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Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin C and K Deficiency

By Laura Niedziocha

Adequate intake of vitamins and minerals are part of a healthy diet. Deficiencies in certain vitamins can result in negative health consequences. Vitamin K and vitamin C are no different. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables should provide your recommended intakes for both vitamin K and C. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a deficiency, can also keep you in good health.

Vitamin C

The main role of vitamin C is that of an antioxidant. It works to neutralize and prevent oxidation of necessary cells. Oxidation of a cell can make it impossible for the cell to do its job. Vitamin C protects cells by becoming oxidized itself. It works in the intestines to stop oxidation of iron and in the bloodstream to protect vitamin E. It also assists in the formation and protection of collagen, a necessary part of the skin. Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables such as peppers, oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, broccoli and brussel sprouts.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K helps many of the body's functioning proteins. Proteins that control bone building, blood clotting and cell growth all depend on vitamin K. The best sources of vitamin K include leafy green vegetables, which can provide up to three times the recommended daily allowance in just one serving. Other vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are good sources as well.

Vitamin C Deficiency

The most well-known disease associated with a deficiency of vitamin C is scurvy. This disease is attributed to the breakdown of collagen structures when vitamin C is not available to maintain them. It is characterized by a decreased appetite, cessation of growth, skin tenderness, weakness, bloody gums, loose teeth, swelling ankles and wrists, and red, blotchy skin. Another result of too little vitamin C is anemia. Without protection inside the small intestine, iron can become oxidized and then not absorbed, resulting in low blood iron.

Vitamin K Deficiency

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means you store vitamin K in the tissues inside of your body. For most fat-soluble vitamins, deficiencies are not likely to occur. However, low intakes of vitamin K can be dangerous for your bones and blood. Low vitamin K levels are linked to increased bone fractures and the decreased ability of the blood to clot. Signs and symptoms can include decreased bone mineral density and thinning blood.

Recommended Intake

The recommended intakes for vitamin C and vitamin K vary. Adults, male or female, should consume 60 mg per day of vitamin C. Smokers may need to increase their vitamin C consumption to 125 mg for men and 110 mg for women. This is due to smoke's effect on cell oxidation. Vitamin K intake is 120 mcg for an adult male and 90 mcg for an adult female.

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