Vitamin C is essential for survival, and not only is a high blood level of vitamin C beneficial for your health in a multitude of ways, but getting too little is just as harmful as getting a lot (around 500 mg a day) is helpful. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is necessary for a variety of bodily functions, and is needed for the growth, development, and maintenance or repair of all tissues found throughout the body. Cells both inside and outside (or rather, on the surface of your skin) need vitamin C to function properly, and a deficiency can present some serious health implications. Today, Vine Vera is going to discuss the dangers of a vitamin C deficiency, and how you can get enough into your system.
Symptoms and History
Vitamin C deficiency also goes by the name “scurvy,” which you very well may have heard before if you were ever a fan of sailing or pirate-themed movies, or the the particular period of history (as early as 5th century BCE to as late as the early 20th century CE, but especially during the age of discovery, 15th century CE). Scurvy was a big problem with sailors and pirates for awhile, severely limiting the length of voyages, because no one knew the actual cause, so it was simply a mysterious killer that seemed to creep up on everyone aboard a ship a month or so into a voyage. Today, we understand that scurvy is in fact a vitamin C deficiency, which has seriously reduced the incidence of scurvy. That said, it can still happen to anyone if one is not careful, so it always makes sense to arm yourself with the relevant knowledge.
Vitamin C deficiency will occur some time after a person stops getting at least 10 mg a day, generally about 4 weeks. It starts with a general feeling of unease or discomfort, and lethargy. Something will just feel “off,” and one won’t feel normal. It will be harder to make do simple tasks. 1-3 months in, the person starts getting bone pain and shortness of breath. As it progresses, one may find that the skin changes in quality and gets rougher, and wounds don’t heal as quickly and are more likely to bleed out quite a bit before they recover, if they ever do. There can also be seriously unpleasant emotional changes, as well as dry mouth and eyes. If it keeps up for longer, the deficiency can also lead to death.
What to Do About it
Luckily, a vitamin C deficiency is easily cured by simply taking a supplement or eating vitamin C-rich foods like citrus, dark leafy greens, bell peppers, guava, strawberries, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables. Freshly prepared meat (as opposed to canned or dried/preserved meat) generally contains enough vitamin C to prevent a deficiency, since most animals create their own vitamin C, and it’s present throughout their tissues. To prevent a deficiency and maintain good health, it’s recommended you consume about 500 mg a day, through a combination of a supplement and eating lots of the above foods. You only need about 10 mg a day to survive and prevent a deficiency, but more is generally better, and will aid your health in a number of ways.