vitamin c

Are you getting enough Vitamin C?

Vitamin C cannot be made by the human body and as such is an essential component of the diet!

It is needed for the health and repair of various tissues in the body, including:

  • Skin
  • Ligaments and tendons
  • Blood vessel walls
  • Bone
  • Cartilage
  • Teeth

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamins are a group of substances needed in small amounts by the body to maintain its health.  Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, cannot be stored in the body so it must be consumed in our diet.

The NHS recommends that adults need 40mg of this vitamin a day.  Foods rich in Vitamin C include:

  • Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Spinach
  • Peppers
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Potatoes
  • Brussel sprouts

How do I know if I am deficient in Vitamin C?

The most common risk factors for Vitamin C deficiency are:

  • Poor diet
  • Alcoholism
  • Smoking
  • Anorexia

Whilst symptoms of severe deficiency can take months to develop there are some subtle signs to watch out for.

Here are five common signs of Vitamin C deficiency:

  1. Bumpy, rough skin

Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen production, a protein that is found in connective tissues such as hair, skin, joints, bones and blood vessels.  When levels are low a skin condition called keratosis pilaris can develop.  Bumpy “chicken skin” forms on the back of the upper arms, thighs, or buttocks due to a build up of keratin protein inside the pores.

  1. Swollen, painful joints.

As joints contain a lot of collagen-rich connective tissue, they can also be affected by this deficiency.  Often severe enough to cause limping or difficulty walking.  In severe cases bleeding within the joints can also occur causing swelling and additional pain.

  1. Weak bones

A deficiency in this vitamin can also affect bone health, it plays a key role in bone formation, in fact a deficiency has been linked to increased risk of fracture and osteoporosis.

  1. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation

Vitamin C is one of the body’s most important water-soluble antioxidants. It helps prevent cellular damage by neutralizing free radicals that can cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, both of which have been linked to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

  1. Poor mood and fatigue

These are two of the earliest signs of a deficiency of this vitamin. Whilst fatigue and irritability may be some of the first symptoms to appear, they typically resolve after just a few days of adequate intake.

A word of warning!

If you can’t get enough Vitamin C through food alone, you can take supplements, however the NHS advises that taking more than 1,000mg can lead to stomach pain and diarrhoea.

Make sure to always read the label to check the dosage or speak to a pharmacist. Please keep in mind that you should not take supplements as a substitute for a varied, balanced diet or a  healthy lifestyle!

A final note ….

Vitamin C deficiency is relatively rare in developed countries but still affects more than 1 in 20 people.

There are many signs and symptoms, most of which are related to impairments in collagen production or not consuming enough antioxidants.

Some of the earliest signs of deficiency include fatigue, irritability, red gums, easy bruising, joint pain and rough, bumpy skin.  However replacing the Vitamin C that is lacking in your diet means that symptoms usually quickly improve within days or week

If you would like some further information or to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or