The Scurvy, the Vitamin C and the Blasphemy

(The first time published in 2007 – The last time edited in 2010)


It has been established for more than a century that an unquestionable scientific truth is that the only cause of scurvy is a diet that is lacking in an adequate amount of vitamin C. Since then, questioning the established wisdom about the cause of scurvy and the healings and curative properties of vitamin C equals blasphemy.

On the other side some available evidence shows that the absence of fresh vegetable and fruits or vitamin C, doesn’t play any role in the outbreak of scurvy.

For example; Eskimos and most population on north hemisphere lived just fine eating virtually no fruits and vegetables during long winters.
The Mongols didn’t eat fruit and vegetable at all. Taking into account that they conquered nearly whole known world at those time we can make the conclusion that the Mongols where in very good health without fruits and vegetables in their diet.
Scurvy disappeared on the end of nineteen and beginning of twenty of century. The question is; did scurvy disappear from the sea because of adequate vitamin C in sailor’s diet or because of something else.

A few evidences points out that the scurvy is caused by the inadequate amount of vitamin C. But by a little bit of examination there can be plenty of inconsistencies found.

On the other hand, there are a few evidences that point out that scurvy is not caused by the inadequate amount of vitamin C in a sailor’s diet.

  1. The fact is that the incidences of scurvy is recorded only or mainly among sailors. There are no recorded incidences of scurvy among officers.
  2. From the first ever recorded outbreak of the scurvy on the ship people tried to ward, and cure scurvy by eating fresh fruits and vegetable; sometimes it works and sometimes it didn’t.

In the rest of the articles there are a few more interesting facts that contradict established wisdom about the cause of scurvy and the healing and curative property of vitamin C.

Did scurvy disappeared because of adequate amount of vitamin C in sailors diet or because of  some other factors like introducing steam powered ships that was much bigger in size and because of bigger size they are more stabile on the water or something else.

8. Guinea Pig and Quack-Theory

The facts about this experiment, on whose theory this is based on, are that guinea pigs can’t synthesise vitamin C.

In 1902, Axel Holst, a Norwegian professor of bacteriology and hygiene who had been concerned at the appearance of what had been diagnosed as beriberi in the crews of Norwegian sailing ships, seized an opportunity to visit Grijns in Batavia and to see his work on chicken polyneuritis. On his return to Oslo, he attempted to obtain a closer model of “ship-beriberi” by using a mammal as his experimental species, and chose guinea pigs. He fed them grains, either whole or milled, and found that they all died within 30 d. When the carcasses were opened he saw “pronounced hemorrhages” and looseness of the molar teeth. Theodor Frölich, a pediatrician with experience of infantile scurvy, confirmed that the condition appeared to be scurvy with no evidence of any kind of polyneuritis. The two men then found that the condition was not produced by semistarvation, and that it was prevented by giving two traditional antiscorbutics, lemon juice and fresh cabbage

It sounds very convincing if you don’t know anything about guinea pigs.

These are a few facts about guinea pigs.

  1. Grass is the guinea pig’s natural diet.
  1. Guinea pigs tend to be fickle eaters when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, having learned early in life what is and is not appropriate to consume, and their habits are difficult to change after maturity.[
  1. They do not respond well to sudden changes in diet; they may stop eating and starve rather than accepting new food types
  1. A constant supply of hay or other food is generally recommended, as guinea pigs feed continuously and may develop habits such as chewing on their own hair if food is not present
  1. Guinea pigs are prey animals whose survival instinct is to mask pain and signs of illness, and many times health problems may not be apparent until a condition is severe or in its advanced stages.
  1. Treatment of disease is made more difficult by the extreme sensitivity guinea pigs have to most antibiotics, including penicillin, which kill off the intestinal flora and quickly bring on episodes of diarrhea and death

Taking into account that grass is the guinea pigs natural diet and that the grains, either whole or milled isn’t, shows that feeding the guinea pigs with a grains either whole or milled is actually exposing them to starvations and at the same time to slow poisoning (starvation combined with slow poisoning).

Taking into account that guinea pigs “do not respond well to sudden changes in diet; they may stop eating and starve rather than accepting new food types” it is questions how Axel Holst convinced guinea pigs to eat grain at all. It is like convincing lions to eat broccoli and lemons.

In reality, feeding guinea pig with the grain means exposing guinea pigs to starvation.

Axel Holst and Theodor Frölich claimed that they prevented guinea pigs from death by giving them, lemon juice and fresh cabbage.

Resuming feeding guinea pigs with fresh cabbage means the end of starvation for guinea pigs.

The question is how Axel Holst convinced guinea pig to drink lemon juice.

The fact that Guinea pig can’t drink lemon juice because the lemon juice is too strongly sour for their tiny little bodies.

The fact that guinea pig cant drink the lemon juice because it is too strongly sour for their tiny little bodies leads to the conclusion that even if guinea pigs consumed lemon juice it makes more harm than good.

It appear obvious that Axel Holst and Theodor Frölich didn’t prevent death or reverse condition induced by feeding guinea pigs with the grain by continuing the feeding with grain and cabbage because the guinea pig will ignore the grains, either whole or milled and will eat only cabbage because a cabbage is guinea pigs natural diet and a grain, whole or milled is not.

It seems that the ad hoc theory; “guinea pigs can’t synthesise vitamin C” is the product of a fraudulent experiment.

According to Guinea Lynx website:

Keep in mind, some of these signs such as eye and nose discharge may indicate other serious conditions like a respiratory infection. If your guinea pig is showing some of these signs, do not assume this is “just” a lack of ascorbic acid and fail to provide critical veterinary care for a serious illness. See an experienced vet.

Unknowledgeable vets too often diagnose an ill pig with a vitamin C deficiency and leave the underlying problem untreated.

A pregnant pig or one suffering from deficiency requires a minimum of 30 mg/kg (Harkness and Wagner). Vicki of JPGPR’s vet recommended 30-50 mg vitamin C daily per adult cavy – depending on size, diet, conditions, and stress.

Extremely high doses of ascorbic acid can cause poor growth and can result in a susceptibility to scurvy if the amount is dramatically reduced, even to doses considered adequate for a normal cavy.