9 signs you're not getting enough vitamin C

Alliance / ShutterstockIt’s important to get enough vitamin C.
  • Vitamin C plays a key role in boosting your immune system.
  • Not getting enough can be quite harmful to your health and wellbeing.
  • INSIDER spoke to some experts about what the warning signs are that you’re vitamin C deficient.

Vitamin C plays a key role in boosting your immune system, but this essential vitamin also helps support collagen production, bone, and skin health, making it very important to be sure that you are getting enough in your diet.

Not getting enough vitamin C can actually be pretty harmful to your health if you aren’t careful, so INSIDER spoke to some dietitians and physicians about all those warning signs you’ll want to be on the lookout for.


You can bruise very easily

ShutterstockBruising is usually the first sign of vitamin C deficiency.

“This is usually one of the first signs of a vitamin C deficiency,” said registered dietitian Chelsea Gold, MS, RD. Lack of vitamin C can weaken our blood vessels, causing the skin to easily bruise, she explained.


You can experience dry, rough bumpy skin.

ShutterstockVitamin C increases skin quality.

“Vitamin C deficiency can lead to poor skin health,” Gold told INSIDER. Studies show that having higher intakes of vitamin C increases your skin quality, she added.


You can have spoon-shaped nails.

ShutterstockYour nails can become brittle.

“Lack of vitamin C can leave you with very thin and brittle spoon-shaped nails due to the lack of collagen and protein development,” Gold suggested.


You can become anemic

Jelena Danilovic/ShutterstockLow levels of iron can result in fatigue.

“If you feel fatigued all the time, this could be a sign of anemia secondary due to a lack of vitamin C,” Gold said. Low levels of vitamin C may contribute to iron deficiency anemia, she explained, because it can reduce the absorption of iron from plant-based sources.


Your gums can start to bleed

sirtravelalot/ShutterstockYour gums can get weaker.

“Without adequate vitamin C, your gum tissues can become weakened and inflamed,” Gold said. This causes you to bleed more easily, she told INSIDER.


Your wounds will heal poorly

eurobanks/ShutterstockYour wounds will take longer to heal.

“Although typically not seen until the advanced stages of deficiency, we know that vitamin C deficiencies slow the rate of collagen formation in our bodies,” Gold explained. Without it, wounds can heal very slowly, she added.


You may experience weight gain

iStockLow blood levels are linked to higher body fat.

“Vitamin C plays a key role in energy production, so not having enough can negatively affect your metabolism,” said registered dietitian Christy Brissette, MS, RD. Low blood levels of vitamin C are linked to higher body fat and larger waist circumference measurements, she added, though more research is needed to further explain that link.


You are feeling tired and moody all the time

“Not getting enough vitamin C can impact your energy levels and your mood,” Brissette told INSIDER. Getting plenty of fruit and vegetables can help you feel less fatigued and boost your mood, she added.


You may experience nosebleeds

Saneeyaphotoroom/ShutterstockVitamin C strengthens the nose.

“Vitamin C decreases the frailty of the capillaries in the nose, where 90% of all nosebleeds come from,” said Dr. Luiza Petre, board-certified cardiologist and weight management specialist.


You can get enough vitamin C just by following a balanced diet.

Flickr/Roger H. GounThere is usually no need to take a supplement.

Though you may think you have to take a supplement to get the optimal amount of vitamin C, it actually can be fairly easily achieved simply by eating vitamin C-rich foods.


You’ll want to be cautious of how you supplement vitamin C into your life

Flickr/araza123Don’t take too much vitamin C.

“The best option is to get vitamin C via a personalised multivitamin that contains optimal amounts for you based on your diet, lifestyle, and health issues,” said Arielle Levitan, MD, physician of internal medicine.

Taking too much vitamin C is also not recommended, she told INSIDER, as it can lead to negative effects such as kidney stones, stomach ulcers, and more.

Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

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