Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency and Toxicity

Most of us learned in school that scurvy was the classic signs of vitamin C deficiency and these had been diseases sailors used to suffer when sailing on long voyages. There are more common signs of this lack of vitamin C in today's population. These are the symptoms of the deficiency: bruising easy, anemia, dry skin, gums bleed, poor tooth enamel, more infections, nose bleeds, gums inflamed, and joints swell. When elderly adults are malnourished they can get scurvy.

People don't usually have a toxic effect from vitamin C; it is a water-soluble vitamin and is washed away by water. The human body doesn't store it. But taking more than 200 milligrams a day can make some people's stomach sick and it may cause diarrhea in others. Vitamin C consumed in large amounts is thought to be bad for people with family members that have had kidney or gallbladder stones.

In another vein concerning its toxic effects, researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health in 2006 found that enough vitamin C could be given through IV to be toxic to tumors. The Bio-Communications Research Institute in Wichita, KS had already been working with pharmacokinetics concerning large amounts of the vitamin. In 2001 they published their conclusions in the British journal of Cancer. This benefit of vitamin C could be a boon to humanity and increase the number of people that survive the dreaded disease in the form of tumors. Maybe vitamin C will someday beat out the old big C, cancer.


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