In this health video you will learn the importance of the discovery of vitamin C.
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Graphic: How was the importance of vitamin C discovered? Sue Brennan: Those countries that were trying to explore the new world and branch off in new territories, and the sailors were going out and they would be gone for months and they were taking hardtack and different dried foods because they didn’t have a lot of means of preservation. They weren’t taking fresh fruits and vegetables. The sailors started to, over time, their health declined. They called the condition scurvy. Basically what it was is your connective tissue gets affected and that’s very important to, like, the gums. They would start to get loose teeth, bleeding from their gums, very much fatigue, depleted them, so they really couldn’t work the ships. You can die from it. It’s a serious deficiency and you don’t see it very much nowadays, unless you have alcoholic patients where they’re getting all their calories from alcohol. You only need about 50 milligrams of vitamin C to prevent scurvy. But how could these sailors keep staying out there and conquering lands. Well, there was a Scottish physician. His name was James Lind, and this was in the 1700s. He started to recommend taking fresh fruits and vegetables. Nobody really listened to him initially. 50 years later, the British Navy started to transport not only the hardtack and those kinds of things for the supplies, but also limes. Their sailors were able to stay out longer; and actually, they had a very strong navy. So instead of being out to sea and their ships going around in circles, they were able to conquer the world, so to speak.