Scurvy: How Can Science Help Prevent Dietary Deficiency Diseases?
An Introduction …..
Scurvy is a disease which is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C. A lack of vitamin C interferes with collagen synthesis which is the formation of the body's tissues. When the body cannot generate collagen the tissue deteriorates. This causes a range of symptoms such as: * Gum disease
* Pains in the muscles
* Pain in the joints
Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes also; green vegetables, such as broccoli or green beans. It also comes in other things for example sweet potatoes and fresh milk. (26 Fruits) (Scurvy: NHS) It is a crucial vitamin indispensable to the body to perform functions such as: * Maintaining healthy bones
* Maintaining healthy teeth
* Maintaining healthy tissue
* Healing wounds
* Absorbing iron
In the 18th century sailors suffered from scurvy on long voyages due to the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables. Figure 2 shows a picture of an orange which is a great source of Vitamin C and helps to prevent scurvy.
How Has Science Been Applied to Solve The Problem?
An example of how scientific experiments have helped solve the problem is when a Scotsman called James Lind, who lived in the 1700s, decided that he would investigate Scurvy and how to cure it. He gathered 12 sailors at sea who were all similar and were suffering from scurvy. He separated them in to 6 pairs of two and gave each pair a different treatment. Table 1 shows the groups and the treatments the received. (Scurvy- The Mystery Disease) Group Number | Treatment |
1 | 2 pints of cider each day. |
2 | A daily gargle of 25 drops of sulphuric acid in water. | 3 | 2 teaspoonful’s of vinegar three times daily. |
4 | Half a pint of seawater each
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