Vitamin C gets a lot of press for helping to keep us healthy and free from various colds and illnesses. It’s also one of the harder vitamins to run a deficiency in, but it is still possible. There are specific things you can do to make sure that you don’t run into the problems caused by low levels of Vitamin C, and we’ll explore further into what signs to look for, how to determine if you are low, and what to do about it if you are.
You might think you’re eating the right foods and you shouldn’t be deficient, but it’s also a matter of making sure your body is absorbing the Vitamin C properly as well. Doctors confirm that as long as you’re maintaining a healthy diet your levels of Vitamin C should be at the right spot, but it can be the case with the Standard American Diet that you don’t end up getting enough foods that contain the right mix of nutrients and minerals.
If you don’t get enough Vitamin C you could be leaving your immune system depleted, which would make you more susceptible to getting sick. In addition to that you also risk having your skin and hair becoming too dry, and it can even lead to weakened tooth enamel. Extreme cases may even result in having wounds take longer to heal, since one of the benefits of Vitamin C is to help the skin heal.
Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency
You might notice that you feel more fatigued or lethargic when you’re not getting the Vitamin C that you need. What’s interesting is that getting the right amount of it doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily feel more energetic, but at least you won’t feel run down either.
You might also notice that you’re susceptible to mood swings when you otherwise aren’t. It’s not clear exactly why this symptom exists, but having the right amount of Vitamin C has been shown to keep you feeling good and is effective in helping with depression, so the two could be related.
If your levels are very low you might also notice sudden drops in your weight. This is not the sort of weight loss that you’d want to celebrate if you were trying to lose weight, as this is attributed to what is called wasting, whereby your body is literally wasting away due to malnourishment.
Vitamin C helps to keep joints healthy and moving smoothly, so if you don’t get enough of it you might notice that you have aches and pains that you usually don’t have. This is yet another sign that you might be low, and can provide early warning before things get too severe.
You may see your gums start to bleed, or have other dental problems if you run a deficit for an extended period of time. It doesn’t happen very often, and is reversed easily enough by correcting the imbalance.
Learn about the health benefits of Vitamin C and why it is so important.
Testing Your Vitamin C Levels
There are ways that you can test your own Vitamin C levels at home, or you can have your doctor run a comprehensive test to see where you’re at with all of the different vitamins. Of course you’ll get more accurate results from your doctor, but the at-home tests can give you a basic thumbs up or thumbs down on whether you’re at the right level or not.
Causes of Low Vitamin C
The only way that you can get Vitamin C into the body is through the foods you eat and beverages you drink on a daily basis as part of your diet. So the first cause of low Vitamin C levels is simply not eating enough foods that contain it. It’s not too hard to do in our modern world where so much of the food presented to us is devoid of any nutritional value. You’ll have to seek out
Another cause of low Vitamin C is that the body isn’t properly absorbing what is coming in. This can be due to organs that aren’t functioning properly, or a high number of blockages in the intestines and colon that are preventing these nutrients from being taken in by the body. It may be necessary to free up this blockage or fix any digestive problems in conjunction with improving your diet to get the full effect from your efforts.
How to Get More Vitamin C
If you’ve noticed that you’re not getting enough Vitamin C the most simple thing to do is start eating more fruits and vegetables. Most of them contain at least some Vitamin C, with certain ones containing more and others containing a bit less. Some of the commonly understood fruits that contain higher-than-normal levels of Vitamin C are citrus fruits. We’ve also broken it down for you in our list of Vitamin C foods. Familiarize yourself with these foods and you’ll be sure to be getting all that you need.
Another way to up your levels is to take supplemental forms of Vitamin C. These are readily available in several forms, including synthetic multivitamins like Centrum, whole food supplements, and Vitamin C tablets. Typically the amount of Vitamin C in these supplements is larger than what is recommended as your daily requirement, which may look impressive on the nutrition label, but is not necessarily a good thing for the body.
Boosting your absorption rate is sometimes more difficult than increasing your intake of Vitamin C, either through natural foods or with supplements. If you are unsure of what to do, consult with your doctor for personal advice and assistance.
It’s always good to take action if you feel that your Vitamin C levels are low. Find out if this is indeed the case, and then take steps to correct it. The most reliable way to know whether you’re getting enough of all your vitamins is to have your doctor test your levels at your next checkup. Just be sure to stick to your regular diet before the testing happens so that you can get an accurate measure of how you normally are.
Not getting enough sun? Make sure you don’t have a Vitamin D deficiency.
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