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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Vitamin C Deficiency

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Severe Vitamin C deficiency is also known as Scurvy and is usually due to a diet that is low in vitamin C. A dietary level of less than 10 mg a day of vitamin C causes overt vitamin C deficiency in adults. Chronic or persistent vitamin C deficiency (3 months or more) can lead to scurvy (See Symptoms).

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is an anti-oxidant which protects the body from free radicals, helps in the healing of wounds, helps the iron absorption of the body, maintains teeth and gum health, and helps in the formation, repair, and growth of bones, skin and connective tissues.

Vitamin C deficiency is diagnosed based on symptoms and blood tests. X-rays are done in children to check for bone growth impairment.

Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intake (RENI) Values for Filipinos

Age in years mg/day
Children  
0-4 30 mg
7-9 35 mg
Males  
10-12 45 mg
13-15 65 mg
>16 75 mg
Females  
10-12 45 mg
13-15 65 mg
>16 70 mg
Pregnant women 80 mg
Lactating women  
1st 6 months 105
2nd 6 months 100

 

Symptoms
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Easy bruising
  • Loss of teeth
  • Mood changes
  • Infants and children suffer from bone growth impairment and anemia
  • Scurvy (Severe Vitamin C deficiency) is manifested by inflamed and bleeding gums, anemia, dry hair and skin, bruising and poor wound healing
Risk Factors
  • Smoking. This increases the vitamin C requirement of the body by 30%.
  • Alcoholism
  • Diet that does not include enough fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Surgery
  • Fever and inflammation
  • Hemodialysis
  • Stress (infection and trauma)
  • Unbalanced diets and those who follow fad diets
  • Elderly who lack variety in their food intake
Commonly Prescribed Drugs

Vitamin C supplements in oral and parenteral form. Excessive intake of Vitamin C (>2 grams in a single dose) may cause pain in the abdomen, nausea, and diarrhea.

Treatment and Management
  • Eat a diet rich in vitamin C such as green vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes and citrus fruits.
  • Take supplements containing vitamin C
  • Do not smoke
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • As much as possible, Vitamin C-rich food should be eaten raw since cooking destroys the vitamin C in food
Home Remedies
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