How to Prevent Your Baby from Developing Scurvy

How to Prevent Your Baby from Developing ScurvyIt is not often that you hear of someone developing scurvy in today’s world. Scurvy was once a disease that afflicted pirates and explorers in the 18th century. That doesn’t mean that people no longer catch this (now rare) disease. A baby in Spain was diagnosed with scurvy. How can you prevent your baby from developing this disease?

A study was published in the journal Pediatrics that parents should take note of. Researchers found that a baby in Spain had developed scurvy, and set out to find out how that happened. In short, they determined that it was due to the baby receiving an “improper use of a plant-based vitamin-C deficient beverage”.

Spanish doctors wrote about a baby who was being fed a cow milk-based formula until he was two-and-a-half months old. The parents noticed that the baby started developing skin rashes. The doctor suggested that the parents change the baby’s diet.

Instead of getting a cow milk-based formula, the baby was now receiving an almond-based prepared mixture. The study notes that the formula was a mixture of almond beverage and almond flour. This was the only food that the baby was receiving. The baby was not being breast fed, and was no longer being fed a cow milk based formula.

The parent attempted to get the baby to eat fruits and vegetables when the baby turned 6 months old. The baby refused it. At 8 months old, the baby became unstable while sitting and showed less interest in interacting with the world. At 11 months old, the baby appeared tired and irritable. He refused to support his legs on a solid surface and cried when doctors touched his legs.

It was determined that the baby had femur fractures and that his vitamin C levels were very low. The doctors diagnosed him with scurvy. The baby was switched to a vitamin C and vitamin D replacement therapy, and was now fed a mixture of fruit and meat. The baby no longer received the almond beverage.

Scurvy is a rare condition that can develop if a person fails to obtain enough vitamin C in his or her diet. Typically, in today’s world, this happens with elderly people who are unable to maintain a healthy diet, people who smoke (or have a drug or alcohol dependency) or people who are on a low income and unable to buy the nutrition they need.

The NHS recommends that babies who are 0-12 months old get around 25mg of vitamin C a day. Children ages 1-10 need around 30mg of vitamin C a day. Children 11-14 require around 35mg of vitamin C a day. One way to make that happen is to provide the baby or child with a varied diet that includes some vitamin C.

Image by Frédérique Voisin-Demery on Flickr.

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