History of Vitamin C

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History of Vitamin C

Vitamin C's Function

Who Needs It?

Vit C & Disease Prevention

By examining the history of vitamin C, one can fully appreciate the advances made in its research. Surprisingly, vitamin Cıs importance was discovered through many centuries of unfortunate circumstances.

Scurvy (a vitamin C deficiency) had plagued the world for multiple centuries until actions were finally taken in attempt to find an antidote.Scurvy is a disease which results from insufficient intake of vitamin C and leads to the spots on the skin, spongy gums and bleeding from almost all mucous membranes. A person diagnosed with scurvy will often look pale, feel depressed, and partially immobilized.

In the winter of 1556, there was a scurvy epidemic that plagued Europe. Little did the populace know that the lack of fruits and vegetables in those winter months had caused the outbreak. While this was one of the earliest noted scurvy epidemics, not much research was done in effort to cure this disease until many centuries later. Jacques Cartier, an established explorer, curiously noted that his sailors who had digested oranges, limes, and berries did not get scurvy, and those who had the disease recovered.

In 1742, James Lind, a British doctor, was the first person to establish that there was a definite connection between the diet and scurvy. To prove his point, he administered lemon juice to those who had been diagnosed with scurvy. After multiple doses, the patients were healed! James Lindıs phenomenal discovery on how to treat scurvy based upon dietary additions of citrus fruit, is directly linked to the discovery of vitamins. Because of this ground breaking experiment, many sailors adopted a citrus filled diet on their extended voyages.

While this was used often at sea, its applicable daily dietary benefits werenıt fully understood. In the late 1800ıs, infants were dying from scurvy, and no one knew why. In the early 1900ıs, studies showed that the vitamin C found in the babies' milk was being destroyed in the routine pasteurization of that milk. These babies were getting an inadequate dosage of vitamins;therefore, many of them died from extreme cases of scurvy. Breast milk, however, is excellent for a baby, and this milk contains enough vitamin C to protect the baby from harm.

In 1912, studies showed that when scurvy was injected into guinea pigs (one of the few animals who can contract the disease), several doses of vitamin C cured the guinea pigs In this present day,the governmentıs recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, a mere 60mg, will only prevent the public from contracting this horrible disease.