Scurvy - Vitamin C Deficiency

by Garreth Myers

Scurvy can be described as a disease or an illness, which is brought on, by the deficiency of Vitamin C in the body. In the earlier days, this problem was very common in most people who suffered from malnourishment. Fortunately, in today's world, most people who eat a diet a healthy and nutritious diet, which is high in vitamins, especially Vitamin C are not at a much of a risk of developing scurvy. This does not mean that people do not get scurvy any more; there are several people who still suffer from this illness and the ones who are the most susceptible are:

  • Children who are very fussy when it comes to eating and survive mainly on a diet that comprises junk food
  • Alcoholics
  • People who suffer from certain eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and pica or even those who cannot eat a wide variety of foods, due to food allergies and intolerances
  • Elderly people
  • Patients who receive dialysis treatment on a regular basis
  • Individuals who have diseases or illnesses such as dyspepsia, Crohn's diease, or any other disorders that affect the body's absorption of vitamins from the food consumed

It is important to include raw vegetables and fruits in your diet to prevent scurvy. This is because the high temperatures required for cooking decreases and diminishes the nutritional value of the fruit or vegetable. Since this condition is not very common, there are several people who haven't even heard of it. Therefore, when they suffer from the symptoms of scurvy, they normally chalk it down to another illness. It is only when people visit a doctor for treatment or relief from the symptoms that they realize that they are suffering from scurvy.


There are several signs and symptoms that become evident, in case a person is suffering from this illness. Given below are some of the most common symptoms of scurvy:

  • Swelling in the gums
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Sunken eyes
  • Achy and swollen feeling in the joint
  • Delayed healing of wounds or even reopening of old wounds

In case a child or an infant is affected by scurvy, the symptoms experienced could include lower extremity pain as well as lesions in growing bones.


Unfortunately, it is not likely for this condition to be detected during the initial stages; most people only consult a doctor, after experiencing the more serious symptoms. It is best for people to consult a doctor as soon as they experience the signs and symptoms of scurvy, for a proper diagnosis. In most instances, doctors will study the various symptoms and will then conduct a blood test, to check the individual's vitamin C levels.


The best way to treat this illness is to increase the intake of Vitamin C, either in the form of fruits and vegetables, or by adding a vitamin supplement to the diet. It is a well known fact that oranges and fresh orange juice is very high in Vitamin C and therefore can help cure scurvy. However, there are many other fruits that are high in Vitamin C too, which include pineapple, strawberries and papaya. What a lot of people are not aware of, is that many vegetables are high in this vitamin too; therefore foods like bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, carrots, and potatoes should be consumed on a daily basis.

The diet for treating and preventing scurvy mentioned above is fairly safe for most people. However, those who are elderly or are suffering from any preexisting condition should check with a doctor, before following it.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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