Scurvy: vitamin C deficiency disease symptoms and treatment

Lack of vitamin C causes scurvy. Scurvy causes bleeding gums and tooth decay. It is the most common disease due to vitamin C deficiency.

Posted by Rukhma Khalid on February 11 , 2023

Vitamin c deficiency is mostly caused by a reduction in dietary intake. It is particularly of citrus fruits and other fruits and vegetables. So, in our body, there are many functions in which vitamin C critically plays an important role.


Scurvy means vitamin c deficiency disease. If there is low vitamin c in the body then this scurvy will occur. It generally occurs in severely malnourished individuals. so most of the patients or people who get scurvy or vitamin C deficiency are:

  • Institutionalized patients
  • Chronic alcohol abusers
  • Individuals with a chronic illness

What are common symptoms of scurvy?

Vitamin C deficiency symptoms can begin in a person who has decreased vitamin C intake for three months. Symptoms usually occur when vitamin C levels go below a certain level. That’s levels about less than 0.2 milligrams per deciliter or less than 11 micromoles per liter.

  • Gingivitis bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Tooth decay
  • Issues with hematological conditions and connective tissue
  • Decreased wound healing wound
  • Joint and leg pain
  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Skin bruises appear easily
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Anorexia
  • Hypotension

If scurvy and vitamin C deficiency lasts and is prolonged it can actually lead to sudden death.

Why vitamin C is important for the body?

Vitamin C plays an important role in tissue oxidation. This tissue needs oxygen. Then the skin will be in very good condition because of the good blood supply, good oxygen, and good purifying blood in the body. So vitamin c that is ascorbic acid plays an important role for maintains the health of the skin.

Also another thing it plays an important role in collagen formation. Collagen is basically a supporting structure that is a matrix. It’s beneath the skin and it is a covering and protective supporting structure for the blood vessels and bone cartilage.


What is the diagnostic test for vitamin C deficiency?

It is diagnosed via checking a plasma and leukocyte vitamin C level.

What is the best treatment for scurvy?

Treatment just requires vitamin C supplementation to replenish the patient's vitamin C.

Dose of vitamin c for children:

For children use 100 milligrams of vitamin C three times a day for one week and then go to 100 milligrams once a day for several weeks until symptoms and other issues have resolved.

Dose of vitamin c for adults:

Adults use 300 to 1000 milligrams of vitamin C daily for one month and the resolution of symptoms can be quite quick. Some of the constitutional symptoms can actually resolve within 24 hours.

What is the best dietary option for vitamin C?

Besides supplementing with vitamin C there is a dietary option to get vitamin C from food sources. It’s an essential vitamin that's found in a variety of fruits and vegetables these include fruits including citrus fruits, tomatoes, and strawberries. Moreover, a number of vegetables like potatoes, Brussels, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and spinach.