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                                                              Vitamin C and Scurvy

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Back vitamin ester C   

Order Vitamin "C"                   Scurvy (N.Lat. scorbutus) is a deficiency disease that results from lack of vitamin C, which is required for correct collagen synthesis in humans. The scientific name of vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is derived from the Latin name of scurvy, scorbutus. Scurvy leads to the formation of liver spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding from all mucous membranes. The spots are most abundant on the thighs and legs, and a person with the ailment looks pale, feels depressed, and is partially immobilized. You can get vitamin C from cayenne pepper


Scurvy was at one time common among sailors and others who were on ships, whose ships were out to sea longer than perishable fruits and vegetables could be stored and by soldiers who were similarly separated from these foods for extended periods. It was described by Hippocrates (c. 460 BC–c. 380 BC). Its cause and cure has been known in many native cultures since prehistory. Untreated scurvy is always fatal. However, since all that is required for a full recovery is the resumption of normal vitamin C intake, for those who take it regularly, death from scurvy is rare in modern times. British sailors were given limes to combat scurvy on long ocean voyages; hence, they were called "lymies". Modern day scurvy is called coronary artery disease.

Robert Falcon Scott made two expeditions to the Antarctic in the early 20th century, the prevailing medical theory, at the time, was that scurvy was caused by "tainted" canned food. It was not until 1932 that the connection between vitamin C and scurvy was established. Scurvy or sub-clinical scurvy is caused by the lack of Vitamin C. In modern western society, scurvy is rarely present in adults, although infants and elderly people are affected. Vitamin C is destroyed by the process of “pasteurization”, so babies fed with ordinary bottled milk sometimes suffer from scurvy if they are not provided with adequate vitamin supplements. Virtually all commercially available baby formulas contain added vitamin C for this reason, however “heat” and “storage” destroys vitamin C. Human breast milk contains sufficient vitamin C, if the mother has an adequate intake to prevent scurvy on her own.

Scurvy is one of the accompanying diseases of malnutrition (other such micronutrient deficiencies are beriberi or pellagra) and thus is still widespread in areas of the world depending on external food aid.  Scurvy can be prevented by a diet that includes limes, oranges, and lemons, or the juices of these fruits. Other good sources of Vitamin C are fruits such as guava, papaya, tomatoes or strawberries. It can also be found in some vegetables, such as bell peppers, broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, spinach, and even pickles.


The statements enclosed herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information and statements made are for educational purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your family doctor.