Let’s get started with a story, Vasco-da-Gama lost two-third of his crew to the same fate during his first exploration of trade roots in India (1499) and comparatively same the another story of Louis IXs towards the end of the seventh crusade (1248-1254), immediately preceding the battle of Fariskur, where the scurvy weekend crusaders and the Army were destroyed by Egyptians. The question here arose that what was the nature of the malady affecting these 13th century soldiers?
Scurvy is the answer which is caused by the lack of vitamin C or Ascorbic acid (ascorbate) Scurvy is a deficiency disease characterized by general degeneration of connective tissue. If scurvy reaches an advanced stage it may to numerous small Hemorrhages caused by the fragile blood vessels, tooth loss, poor wound healing and the reopening of old wounds, heart failure. Despondency and oversensitivity to stimuli of many kinds are also observed. But in milder cases of Vitamin C deficiency are accompanied by fatigue, irritability and increased severity of respiratory tract infection.
However, many animals can produce vitamin C in their system but we human being lost this capacity with evolution and we must obtain vitamin c in our diet. vitamin c is available in a wide range of fruits and vegetables however it is often absent in the dried foods and other food supplies stored at home for extended travel.
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is a white odorless, crystalline powder. It is freely soluble in water. The appropriate daily intake of this vitamin is still in dispute the recommended daily allowance in the US is 60 mg whereas in Australia and the United Kingdom its recommended about 30 to 40 mg and Russia recommends 100 mg.
The intake of this vitamin may vary from country to county but is highly recommended by some of these developed nations. Citrus fruit and all other fresh fruits are good sources of vitamin C including peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and broccoli. Vitamin c gets destroyed by overcooking and when kept for a long period. so we all must start taking vitamin C and must not forget to take some oranges especially while traveling next time.
(Author: Shaista Shabbi, Azad Khabar).