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Author Topic: The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy  (Read 81642 times)

Offline Bored chemist

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
« Reply #25 on: 09/09/2007 13:57:54 »
Your quote says
"The two men then found that the condition was not produced by semistarvation, and that it was prevented by giving two traditional antiscorbutics, lemon juice and fresh cabbage"
then you say the curative effect is due to the gabbage being their natural diet. Earlier you had pointed out that grass was their natrual diet. Last time I checked cabbage was not a grass.
Add to this the fact that you say that grain is poisonous whereas, in reallity it is part of the grass that is the guinnea pig's natural diet, and I think you are short of credibility.
I think that a lion living on broccoli and lemons might have any number of nutritional problems but I note that you have offered no evidence whatsoever that these problems would include scurvy- you have simply stated it and expect us to have faith in your opinion.
 

Offline VitaminC

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« Reply #26 on: 14/09/2007 05:04:52 »
I'd like to point out, if I can, that Guinea Pigs (in a laboratory, or a domesticated form) have severe mutations in the enzyme that synthesizes vitamin C, and are not capable of doing so at a genetic level. It doesn't really matter what "remedies" this condition, the fact is that they cannot make vitamin C unless someone provides them the gene to do so.

The 'wild' guinea pigs of South America may be a different story. Until someone completes genetic a study on them, we will never know.

As for prevention of scurvy without fresh fruits and vegetables? Sure, it's possible. It's called raw meat. Plenty of vitamin C in that.
 

Offline VitaminC

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« Reply #27 on: 16/09/2007 05:25:20 »
Quote from: GBSB
In this post I pointed out on two facts;

Not true, you pointed out two suppositions.

Quote

One fact is that treating scurvy on the land was always successful and that on the ship scurvy was nearly impossible to treat.

Plants have vitamin C. Eating any non-cooked plant will give you some vitamin C - they synthesize it constantly.

Actually the data (without your interpretation) you presented suggests to me that the second bout of scurvy was treated by the citrus, but the sailors already had depressed levels of ascorbic acid in their bodies. If they depleted their tissue stores of vitamin C the citrus infusion could only help so much. What likely occurred is that they raised their ascorbic acid levels above deficiency, but not high enough to delay the reappearance of scurvy for too long. 10 weeks is more than enough time to deplete your vitamin C tissues stores if you don't have very high levels to begin with.

Quote
Second fact is that only crew was vulnerable to scurvy and that officer’s wasn’t.

This is not uncommon. Officers likely had better diets before and during the voyage. Did they eat any potatoes? Cabbage? Rare/fresh meat? Much more vitamin C in those than what the crew got - salted meat and breads. Officers still got scurvy, just not as often.

I don't know what you are suggesting as a "biomechanic" factor that might cause scurvy. People who don't move at all still get scurvy. It's biochemistry, not biomechanics.

 

Offline iko

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« Reply #28 on: 17/09/2007 15:21:04 »
Hi VitaminC,

to revive our discussion here
I have a question for you all:
how do scorbutic patients die
if they are not cured on time?

ikoD
 

Offline Bored chemist

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
« Reply #29 on: 17/09/2007 19:46:52 »
The simple answer is horribly.
 

Offline iko

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« Reply #30 on: 17/09/2007 22:06:15 »
The simple answer is horribly.

Yes B.C.,

horribly enough, I agree with you.
Interestingly, bleeding is not reported as a major problem, in spite of decreased platelet activity, anemia and jammed collagen synthesis.
Untreated patients had been reported succumbing from heart failure and/or infections, mainly pneumonia.
In the last few centuries.
So if you find a starving or malnourished human being: alcoholic, anorectic, starvation striker or so, and heart failure seems to be a major problem, never forget ascorbic acid and thiamine.
Vitamin C and vitamin B1 are the first to go.
No efficient storage available in humans.
Mitochondria stop producing enough energy from sugar(vit.B1 deficiency), it's like having low batteries for our body: the game is almost over.
No laboratory test available on an emergency routine.
A quick injection of thiamine* and little ascorbic acid by mouth. Easy and cheap.
Only after parenteral thiamine you can feed glucose safely, without taking the risk of lactic acid overproduction and the so called 'refeeding syndrome'.
This is biochemistry for kids.

ikod  [^]

*) Thiamine 100mg i.m.: there is a limited intestinal absorption of approx. 2.5mg/day, so the oral route is unusable in acute deficiency cases. Heart response is reported to be a matter of hours.
« Last Edit: 19/09/2007 22:02:04 by iko »
 

Offline VitaminC

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
« Reply #31 on: 20/09/2007 06:41:33 »
Mitochondria stop producing enough energy from sugar(vit.B1 deficiency), it's like having

Don't forget the lack of carnitine production in Vitamin C deficiency. Fatty acids aren't burned for fuel either!

A quick injection of thiamine* and little ascorbic acid by mouth. Easy and cheap.

You could do an injection of ascorbic acid too. Bypass any problems with uptake in the gut. In this case you could do up to gram doses of vitamin C IV or IP. However, this would not likely be necessary - there haven't been that many cases of poor vitamin C uptake by oral administration.

 

Offline iko

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« Reply #32 on: 20/09/2007 12:27:59 »
Hi VitaminC,

thanks for your further contribution.
I am afraid that this intensive cofactor administration protocol is not in any guideline of sort, and a bit neglected in the medical practice.
Years ago a so called 'coma cocktail' was proposed for patiens found unconscious: one of the 4 drugs in it was thiamine.  Later on this practice has been criticized and I suppose abandoned by most ICU operators.
Undiagnosed beri-beri may be a lethal reality still.
Though it probably is a rare condition, more efforts should be made to spot it and treat it (easily).

ikod
« Last Edit: 14/10/2007 16:13:33 by iko »
 

Offline iko

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
« Reply #33 on: 22/09/2007 15:56:39 »

Hi VitaminC,

to revive our discussion here
I have a question for you all:
are there simple signs of a
subclinical scurvy, available
in everyday clinical practice?

ikoD  [^]
« Last Edit: 22/09/2007 16:00:00 by iko »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
« Reply #34 on: 22/09/2007 17:30:19 »
OK this isn't a proper, double-blind trial; but I get mouth ulcers a lot less often now that I regularly take vitamins. (My diet isn't very rich in vitamin C because I simply don't like the things that are good sources of it).
Incidentally, what's the definition of sub-clinical?
 

Offline iko

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« Reply #35 on: 22/09/2007 18:42:58 »
OK this isn't a proper, double-blind trial; but I get mouth ulcers a lot less often now that I regularly take vitamins. (My diet isn't very rich in vitamin C because I simply don't like the things that are good sources of it).
Incidentally, what's the definition of sub-clinical?

Group B vitamins, Zinc or iron deficiency, coeliac disease, have been suggested as diet-related causes of mouth ulcers.  So there could be a correlation in your case.

A cofactor/vitamin deficiency can be defined 'subclinical' when laboratory examinations show low values, the diet history itself suggests lack of a certain vitamin (anorexia, starvation, faddist diets, unsupplemented parenteral nutrition, etc.), but the patient feels fine and well.  Actually, it would be better to say that the patient still does not shows the classic symptoms of a vitamin deficiency (scurvy in this case).

What could we expect in a child who had been eating for several weeks only pasta/chips and no fruit and veggies?

ikod   ::)
« Last Edit: 22/09/2007 20:28:58 by iko »
 

Offline iko

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
« Reply #36 on: 22/09/2007 20:38:28 »
The ascorbate and carnitine connection still needs further confirmation studies:

Is sudden death with vitamin C deficiency caused by lack of carnitine?

Okamoto M, Ueno Y.
Department of Legal Medicine, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe 650-0017, Japan. myok@med.kobe-u.ac.jp

We investigated the effect of carnitine supplementation during vitamin C (ASC) deficiency by measuring the levels of ASC and carnitine in plasma and cardiac muscle cells (CMC), and histological analysis with electron microscopy. The levels of carnitine were significantly decreased in ASC-deficient rats in plasma and the heart than those in the control. In carnitine supplemented ASC-deficient rats, a significant increase of carnitine levels were observed in both plasma and heart. The number of lipid droplets significantly increased in the ASC-deficient rats compared to the control rats, but did not increase in carnitine supplemented rats. These results indicate that ASC deficiency causes a generalized mitochondrial abnormality and accumulation of lipid droplets in CMC as observed in carnitine deficiency, and supplementation of carnitine prevented these changes even in the presence of ASC deficiency.

J Clin Forensic Med. 2006 Jan;13(1):26-9.



It sounds a bit odd to me: were not rats able to make their own ascorbic acid?

ikod   ???
« Last Edit: 22/09/2007 20:41:34 by iko »
 

Offline rosy

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« Reply #37 on: 23/09/2007 17:45:09 »
Strains of lab rats/mice/etc have been bred with all sorts of deficiencies, to mirror conditions affecting humans. If asked to guess I'd speculate that was why the rats in this instance weren't making their own ascorbate.
 

Offline iko

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« Reply #38 on: 23/09/2007 17:52:01 »
Strains of lab rats/mice/etc have been bred with all sorts of deficiencies, to mirror conditions affecting humans. If asked to guess I'd speculate that was why the rats in this instance weren't making their own ascorbate.

Yes rosy,

they probably had 'knocked out' the enzyme gene
involved in ascorbate synthesis. This information
probably is in the full-text version which I cannot
reach.
Thanks for your reply...somebody is alive around here!

ikod   :D
 

Offline VitaminC

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
« Reply #39 on: 24/09/2007 17:14:13 »
they probably had 'knocked out' the enzyme gene
involved in ascorbate synthesis. This information
probably is in the full-text version which I cannot
reach.

Actually, if you look in the keywords in the abstract you can see the words "ODS rat" which refers to Osteogenic Disorder Shinogi (sp?) a rat strain that has no inherent acorbate synthesis - mutation in the L-gulonolactone oxidase gene. They are often used in ascorbate depletion studies, but they do have a couple other things wrong with them - they are an inbred model afterall.

are there simple signs of a
subclinical scurvy, available
in everyday clinical practice?

No. (simple answer)

The first reported symptom of vitamin C deficiency (before the onset of full scurvy symptoms) is fatigue. As you well know, that could be a result of anything. In the case of scurvy (or vitamin C deficiency) this is likely due to carnitine levels falling. However, since vitamin C levels (or carnitine as far as I know) are not in standard laboratory tests, I'm not sure how you would diagnose this in a patient except by looking at their diet.

What could we expect in a child who had been eating for several weeks only pasta/chips and no fruit and veggies?


See for yourself:
newbielink:http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/108/3/e55?ck=nck [nonactive]

Besides exhaustion and weakness, there is usually some bleeding of the gums and joint pain, but also skin abnormalities (small petechial hemmorhages) and what they have termed "corkscrew" hair growth. Even with those symptoms, many patients don't realize something is wrong with their diet...
 

Offline iko

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« Reply #40 on: 24/09/2007 17:57:24 »
Thanks for the article
and discussion VitaminC,


are there simple signs of a
subclinical scurvy, available
in everyday clinical practice?

No. (simple answer)



Why not?  [?]

I think that subclinical scurvy should have specific signs, good enough for a careful observer.
I personally saw in one case only, a 8yr old child, several years ago, a scarlet discolouration of the gengival border corresponding to the superior canine and front teeth.
Just that, no bleeding, no perifollicular petechiae, very mild anemia and fatigue.
Diet history suggested a vitamin C deficiency, plasma AA levels were low: 0.2mg/dL (normal 0.4-1.6mg/dL).  We were lucky to have a routine test running for research on thalassemic patients, so we could play with it.
Now it is much more difficult to obtain such results from a normal lab.
Unfortunately I didn't take a picture...it seemed so obvious!
In those days I was able to find somewhere that this particular sign is sort of typical in subclinical scurvy.  Now this information seems to have vanished.
Maybe someone around here will find it for me.
If confirmed, it could be the 'junk food' sign of the new millennium!

ikod
« Last Edit: 25/09/2007 09:00:12 by iko »
 

Offline iko

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« Reply #41 on: 24/09/2007 22:08:24 »
« Last Edit: 24/09/2007 22:13:00 by iko »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #42 on: 25/09/2007 20:50:18 »
Interesting iea, say we teach all our doctors to look out for this and (at least here in the UK) that can all prescribe free vitamin C to anyone showing this reddening of the gums.
That means that the only observable effect of the disease will be this red colour. Does that mean that the red colour is a clinical sign of vitamin C deficiency and, if so, does it stop being sub- clinical.
My point is that if you can see a sign or symptom then I don't think you have a sub-clinical condition any more. Once you can spot it I think it's clinical. I accept that analysis of the blood might reveal relatively low ascorbate levels well before there were observable symptoms.
Hardlt an important point, just a matter of definition.

Oh, and incidentally,
"What could we expect in a child who had been eating for several weeks only pasta/chips and no fruit and veggies?"
I'd expect them to have overweight parents, but I don't think that's a symptom. :-)
 

Offline iko

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« Reply #43 on: 25/09/2007 21:18:25 »

That means that the only observable effect of the disease will be this red colour. Does that mean that the red colour is a clinical sign of vitamin C deficiency and, if so, does it stop being sub- clinical.
My point is that if you can see a sign or symptom then I don't think you have a sub-clinical condition any more. Once you can spot it I think it's clinical. I accept that analysis of the blood might reveal relatively low ascorbate levels well before there were observable symptoms.
Hardlt an important point, just a matter of definition.


You are right B.C.
(you don't sound so much bored!)

Subclinical scurvy should be low AAlevels and no signs or symptoms.
Assuming that red gums in a particular area could come much before
and last for long, if the diet is just poor of vitamin C...
Well...there is so much to be studied and confirmed still!
But you are right: it's not subclinical if you see a sign...clinically.  [:o)]
Take care

ikod
« Last Edit: 25/09/2007 21:20:30 by iko »
 

Offline VitaminC

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
« Reply #44 on: 27/09/2007 04:42:49 »
Subclinical scurvy should be low AA levels and no signs or symptoms.
Assuming that red gums in a particular area could come much before
and last for long, if the diet is just poor of vitamin C...
Well...there is so much to be studied and confirmed still!

I was simply saying that ascorbic acid deficiency is not routinely tested for (how many physicians actually check for plasma ascorbate status?) and that the symptoms of its deficiency are too non-specific not to be other problems. Even gum problems can occur in those that have 'sufficient' vitamin C in the diet - there is nothing specific to vitamin C.... except actual blood tests.
 

Offline iko

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
« Reply #45 on: 27/09/2007 18:53:35 »
Hi VitaminC,

we should have AAplasma levels in our laboratory routine.
Actually this test is based on a cheap and simple chemical reaction estabilished in 1941.
Its use has been sort of abandoned, due to lack of scorbutic patients...and interest.
In my personal opinion, the area between florid scurvy and mild deficiency in concurrent diseases still needs further investigation.
BTW did you know that Ascorbic acid in cerebral spinal fluid is 3-4 times more concentrated than in peripheral blood (plasma)?
This cofactor should really do something important in our brain, to be 'pumped' so efficiently across the blood brain barrier!  ;)

ikod
« Last Edit: 01/10/2007 07:28:16 by iko »
 

Offline iko

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
« Reply #46 on: 30/09/2007 10:35:50 »
I found this article and hypothesis
about human brain evolution quite
interesting, a bit too much ascorbate-
-centered you'll probably think...

This thread deserves such a link:




" The discoveries presented in this publication open the opportunity to greatly improve human health in this generation and future generations of mankind"

...talking about modesty! :D



ikod   [^]
« Last Edit: 30/09/2007 15:53:46 by iko »
 

Offline GBSB

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
« Reply #47 on: 01/10/2007 02:28:42 »
By any discussion about diagnosis and treatment of the scurvy it need to bear in mind that, “The main criteria for diagnosing scurvy are:

• A history of dietary inadequacy of vitamin C.

• Clinical manifestations characteristic of a scorbutic state (Tables 3 and 4).

• Biochemical indices, i.e. low levels of vitamin C in the blood (serum, white blood cells and whole blood) and a low urinary excretion rate.

The clinical picture of scurvy in children is quite different from that seen in adults” http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/1999/WHO_NHD_99.11.pdf

The clinical picture of scurvy in guinea pigs is quite different from that seen in humans.

For example if someone is affected by any negative health condition it is enough to detect low level of vitamin C and to be diagnosed with scurvy it shows how ridiculous is wisdom about vitamin C and illnesses because any known negative health condition can be named as scurvy.

Another example “Babies of mothers who took extremely high doses of vitamin C during pregnancy can develop infantile scurvy.” http://www.becomenatural.com/blog/2006/12/scurvy-former-terror-of-the-seas/

Again in this case the scurvy is diagnosed by detection of low level of vitamin C in the body.

In reality the intake of extremely high dose of vitamin C is damaging mother’s health and negative health condition by baby is caused and in same time is reflection of negative health condition by mother that is caused by intace of high dose of vitamin C.

Question is it any dose of vitamin C necessary or is just snake oil that doesn’t have any beneficiary effect but in most case damaging peoples health.

It needs to bear in mind that vitamin C is just one millions other molecules that human’s body contain.


I start this topic with intention to explain that events that lead to establish the role between vitamin C and scurvy is “The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the blasphemy” are littered with quackery and need to be re-examined.

If scurvy didn’t have disappeared from sea thanks to lime juice than plenty of present wisdom about causes and treatment of illnesses will be re-examined.

On this point the discussion about current wisdom about diagnosis and treatment doesn’t make productive discussion but flooding the tread.


Back to the subject (The scurvy, The vitamin C and the blasphemy)

In 1867 it was made mandatory for all ships in both the Royal Navy and British Merchant Navy to include lime juice in the sailors' daily rations to prevent scurvy.

In everyone’s mind is that is what saves sailors from the scurvy. But on the other side there isn’t reported any outbreak of the scurvy.
Only the British sailors where obligate to drink lime juice but in the other navy sailors wasn’t.

If drinking the lime juice has protected the British sailors from the scurvy, than question is why sailors from other navies didn’t experience any outbreak of the scurvy?

It means that drinking the lime juice to ward scurvy was meaningless, because scurvy already disappeared long time ago from the sailor’s life.
Claim that drinking the lime juice will prevent scurvy sounds unfounded.

Anyway it will be constructive if anyone can point on the evidence that show any outbreak of the scurvy on the sea after year 1850.
 

   
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #48 on: 01/10/2007 20:55:12 »
"It needs to bear in mind that vitamin C is just one millions other molecules that human’s body contain. "
Yes, it happens to be the molecule that cures scurvy. Also, it's the molecule known to be responsible for the production of hydroxyproline which is needed to make connective tissue; this is lacking in scurvy.

"If scurvy didn't have disappeared from sea thanks to lime juice than plenty of present wisdom about causes and treatment of illnesses will be re-examined. "
True but irrelevant. Scurvy did disappear when better food,not least citrus juices, were introduced.
It took a little longer to realise that the stuff had to be kept properly.


"If drinking the lime juice has protected the British sailors from the scurvy, than question is why sailors from other navies didn't experience any outbreak of the scurvy?"
They did get scurvy, and if they hadn't we might not have one some of our more famous naval battles.


"Only the British sailors where obligate to drink lime juice but in the other navy sailors wasn't."

Bastards that we were, we wanted to keep winning so we didn't give away the secret.

"Claim that drinking the lime juice will prevent scurvy sounds unfounded."
I don't agree; it seems perfectly well founded to me both empirically (it worked) and on the basis of the well documented biochemistry.

"Anyway it will be constructive if anyone can point on the evidence that show any outbreak of the scurvy on the sea after year 1850.  "
True, because it will destroy your idea that it was some physical effect of being at sea. The sea hasn't changed since 1850.




 

Offline iko

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
« Reply #49 on: 01/10/2007 22:05:38 »
Hi VitaminC,

we should have AAplasma levels in our laboratory routine.
Actually this test is based on a cheap and simple chemical reaction estabilished in 1941.
Its use has been sort of abandoned, due to lack of scorbutic patients...and interest.
In my personal opinion, the area between florid scurvy and mild deficiency in concurrent diseases still needs further investigation.
BTW did you know that Ascorbic acid in cerebral spinal fluid is 3-4 times more concentrated than in peripheral blood (plasma)?
This cofactor should really do something important in our brain, to be 'pumped' so efficiently across the blood brain barrier!  ;)

ikod

Now let's be serious for a while again...
Does anybody know what is concentrated ascorbic acid doing in our brains?
Even more concentrated in preterm babies and newborns?
It is an old finding, still a mystery to me!

ikod   ???
 

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The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy
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