Rare Vitamin C Deficiency Disease: Researchers Find Traces Of Scurvy In Canada

Though it is termed as a rare disease now, recently a study has found traces of Scurvy in Canada. It is caused due to deficiency of Vitamin C.

Somdatta Saha (with inputs from ANI)  |  Updated: January 20, 2020 16:06 IST

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Rare Vitamin C Deficiency Disease: Researchers Find Traces Of Scurvy In Canada

Vitamin C, also referred as 'ascorbic acid', is an important nutrient required for good skin, hair, as well as a healthy immunity. Certain fruits and vegetables can help us fulfill our daily dose of Vitamin C. This water-soluble vitamin, is important for fighting several diseases, including common cold and flu. Scurvy is another disease that could be kept at bay if your diet is replete with vitamin C. Scurvy is a rare disease now, but at one point, it was a real threat and common among sailors who spent long periods of time at sea. When the fresh produce ran out, the sailors suffered from Vitamin C deficiency, which led to Scurvy. Scurvy can result in bruising, weakness, anemia, gum disease, haemorrhage, tooth loss, and even death if undiagnosed and untreated.



Though it is termed as a rare disease now, recently a study has found traces of Scurvy in Canada. The study, conducted by McMaster University researchers, was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.



The researchers surveyed data of patients of Hamilton's two hospital systems over nine years and found 52 of them with low Vitamin C levels. This included 13 patients who could be diagnosed as having scurvy and an additional 39 who tested positive for scurvy but did not have documented symptoms.



As per an ANI report, among those with scurvy, some were related to alcohol use disorder or to bariatric surgery but the majority were related to other causes of malnutrition such as persistent vomiting, purposeful dietary restrictions, mental illness, social isolation and dependence on others for food.



According to John Neary, associate professor of medicine at McMaster and the senior author of the study, "Scurvy is seen as a disease irrelevant to the modern world, but it still exists, and clinicians caring for at-risk patients should be aware of it and know how to diagnose it."



"Scurvy should be a 'never event' in a healthy society. That it still occurs in Canada in our time indicates that we are not supporting vulnerable people as we should," stated first author Kayla Dadgar, who did the research as a medical student at McMaster. The patients with scurvy who were given Vitamin C had a rapid recovery of their symptoms.



Some of the best sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits like lemons oranges, bell peppers, broccoli, papaya, strawberries and tomatoes. It is also said that recommended requirement for Vitamin C in adults is 40mg per day; excessive intake is also known to have harmful effects.





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