I want to tell you about a weird thing that used to happen a lot to sailors during the 1600s. Vessels were getting more sea worthy, and adventures were taking people farther and farther from home. You might be on the same ship with the same people, with the same person cooking for you for several weeks without touching ground anywhere.
And after several weeks on the ship, one or several of your people would start to develop a particular set of symptoms.
Constant hunger, even if they ate.
Gums would get sore, teeth would fall out.
Their eyes would kind of sink into their heads.
Their hair would start getting curly.
There would be red blotches under their skin.
If you were going to figure out what was causing this condition, you would check: exposure to outsiders (nope), difference in the food (nope), unusual circumstances in life (nope). Where did the illness come from? All circumstances were the same!
The cure for this condition? Eating an orange.
This condition is called scurvy. It isn’t a disease, it is a deficiency of vitamin C. Eventually, ships started carrying more citrus fruits with them, and as long as people got some citrus fruit in their diet, they didn’t get scurvy.
Deficiencies of substances that you need can hurt you just as badly as outside diseases.
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