. Swollen gums are a result of inflammation, a process that vitamin C helps prevent as an antioxidant. 

  • Beeding Nose: Nose bleeds occur when the tiny blood vessels in the nose burst, so frequent nose bleeds are a sign of weak blood vessels in the nose. Since blood vessels are strengthened by collagen, having a vitamin C deficiency can result in weakened blood vessels, causing them to burst and create nose bleeds frequently. 

  • Slow wound healing: The immune response that works to repair wounds and fights infection relies on vitamin C. The nutrient also helps with the formation of collagen, which strengthens the scar tissue that forms over wounds. With a vitamin C deficiency, this process is less efficient, causing longer bleeding and slower healing. 

  • Slit, dry hair: When the hair is healthy and shiny, it’s a good sign that one is eating a balanced diet. When the ends of one's hair are splitting and dry, there might be a vitamin C deficiency. Hair depends on collagen for strength and health: When one is low on vitamin C,the collagen production can pay the price, leading to weak and brittle hair that falls out easily. 

  • Iron deficiency: The body absorbs two types of iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron typically comes from animal sources and is easily absorbed, while nonheme iron comes from plant sources (like spinach, plantain, kale, broccoli, etc). Vitamin C helps the body absorb nonheme iron more efficiently and has been shown to be a strong indicator of iron status; that’s why iron deficiencies often go hand in hand with vitamin C deficiencies. Getting enough vitamin C ensures that your body can make the most of iron-rich foods.

  • Easy bruising: When small blood vessels right under the surface of the skin burst, one ends up with a bruise. If bruise occurs easily, it could be a sign that the blood vessel walls—which are made largely from collagen—are weak. Vitamin C helps strengthen the blood vessels by boosting collagen production so they don’t breakdown as easily. 

  • Frequent infection: Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells that attack bacteria and viruses as part of the immune response. As an antioxidant, vitamin C also helps protect the health of immune cells so that they can work efficiently to prevent infections. Frequent wound infections or suffering from common infections like the flu, Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), or strep throat is an indication of a weakened immune system. You can boost your immunity by getting enough vitamin C. 

  • Fatigue and moodiness: Vitamin C plays a key role in energy production and mood stabilization, so a lack of vitamin C can throw both your energy and mood out of balance. There is evidence that eating produce high in vitamin C can enhance overall mood, reduce fatigue, increase vigor, and reduce depression.

    By incorporating just a few servings of vitamin C foods in your diet, it’s a simple way to take advantage of all the health benefits this water-soluble vitamin has to offer. Since your body doesn’t store it, developing a vitamin C deficiency is easier than you might expect.


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