Lemonade For This Man, Quick!!!
I remember when I heard the word scurvy for the first time. In my mind, a picture visualizing a dirty, uncared-for individual. That is exactly how a person looks when they get this deficiency disease.This lack of Vitamin C could bring a human down to a living hell. Symptoms displayed as bleeding gums and skin (red spots on the skin), depression, fatigue, coiled hair, dry eyes and mouth, painful joints, anorexia and anemia. They truly looked like a disgusting mess. As the disease progressed, they would experience kidney and lungs problems, extreme exhaustion, diarrhea and finally death.
In the 1400’s, it was common for ships to lose over two-thirds of the crew from death due to scurvy. Then, in 1746, a Royal British Navy physician named Dr. James Lind, did a test on some British crews. Decades before, it was thought that lemons cured scurvy. Dr. Lind tested the theory by having what’s know as a control group. He gave a small sampling of the crew different types of food, but withheld oranges and lemons in some sailors. Those not getting the fruit got the dreaded scurvy. Later, he treated the diseased with citrus, and the scurvy disappeared.
You Put The Lime In The Coconut
Almost 50 years after Dr. Lind’s research, the British Navy finally issued regulations ordering crews to bring enough limes and other citrus fruits for the entire voyage. Other countries would make fun of the British sailors calling them “Limeys”.
Sticks and Stones…:-)
In the early 1900’s, biochemists (they look at chemistry of living things) found that guinea pigs and monkeys also were made to experimentally (sans fruit in the diet) exhibit scurvy.
Imagine millions of years ago, hominids (before homo sapiens) had the ability to change sugar (glucose) to vitamin C. It is theorized that vitamin C was so abundant on the earth that it wasn’t worth the genetic energy to continue this biochemical process. So we lost the chemical machinery that allowed our bodies to flip glucose into vitamin C. Thereafter, vitamin C became an essential nutrient, that we need from food and/or supplements.
Researchers studied other animals, that unlike us, have retained the ability to change glucose to vitamin C. It requires a lot of energy and takes a lot of glucose to make a small amount of ascorbic acid. For humans, the risk of death was of greater consequences with starvation, then the longer ultimate demise with scurvy. That genetic change, bought us time, to find some lime or anything else containing vitamin C for our survival.
Most Produce Has Some Amount Of Vitamin C
Now, we come to the part of this program, where I am pleased to introduce you to Dr. Linus Pauling. Dr. Pauling is the only person ever to be awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes (chemistry and peace). He was a brilliant man.
Mega Dosing Maniac With Vitamin C
Dr. Pauling was convinced that vitamin C was the cure for the common cold. He wrote a bestseller in 1970 called, Vitamin C and the Common Cold. Dr. Pauling was taking vitamin C doses of 3 grams (3,000 mg) a day to prevent colds. The current RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) is 90 mg per day in an adult male and 75 mg per day in an adult female. If you smoke, you require an additional 35 mg per day. Decades later, science has found that vitamin C doesn’t prevent colds. What vitamin C does, is lessen the duration of the cold and sometimes the intensity. So even though you may be a genius that won two Nobel Prizes, I always remember, “to err is human” (Mr. Alexander Pope).
Best sources of vitamin C, in the order of more to less are the red pepper, orange, grapefruit, kiwi, green pepper and broccoli.
Vitamin C is involved in the breakdown of protein, as a natural cement between cells called collagen and as an antioxidant to protect from cancer. It increases the absorption of iron, helps regenerate other antioxidants like vitamin E, delays and prevents the development of heart/blood vessel disease and much more. You can see why the sailors with long time vitamin C deficiencies just start falling apart.
Remember that excess vitamin C will cause severe diarrhea. When too much ascorbic acid is going through you, like magnesium, it pulls water into the intestinal tract, ending up with loose stools.
That’s A Terrible Fidel Castro Impersonation! Are You Kidding Me With The Smoking? Now You Need To Take More Vitamin C!