From an early age, we’re taught that vitamins and minerals are essential to our well-being. If you already eat a well-balanced diet or take a multivitamin, you may assume that you’ve got the vitals covered. But if you truly want to focus on your health, it pays to get acquainted with nutrients that are often missing from the typical everyday diet.
Vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid, is essential for forming healthy bodily tissue, from muscles to cartilage. Yet, many people lack sufficient dietary vitamin C.
Is it possible that you have a vitamin C deficiency?
In this short guide, we’ll go over potential signs of vitamin C anemia and the steps you can take, aside from eating foods high in Vitamin C, to reach a healthy vitamin C level.
Vitamin C Deficiency and Mood
Do you wake up in the morning feeling off or suffer from the common cold often?
The following can be symptoms of severe vitamin C deficiency:
- Fatigue – If you’re exhausted every morning, you might assume that that’s the norm. Lots of people need several cups of coffee to get going—right? However, there’s a chance that your fatigue isn’t a result of insufficient caffeine intake or sleep. Fatigue is often the first warning sign of scurvy (vitamin C deficiency). It’s also referred to as vitamin C fatigue.
- Stress – It’s normal to feel nervous from time to time. If you have a presentation at work or a big social event to attend, you might find your palms getting sweaty and your heart rate speeding up. But if you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual without a clear reason, it’s also possible that a lack of vitamin C is playing a role.
In fact, a lack of vitamin C can be tied to a whole range of negative feelings, from sadness to irritability and beyond.
Does vitamin C give you energy? Many people find that this substance is just what they need to boost focus and enthusiasm.
While it’s important to develop coping strategies for your mental health, increasing your vitamin C intake could help uplift your mood so that you can greet each day with more energy.
Physical Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency
While early warning signs of insufficient vitamin C often take the form of emotional and psychological symptoms, a chronic lack of vitamin C will start to manifest physically.
Why? As we’ve briefly noted, vitamin C helps form tissue.
Vitamin C is essential in collagen formation.
- Collagen is a significant component of skin, muscles, cartilage, blood cell membranes, and other bodily tissues.
- Without sufficient vitamin C, our connective tissues lack collagen, making them weaker and less elastic.
Next, we’ll look at some specific signs to look out for.
Vitamin C and Skin Health
Collagen makes our skin look youthful and plump. As we age, we naturally lose collagen and skin elasticity. As a result, we can develop signs of aging include:
- Sagging skin
- Sunken cheeks
- Fine lines from repeated facial expressions
While wrinkles and loss of skin volume are inevitable for most of us, a lack of vitamin C can speed up the signs of aging.
Beyond ensuring healthy collagen production, vitamin C plays other roles in preserving youthful-looking skin.
- Oxidative stress occurs when UV rays, smoke, environmental pollution, and other harmful substances come in contact with our skin. Over time, this can lead to signs of aging. Antioxidant vitamin C can serve a protective function, helping the skin cope with oxidative stress. This is why vitamin C serums are a popular skincare product.
- A severe lack of vitamin C can also result in bumpy, uneven skin texture, aka “goose flesh.”
To improve your skin’s appearance and texture, make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin C or try a liposomal vitamin C serum if you prefer vitamin supplementation.
Issues With Bruising and Skin Healing
You probably know that sailors used to get scurvy—but what, exactly, is this old-timey disease?
As we’ve already covered, vitamin C is essential to healthy tissue formation. Without it, the following can occur:
- Bleeding gums
- The reopening of old wounds
- Slow wound healing
While the above symptoms may seem dramatic, a milder vitamin C deficiency could still result in unpleasant symptoms like easily bruised skin.
Beyond more visible symptoms, vitamin C deficiency could also lead to daily aches and irritations.
Elbows, knees, and other joints are padded with joint cartilage. As we age, thinning cartilage can lead to discomfort. If your body isn’t producing enough collagen to form healthy cartilage, your joints may feel stiff, swollen, or sore.
Other Physical Signs
Other obvious, external signs of a potential vitamin C deficiency include:
- Red, irritated hair follicles
- Curly body hair
- Curled, concave fingernails
- Thin and brittle hair and nails
Vitamin C and Immunity
Beyond the symptoms we’ve already discussed, insufficient vitamin C may make you more prone to colds and other illnesses.
Here’s why this makes perfect sense:
- Vitamin C deficiency can weaken key parts of the immune system, from the skin barrier to red blood cells.
- As your body spends extra energy trying to heal wounds and repair tissue without sufficient vitamin C, there may be fewer resources to combat infection.
Vitamin C supplements are frequently administered to people fighting off infections in clinical settings, hence the popularity of health aids like Emergen-C.
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?
So how much vitamin C is enough?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended dietary allowance adults need is 95 mg of vitamin C per day.
In many cases, it’s usually beneficial to consume even more than the minimum daily recommended amount, especially if you have a nutritional deficiency.
When it comes to vitamin C pros and cons, there are mostly pros!
- Doses of up to 500 mg per day have been used in clinical trials with few adverse effects.
- But, note that one can have too much vitamin C. You should generally not consume more than 2,000 mg per day.
- Negative side effects of excessive vitamin C could include digestive discomfort.
Where to Get Vitamin C
How can you get at least 95 mg of vitamin C?
Some fruits and vegetables are naturally high in this essential substance. Oranges are perhaps the most famous source of this vitamin. Each has about 70mg.
Other vitamin C rich foods include:
- Red bell pepper – 95 mg in ½ cup
- Kiwi – 70 mg per cup
- Tomato – 20 mg per cup
Ready to incorporate more vitamin C into your routine? One option is eating more of these fruits and vegetables. Another is making or buying vitamin C-rich juices.
Let’s be honest—not everyone has the energy to keep up a steady supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, much less come up with the recipes to put them to use.
In these cases, another option is vitamin C supplementation.
However, not all vitamin C supplements are created equal.
- In clinical settings, vitamin C is supplied intravenously, i.e., directly into blood vessels.
- At home, there are no intravenous options.
- When you ingest vitamin C, it may not be 100% bioavailable (able to be absorbed).
What happens to unabsorbed ascorbic acid? The excess vitamin C will be eliminated in your urine, which means you won’t enjoy its potential skin-healing and immune-boosting benefits.
Some supplements are more bioavailable than others—meaning that our bodies are able to absorb a greater percentage of their vitamin C.
Liposomal Vitamin C
Liposomal encapsulated vitamin C contains ascorbic acid, which has been encapsulated in liposomes.
What is a liposome? It is a spherical vessel with at least one layer of fat. These substances mimic the shape and size of human blood cells and are an efficient mechanism for the delivery of drugs and supplements.
Studies show that liposomal vitamin C is more readily absorbed than other forms, such as:
- Gelatin-encapsulated powder
How Long Will it Take to Increase Vitamin C Levels?
If you’re experiencing a vitamin C deficiency, transforming your routine could have fast effects.
Once you start consuming adequate vitamin C, you can expect the following results:
- Improved symptoms within one or two days
- Significant improvement after one week
- Full recovery from your deficiency after one month
However, keep in mind that this timeline assumes you’re consuming and absorbing between 300 mg to 1000 mg of vitamin C each day. Make sure to buy a high-quality supplement with plenty of bioavailable ascorbic acid.
What happens after a month?
As with all health habits, it’s important to keep up with your new routine. If you abruptly stop taking vitamin C and fail to make long-term changes to your diet, you may find yourself back in the same position in short order and you may even suffer a severe deficiency.
But there’s absolutely no harm in keeping up your new vitamin C-rich routine. On the contrary, vitamin C supplement benefits can include the following:
- Improve skin texture and reduced signs of aging
- Experience less joint discomfort
- Support your immune system and your holistic health
Cymbiotika: The Secret Ingredient to Your Vitamin C Intake
When it comes to your vitamin C supplement, adequate intake and quality are key.
Cymbiotika’s Synergy Liposomal Vitamin C contains nanoparticle serum vitamin C encapsulated in liposomes with bioavailability similar to intravenous delivery.
Specially formulated to enhance skin health and boost immunity, our liposomal vitamin C blend also contains superfood ingredients including silica, another vital substance for collagen synthesis.
Like all of Cymbiotika’s products, Synergy Liposomal Vitamin C is organic, vegan, and naturally derived.
If your wellness goals include improving your mood, getting glowing skin, and feeling better each day, consider adding vitamin C to your daily nutrient intake routine and experience the difference for yourself.
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Adult Scurvy. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10570371/
Cutis. Keratosis pilaris, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18856156/
Healthline. Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-deficiency-symptoms#TOC_TITLE_HDR_15
The Mayo Clinic. Can vitamin C improve your mood?https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/vitamin-c/faq-20058030#:~:text=For%20adults%2C%20the%20recommended%20daily,Nausea
The Mayo Clinic. Is it possible to take too much vitamin C? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/benefits-vitamin-c/faq-20058271#:~:text=The%20link%20between%20vitamin%20C,after%20they%20received%20vitamin%20C.
WebMD. Vitamin C Sources. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/ss/slideshow-vitamin-c-sources
Medical News. Vitamin C Therapeutic Uses. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Vitamin-C-Therapeutic-Uses.aspx
The University of Rochester. Vitamin C. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=vitaminc#:~:text=In%20adults%2C%20the%20treatment%20is,C%20deficiency%20with%20no%20symptoms.