Vitamin C deficiency: It can cause fatigue and depression


A lot of people may feel low sometimes, but the NHS says that if it’s affecting your life, there are things you can try that may help and you can also refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service without a referral from a GP. There are several possible causes of general low mood, though there may not always be an obvious cause, and some signs of low mood may even be brought on by a vitamin deficiency.

The Mayo Clinic says that a vitamin C deficiency often makes one feel “fatigued or depressed”.

It adds that some studies have shown that people who have lower than normal vitamin C levels found their mood improved after they received vitamin C.

Moreover, even for those who do not have a deficiency, the site says taking a vitamin C supplement might help mood, and could lower “anxiety levels”.

A review of research published on the BMC Psychiatry site states: “Vitamin C deficiency may be more common than is generally assumed” and there is evidence suggesting that vitamin C deficiency is related to adverse mood and cognitive effects.

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Other research has found that poor diet is common in people with psychiatric disorders.

Therefore it has been suggested that it is possible that vitamin C deficiency might also be more prevalent among those same groups.

The systematic review did not indicate any relationship between vitamin C deficiency and schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

It did, however, note that vitamin C deficiency has been associated with depression and cognitive impairment.


The NHS recommends that adults need 40mg of vitamin C a day. This could be possible simply by eating a healthy, balanced diet.

The health body says scurvy is caused by not having enough vitamin C in your diet for at least three months.

Thankfully the health body says even people who do not eat very healthily all the time are not usually considered at risk of scurvy.

Nonetheless, there are several factors which can put you more at risk.

These include having no fresh fruits or vegetables in your diet for a while, having anorexia, or having a long-term dependency on drugs or alcohol that affects your diet.

The NHS also warns that smokers may be more at risk, because smoking reduces how much vitamin C your body gets from food. Exposure to second-hand smoke may also decrease vitamin C levels.

“Babies, children and older people who find it hard to have a healthy diet may also be more at risk of scurvy,” the NHS adds.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, your body needs more vitamin C at these times.

There are a number of symptoms of scurvy to be mindful of, some of which will show up on your skin and around your mouth.

The NHS says having swollen, bleeding gums can be a sign of vitamin C deficiency, and warns that sometimes teeth can fall out.

Moreover, you should be mindful of changes to your skin. If you develop red or blue spots on the skin, usually on your shins, or have skin that bruises easily, these may be symptoms of scurvy.

The NHS also lists several other signs. It says you should see a GP if you are at risk of scurvy and you feel very tired and weak all the time or you feel irritable and sad all the time. Finally, if you have severe joint or leg pain, go and see your GP for advice.



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