Scurvy, California, South America discussed on This Podcast Will Kill You


You could travel by sea from port like Boston all the way around the tip of South America and back up or you could take a boat down to Panama and walk across the narrowest part of the country. There was no canal yet and then. You would take a boat on the? Up to northern California. Wow. But basically the journey was very long in scurvy was almost inevitable. And if you didn't come down with scurvy on your way to California, you were sure to get it. Once you were there that part of California was fairly remote at that time with few farms so gold miners, mostly eight flap Jackson, the Lassus. Yeah. Forty nine five jacks. That's the thing. If you wanted to eat onions or potatoes get ready to fork over all of the goal that you found. That's so man capitalism. Right starts way. Back win. Scurvy was also really common in many Arctic and Antarctic expeditions unless they found enough seals or penguins to eat as long as they ate the meat mostly raw. Unlike humans, not all animals as we mentioned have to acquire the vitamin C through diet. And so if you ate the flesh of these animals that producer vitamin c like many people who actually who are native to those parts of the world. They would just eat raw or bare league. Barely cooked. Yeah. Meat and beautifully vitamin C sear on that penguin breasts. So you need very cool. I like that a lot. Also during the great famine in Ireland in eighteen forties. Scurvy appeared alongside starvation since the potato crop, which had failed was the usual source of vitamin c for those populations in the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds scurvy starts appearing unexpectedly in a strange population babies born to wealthy families. Oh, oh, I know exactly where this is going from. Basically these mothers weren't choosing to breastfeed. And instead they gave their children formula, which they could afford to buy mixed in with milk, which had been pasteurized and vitamin C inactivated. Yeah. In the past these mothers would have given their infant to a wet nurse. So they would have gotten vitamin C that way. Yeah. 'cause you your breast milk is full of vitamin c. Yeah. As long as the mother has adequate vitamin c intake. Amidst all these outbreaks of land scurvy was a renewed interest in finding out what the cause of the disease really was and people had some nifty new ideas. In most of the episodes of this podcast. This is when germ theory pops up as a shining beacon to light the way for vaccines and antibiotics but not so for scurvy. No, not so no because scurvy is an infectious disease. Yeah. But that's not what a handful of people thought in the mid eighteen hundreds fine. So when germ theory began to catch on. Pause for laughter. Sorry. It was trendy to call every disease contagious love this. Isn't it? Amazing. Yeah. But it also I do feel like to their credit scurvy has a lot of symptoms that I would totally believe seem infectious, right? Bleeding from your gums. You've got these sources and source everywhere. Like that totally looks infect and you can often get secondary infections on top of it. So well and also doesn't usually happen to just one person. Yes, that's true. Yeah. It's groups of people. Yeah. For instance. The guy who showed that to regular was contagious. His name is Jean Antoine via mean, I don't know. He says name said quote scurvy is a contagious maya's them comparable to typhus which occurs. An epidemic form when people are closely congregated in large groups, it is ridiculous to suppose that a lack of fresh vegetables is the cause of the disease. And we're laughing sorry from laundry fifty years later. No. I mean, yes, we're laughing you? But also, it's cute way. Sure. Another person suggested that lime juice was affective because it acted as an antibacterial mouthwash. I love that. These opinions were in the minority..

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