Scurvy is a disease that results from vitamin C deficiency.
Diagnosis of Scurvy
A physician will conduct a physical exam, and request lab tests to assess the level of vitamin C in the blood.
Imaging tests can help reveal internal damage resulting from scurvy.
Treatment involves administering vitamin C supplements by mouth or by injection.
The recommended dosage is:
- 1 to 2 grams per day for 3 days
- 500 milligrams for one week
- 100 mg for 1 to 3 months
Within 24 hours from receiving treatments, patients can expect to see an improvement in fatigue, lethargy, pain, anorexia, and confusion. Bruising, bleeding, and weakness starts to resolve within 7 to 14 days.
After 3 months, a complete recovery is expected, and long-term effects are unlikely, except in the case of severe dental damage.
Scurvy can be prevented by consuming enough vitamins C. Preferably, getting enough Vitamins C from the diet is advised, but sometimes as a supplement.
Most people begin to recover from scurvy fairly quickly after starting treatment and do see an improvement in some symptoms within a day or two of treatment. They see improvements in symptoms including:
- a headache
- mood swings
Other symptoms may take a few weeks to improve following treatment. Such symptoms are:
Daily Recommended Vitamin C
Daily vitamin C recommendations depend on age, gender, and other health conditions.
|Age||Male||Female||During pregnancy||During lactation|
|0–6 months||40 mg||40 mg|
|7–12 months||50 mg||50 mg|
|1–3 years||15 mg||15 mg|
|4–8 years||25 mg||25 mg|
|9–13 years||45 mg||45 mg|
|14–18 years||75 mg||65 mg||80 mg||115 mg|
|19 + years||90 mg||75 mg||85 mg||120 mg|
People who smoke or have digestive conditions typically require at least 35 mg a day more than those who don’t smokers.
Sources of Vitamin C
Natural methods like citrus fruits (oranges, limes, and lemons) have traditionally been used to prevent and treat scurvy, including several other fruits and vegetables which contain higher doses of vitamin C than citrus fruits.
Many prepared foods, like juices and cereals, also contain added vitamin C, and such foods with high levels of vitamin C include:
- sweet peppers
- dark, leafy greens, like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard
- green peas
- Brussels sprouts
- berries, especially raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries
- pineapples and mango
- tomatoes, especially tomato pastes or juices
- cantaloupes and most melons
Vitamin C easily dissolves in water, thus, cooking, canning, and prolonged storage can greatly reduce the vitamin C content in foods.
It’s best to eat vitamin C rich foods raw, or as close to raw as possible.