Cases of scurvy and rickets have been on the rise in parts of the UK where some parents rely on takeaways and microwave meals to feed the family.It was reported this week in the press that dieticians in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales, claimed they were seeing an increase in both diseases, which were thought to be conditions of the past.
It is also the most serious disease affecting teenagers today.
What is scurvy?
Scurvy, also called vitamin C deficiency.
It is caused by a dietary lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), a nutrient found in many fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly the citrus fruits. Ascorbic acid is important in the formation of collagen (an element of normal tissues), and any deficiency interferes with normal tissue synthesis.
A new report suggests that since the start of the credit crisis, consumption of fruit and vegetables has fallen in the UK at a faster rate than in western Europe as a whole, eastern Europe and the US.
On average, each person in Britain is eating 8lb 13oz (4kg) less fruit and vegetables a year than in 2007, a drop of 3 per cent.
Dr Mark Temple, of the British Medical Association’s public health committee, said: “Food standards in the UK are worse now than they were during the rationing during the war.
Not only do citrus fruits contain Vitamin C infact the food containing the highest amount are red and green hot chili peppers ( 108% of daily requirement in a single chili pepper) aswell as in parsley(22% of daily requirement in 10 sprigs) thyme. Other foods include kale, garden cress, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kiwis,and strawberries.
Vitamin C, is a water-soluble nutrient that is easily excreted from the body when not needed. It’s so critical to living creatures that almost all mammals can use their own cells to make it. Humans, gorillas, chimps, bats, guinea pigs and birds are some of the few animals that cannot make vitamin C inside of their own bodies. It has an important protective role of far beyond our skin and gums. Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, joint diseases and cataracts are all associated with vitamin C deficiency and can be partly prevented by optimal intake of Vitamin C.
Just think of the image of a pirate with a patch over one eye, a wooden leg, a hook instead of an arm,loss of teeth and marked skin. An attempt to create an image of a rugged, tough,brave, seafaring sailor, but probably an image of someone spending months at sea on a poor diet particularly low on calcium and vitamin C and a cartoon character too weak to fight in any battle!
Scurvy had long been a principal killer of sailors during the long sea voyages.According to Jonathan Lamb, “In 1499, Vasco da Gama lost 116 of his crew of 170; In 1520, Magellan lost 208 out of 230;…all mainly to scurvy.”
In 1753, James Lind, a surgeon’s mate in the Royal Navy published his classic work “A Treatise of the Scurvy”.The Treatise begins, “I took twelve patients in the scurvy on board the Salisbury at sea. Their cases were as similar as I could have them.” Lind went on the describe a classic therapeutic experiment on sailors with scurvy in which various proposed remedies were tested as antiscorbutics. His experiment provided clear evidence of the curative value of oranges and lemons and was also the first example of a controlled clinical nutrition study using human subjects.
British sailors in the Royal Navy were known in the 1850s as “limeys” a term which is thought to have originated in the 1850s as “lime-juicer”, and was later shortened to “limey”.It was originally used as a derogatory word because of the Royal Navy’s practice since the beginning of the 19th century of adding lemon juice or lime juice to the sailors’ daily ration of watered-down rum (known as grog), in order to prevent scurvy.
WARNING SIGNS OF SCURVY
Scurvy is characterised by swollen and bleeding gums with loosened teeth, soreness and stiffness of the joints and lower extremities, bleeding under the skin and in deep tissues, slow wound healing, and anemia. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult your GP immediately — you may be suffering from scurvy.
The early signs are:-
Haemorrhages under the nails
With the worrying report of the increase of food deficiencies,the shocking research that reveals ALMOST half of Britain’s young adults(particularly between 18 -24 year olds) are too poor to eat and Food standards are described as worse than rationing during the war the health of the nation is in serious decline and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. You only have to look on West Ealing High Street to see the abundance of fresh produce that is available but somehow not getting to the people that need it and often going to waste. Any ideas…….to create an innovative fair distribution!
Posted by Dr Bayer