Rats, I Need Vitamin C!
When there are No Lemons
Scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, plagued early European sailors. Bleeding gums and weakness was just the beginning of their then-mysterious slide to death. But some sailors starving enough to eat the ship rats, remained unscathed over long voyages.
It turns out that rats synthesize vitamin C. Europeans didn’t understand the cause of scurvy for many years after Ferdinand Magellan (1521) set off for his circumnavigation. “Limey” became a term to identify sailors who depended on limes—as well as lemons and oranges—when they set sail.
But before limes were known to fight scurvy, starving sailors who made rat soup noticed that their gums stopped bleeding.
So, the lesson from my recent research?
When life doesn’t give you lemons, and you can’t make lemonade, rats will do just fine! Get your vitamin C! 😉
See you on the next page!
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