Diseases caused due to the deficiency of vitamin C mainly results from their poor intake through food. Smoking is yet another reason for the deficiency disease to occur. Exposure to smoke can also increase the risk of developing a vitamin C deficiency. The toxins from the body are eliminated with the help of Vitamin C. As such, excessive toxic exposure is a risk factor for vitamin C deficiency.
Vitamin C helps the immune and the detoxification system to function properly. When these systems get overloaded, the risk of deficiency also gets amplified. It helps in the healthy functioning of the components of the immune system like the white blood cells, interferon and the complement proteins. They help the immune system protect the body from infections.
Deficiency of Vitamin C in its most severe form is known as scurvy, and mainly affects older and malnourished adults. Newborn babies who are not breast fed are prone to infantile scurvy. Scurvy used to be common among sailors who were deprived of fresh fruits and vegetables in their long journey. The symptoms of scurvy are fatigue, anemia, swelling and bleeding of gums (gingivitis), loosening of teeth, weaken the teeth enamel, aching of muscles and pain in the joints. Deficiency of vitamin C also leads to skin discoloration.
Deficiency of vitamin C affects the hair and skin. The hair becomes dry and splits; the skin becomes rough and scaly. It weakens the blood vessels, tissue and bone. Vitamin C deficiency increases the risk of heart disease. The lens of our eye contains vitamin C. Cataracts are caused by the depletion of vitamin C in the lens of the eye. Depletion of vitamin C in the diet decreases the rate of metabolism in our body and causes weight gain. The deficiency of vitamin C affects the functioning of immune system and makes the body more prone to infections like common cold. The functions of the respiratory system are highly dependant on the presence of vitamin C in our body. The deficiency of this vitamin causes problems related to our respiratory system.
Vitamin C is mostly found in fruits and vegetables. Oranges, mango, lemon, cauliflower, cabbage, potatoes, green leafy vegetables and tomatoes are some of the food items that contain vitamin C. food if overcooked, can result in the loss of vitamin C. Frozen and canned food can also cuse the depletion of vitamin C. in dietary supplements, vitamin C is usually founf in the form of ascorbic acid. The RDA for vitamin C for an adult is 50 – 60 mg/day. Scurvy can be treated with a dosage of 300 – 1000 mg dosage of vitamin C per day.
Overdose of vitamin C can result in genetic deformities, diarrhea (osmotic diarrhea), nausea and gastrointestinal disturbances. When excess of vitamin C gets broken down into uric acid, it creates increases the risk of developing kidney stones.