A-Z of Health S -Scurvy

Another one that should be left in the medical archives, one that we link to Sailors in the 18th century when scurvy was rife in fact at that time, scurvy killed more British sailors than enemy action.   Unfortunately, though scurvy is on the rise thanks in part to a western diet (see M – Malnourishment and R – Rickets).

The NHS data for 2017/18 also shows huge numbers of people – both young and old – being admitted to hospital with malnutrition.

Among children aged nine and under, 166 admissions were for a primary or secondary diagnosis of malnutrition (up from 143 the year before).

Meanwhile, nine admissions were for children aged nine and under who needed treatment for scurvy, up from four the year before.

Yes, the numbers are small but they shouldn’t be there at all.  Scurvy is caused by not having enough vitamin C in your diet for at least 3 months. Vitamin C is easily available and certainly doesn’t need to be expensive.  Of all the vitamin/mineral deficiencies we see presenting themselves there really is no excuse for a vitamin C deficiency.

It doesn’t just affect children, in adults if you smoke you will be restricting how much vitamin C your body can absorb.

How much vitamin C do we need?

babies need around 25mg of vitamin C a day

children 1-10 years old need around 30mg

children 11-14 years old need around 35mg

older children and adults need around 40mg (and more for those who smoke or drink large amounts of alcohol)

pregnant women need 50mg of vitamin C a day

breastfeeding mothers need around 70-75mg


The posts on R – Rickets and S – Scurvy should act as a reminder that although time has moved on, poor diet can still be a cause of some serious illnesses, with these two in particular dietary improvements should have eliminated them to the archives.

About the author of this blog

Louise Mercieca is a multi award-winning author on children’s nutrition with her book ‘How Food Shapes Your Child’ winning the Parenting award in Janey Lee Grace’s Platinum awards.

Louise on the road with a Broccoli as part of her nutrition mission

Louise has also won a SBS or Small Business Sunday award from Theo Paphitis and was recently crowned as Queen of Child Nutrition in the #Queenof Twitter awards.

Louise has worked as a Nutritional Therapist for 8 years supporting hundreds of clients and does take on a limited number of personal coaching clients each month – contact Louise to discuss this. Louise has also created an accessible and affordable webinar schedule covering many topics discussed in this A-Z post series. https://www.louisemercieca.co.uk/webinar

Share this Post