Scurvy: How to Prevent Vitamin C Deficiency?

Scurvy is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. It is a disease once thought to be a thing of the past, is still a potential health risk for those who don’t get enough vitamin C in their diet. It is most commonly associated with sailors of the past who spent extended periods of time at sea and had no access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Symptoms of scurvy include fatigue, joint pain, bruising, bleeding gums, and even death. While the symptoms of scurvy are easy to recognize, the underlying cause is not always obvious. Thankfully, it is now a rare occurrence as our diets are much more diverse and accessible.

Hidden Dangers of Vitamin C Deficiency

Scurvy is caused due to deficiency of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid). Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is essential for normal growth and the maintenance of practically all the body tissues, especially those of the joints, bones, teeth, and gums. It protects one against infections and acts as a harmless antibiotic. Vitamin C promotes healing and serves as protection against all forms of stress and harmful effects of toxic chemicals. It helps prevent and cure the common cold. It also helps in decreasing blood cholesterol. This vitamin is found in citrus fruits, berries, green and leafy vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, sprouted bengal and green grams. Common symptoms of scurvy includes weakness, anaemia, bleeding gums and painful and swollen parts, slow healing of sores and wounds, premature ageing and lowered resistance to all infections.

Avoid Scurvy and Vitamin C Deficiency Naturally

To avoid scurvy, important thing is to add sufficient amount of vitamin C in regular diet.

  • The recommended daily allowance is 50 to 75 mg. for adults and 30 to 50 mg. for children.
  • Smokers and older persons have greater need for vitamin C. It is used therapeutically in huge doses from 100 to 10,000mg. a day. It prevents and cures colds and infections effectively, neutralizes various toxins in the system, speeds healing processes in virtually all cases of ill health, increases sexual vitality and prevents premature ageing.
  • Vitamin C is one of the least toxic vitamins, it is very safe to use in high doses. Your body will take exactly what it needs and excrete any excess naturally.
  • Vitamin C helps fight free radical damage, reduces cancer risk, and strengthens the immune system.
  • Good dietary sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, red peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, asparagus, and avocados. Here are some tips to increase vitamin C intake naturally to avoid scurvy.
  1. Rose Hips: Contains a great deal of vitamin C, ranging from 10 to 100 times greater than any other known food. Therefore, it is used as an infection fighter. Also helps with physical stresses and pollution. Make fresh rose hips into a vitamin-rich syrup or jam. Rose hips make a delicious, mild-flavored tea, perfect on a cold night, sipped by a roaring fire. Powdered rose hips can be sprinkled on cereal or in blender shakes.
  2. Amalaki: It is a rasayana (rejuvenate tonic) and a good source of vitamin C and iron. 1 teaspoon at bedtime in warm water is sufficient.
  3. Amla (Indian Gooseberry): According to Ayurveda, it has massive Vitamin C content, which makes it one of the highest in the vegetable kingdom. It contains Vitamin C equivalent 20 times that of an orange. On tasting the fruit, it is initially sour, but sometimes with a sweet aftertaste, which becomes more apparent if water is drunk afterwards. A regular use of Indian gooseberry is presumed to prolong lifespans, up to 120 years for humans.
  4. Lemon (Citrus Limon): A remedy for scurvy long before vitamin C was identified, lemon (Citrus limon) is a valuable preventative medicine, increasing resistance to infection and helping to maintain good health. Centuries ago, British sailors ate lemons by the boatload to prevent scurvy, a deadly disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, which occurred as a result of long periods of time away at sea without fresh fruit or vegetables. A single lemon packs 39 milligrams of vitamin C, more than half the Daily Value. We don’t have to worry about scurvy anymore, because there are so many sources of vitamin C in our diet. But lemons provide a host of other tangy benefits.
  5. Hibiscus: Hibiscus is high in vitamin C. The large tropical flowers make a bright red tea that is tasty and tart, with a sweet aftertaste. Hibiscus is often formulated with stevia or other sweet herbs to enhance its flavor. It brightens any tea with its beautiful ruby red coloring. Children especially love hibiscus. Try making a thick hibiscus syrup and add it to sparkling water for a delicious punch. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, this beverage is far better than sugar loaded soda.
  6. Potato: An analysis of fresh potatoes showed that they rank as the richest source of vitamin C out of a number of fresh vegetables examined. Researchers concluded that such vitamin C rich foods also offer some protection against coronary heart disease.
  7. Bilberries and Cranberries: The berries can be eaten stewed or fresh. Cranberry juice is ideal as a source of vitamin C. Take 1/2 cup of the unsweetened juice three times a day.
  8. Chickweed (Stellaria Media): Chickweed, as the name suggests, is a favorite food for domestic fowl. It is an extremely common garden weed that can be cooked like spinach and tossed in butter or used as a salad herb.
  9. Fennel: Fennel can be used raw or steamed. It also has a high content of Vitamin C.
  10. Pineapple (Ananas comosus): This tasty fruit is rich in vitamin C and immune boosting minerals.


Q. What is scurvy?
It is a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet. Symptoms include fatigue, bleeding gums, joint pain, and skin discoloration. It can be prevented by eating foods that are rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits.

Q. What is smoker’s scurvy?
Smoker’s scurvy is a condition caused by a vitamin C deficiency that can occur in people who smoke cigarettes. Symptoms of smoker’s scurvy include fatigue, joint pain, and skin discoloration.

Q. What is scurvy caused by?
It is caused by a lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in the diet.

Q. What are 3 symptoms of scurvy?
Common symptoms of scurvy include fatigue, weakness, joint pain, dental problems (such as gum disease, loosening of teeth, and bleeding gums), poor wound healing, skin discoloration, swollen and bleeding gums, and easy bruising. In more severe cases, scurvy can lead to organ failure.

Q. How can I tell if I have scurvy?
The early symptoms include fatigue, joint and muscle pain, swollen gums, and skin discoloration. As the condition progresses, additional symptoms may develop such as bleeding from the gums, loose teeth, reduced appetite, weight loss, and open sores on the skin. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor for a diagnosis.

Q. How is scurvy treated?
Scurvy is treated by increasing the intake of vitamin C. This can be done through diet by eating foods that are high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, leafy greens, bell peppers, and broccoli. Vitamin C supplements can also be taken to increase vitamin C levels.

Q. What is scurvy called today? Do people still get scurvy?
It is still called scurvy today. Yes, people can still get scurvy. It is rare, however, and usually only occurs in people with poor diets who do not get enough vitamin C in their diet.

Q. How much vitamin C for scurvy?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. For the treatment of scurvy, the RDA is much higher and is typically between 500–1,000 mg per day.

Q. How can scurvy be prevented? How to prevent scurvy?

  • Eat foods that are rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, kiwis, strawberries, cantaloupe, broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Take a vitamin C supplement daily.
  • Include other sources of antioxidants in your diet, such as nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, as they can interfere with vitamin C absorption.
  • Eat foods fortified with vitamin C, such as breakfast cereals and orange juice.
  • Limit processed foods, which are often low in vitamin C and other essential nutrients.

Q. What herb cures scurvy?
Scurvy is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C, so the herb that would be used to cure it would be a natural source of Vitamin C, such as rose hips, nettle leaf, or amla (Indian gooseberry).

Q. Do oranges prevent scurvy?
Yes, oranges are a good source of vitamin C, which is necessary to prevent scurvy. Other sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, leafy greens, bell peppers, and strawberries.

Q. What food can prevent scurvy naturally?

  1. Consume a diet rich in Vitamin C: Eating foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges, grapefruit, papaya, bell peppers, kale, broccoli, and tomatoes can help prevent scurvy. 
  2. Consume a diet rich in Vitamin A: Eating foods that are high in vitamin A, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and squash can help prevent scurvy as well. 
  3. Consume Foods High in Iron: Eating foods such as beef, spinach, and legumes that are high in iron can help prevent scurvy. 
  4. Consume Foods High in Zinc: Eating foods such as shellfish, legumes, and nuts that are high in zinc can also help prevent scurvy. 
  5. Drink Amla Juice: Amla juice is made from Indian gooseberry and is a great source of vitamin C. Drinking a glass of amla juice every day can help prevent scurvy. 
  6. Use Turmeric: Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, which can help with scurvy. Try adding a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk and drink it every day. 
  7. Consume Garlic: Garlic is known to be a powerful antioxidant and it can help prevent scurvy. Try adding a few cloves of garlic to your meals every day. 
  8. Use Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is a great source of vitamin C and it can help prevent scurvy. Try adding some lemon juice to your meals every day.

Q. Are there incurable or hereditary kinds of scurvy?
No, there are no incurable or hereditary forms of scurvy. It is a vitamin C deficiency and can be treated with adequate amounts of vitamin C in the diet or through dietary supplements.

Q. Why is there gum bleeding in scurvy?
There is no scientific evidence that gum bleeding is a symptom of scurvy. Gum bleeding may be caused by other factors such as poor oral hygiene, vitamin deficiencies, or diseases such as diabetes.

Q. Is there a scientific name for scurvy?
The scientific name for scurvy is Vitamin C deficiency.

Q. Do bananas stop scurvy?
No, bananas do not stop scurvy. Scurvy is a condition caused by a vitamin C deficiency. Bananas contain some vitamin C, but not enough to prevent scurvy. To prevent scurvy, you need to make sure you are getting enough vitamin C in your diet from sources such as citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods.

Q. Is scurvy still prevalent?
No, scurvy is no longer prevalent in the developed world. It is still found in some parts of the developing world, but is relatively rare due to improved access to citrus fruits and other sources of vitamin C.

Q. Where is scurvy most common in the world?
It is most common in parts of the world where access to fresh fruits and vegetables is limited, such as in developing countries and areas where poverty is common.

Q. What is the dietary management of vitamin C?
The dietary management of vitamin C includes eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, red and green peppers, strawberries, cantaloupe, papaya, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Eating these foods regularly can help ensure adequate vitamin C intake. Taking a daily multivitamin can also help ensure that you are getting enough vitamin C.

Q. How does scurvy affect the body?
Scurvy is a vitamin C deficiency that affects the body in multiple ways. Symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, gum inflammation, bleeding gums, mouth sores, dry skin, and bruises. In advanced stages, the deficiency can lead to anemia, poor wound healing, poor hair growth, and even death.

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