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Vitamin C

VitaminC imag

Even if vitamin C is said to be a medicine, it must be the majority. Since it is contained in various foods such as drinks and confectionery as an additive, we today are more aware of food ingredients than supplements and supplements. However, vitamin C is listed in the Japanese Pharmacopoeia and is still one of the fine drugs.

Vitamin C is a necessary and indispensable substance for human life. The lives of those saved are numerous and have a great influence on the flow of world history. The history also raises a very interesting issue when considering the efficacy of medicines.

Human culture has developed by bringing and colliding things and discoveries from each other, especially during a major voyage that begins in the 15th century, a time when global cultural exchanges have accelerated.

The waves extend to the endland of the oriental island of Japan.

As you know, it has changed the flow of the world.

The sailors ran across the seven seas and had a huge impact on the history and culture of the world. What were they most afraid of? It was not a storm or a pirate attack, but a disease specific to sailors. In fact, compared to the number of people who die of disease on board, the number of people who die from shipwrecks and battles is said to have been negligible.

On the ship, a large number of people have been confined to a narrow space for a long time, so if an infectious disease occurs, it will spread quickly. However, what was far more serious than plague and tuberculosis was a disease called “scurvy” that is unaccustomed to ears in modern times. Those who develop this disease suffer from a strong sense of fatigue and weakness, and the skin loses its tension so that it remains depressed when pressed. He bleeds from his nose and mouth, has a purple bruise under his body, suffers from symptoms such as diarrhea, joint pain, and loss of his teeth.

Scurvy is not a disease that suddenly occurred in this era, but human bones have also been discovered from the remains of the Neolithic period. The records of what is considered scurvy remain in the 9th century biking and the 13th century crusaders. However, this disease was greatly highlighted only after the ship's cruising range was significantly increased since the voyage.

In modern times, it is clear that the cause of this disease is a lack of vitamin C. The food on board the ship that left the land for a long period of time and was damp was limited to those that could be preserved for a long time, such as hard-baked bread and salted meat. Fresh vegetables and fruits, which are important sources of vitamin C, are not put on the ship because they are perishable, and this has caused a great tragedy for sailors. Symptoms of scurvy occur because collagen, which is a kind of important protein, fails to make normally. Collagen is a major component of bones and keys, as well as cell-to-cell attachment, and our body cannot keep shape without it. For this reason, collagen is a major force that accounts for about one-third of all proteins in the body.

Unlike ordinary proteins, collagen has a fiber structure in which three peptide chains are entangled. In order to maintain this triple helix, a mechanism is applied to the collagen chain. It is a special amino acid with an extra oxygen attached to an amino acid called proline. This oxygen has the role of linking the chains with the force of hydrogen bonds and locking them so that they cannot be unraveled.

Attaching an enzyme to proline is a difficult chemical reaction. Vitamin C's job is to help this reaction and make it progress smoothly. If vitamin C cannot be obtained from food, oxygenation will not proceed, resulting in only weak collagen fibers. Then, blood vessels and root tissue become brittle, leading to symptoms such as bleeding and loss of teeth.

The record of suffering from scurvy is enormous. On the Vasco da Gama voyage (1497-14096), famous for reaching India by sea for the first time, more than 100 of 160 crew members have already visited the Cape of Good Hope in the southernmost part of Africa. Was lost due to scurvy. When I found a drifting ship and boarded it, there were not a few cases where sailors were annihilated by scurvy. In the mid-18th century, the Nigiri Navy lost more than 1000 people with scurvy during a four-year voyage. During this time, only four people were drowned.

Thus, scurvy has been the greatest enemy of sailors sailing over long distances for nearly 300 years. For this reason, the Navy of each country had to replenish sailors by compulsory recruitment, and even if half of them died on the way, a large number of personnel had to be on board so that the voyage could be planned.

The strange thing about examining the history of scurvy is that it was not widely spread even though the countermeasures were known. Of course, a substance called vitamin C has yet to be found, but I have enough food containing it. For example, in China, as early as the fifth century, ginger containing vitamin C was known to be effective against scurvy and its pot plants were grown on ships.

The East India company fleet that left the UK in 1601 was loaded with lemon juice on the flagship, and those who developed symptoms of scurvy were instructed to drink 3 tablespoons. This saved the flagship crew from death, but a quarter of the other ships were sacrificed. There are several other cases where scurvy was prevented by the effect of lemon juice.

Why hasn't it spread so easily and effectively? For one thing, it seems that there was an influence of the “Hydrology Theory” advocated by Hibocrates and Galen in ancient Greece. In this theory, illness could be caused by ingestion of harmful things, but there was no possibility of physical condition due to lack of necessary things.

Another factor is that the symptoms of scurvy are similar to syphilis and are not clearly distinguished. Also caused by bad air in the hold. In other words, the theory that it was an infectious disease was persistent. For this reason, all therapies such as hemoptysis, mercury, salt water, vinegar, and sulfuric acid were tried, and some of them claimed that they were forced to work because they were simply lazy. In short, the fact that the cause of the disease, the treatment method, and the relationship between the results were not well organized could greatly prolong the tragedy caused by scurvy. It was a British naval doctor named James Lind who arranged the complicated situation and arranged a solution for this terrible disease.

In 1747, Linda conducted the following trials to find out which treatments were really effective: Twelve scurvy patients were collected in the same place and given the same meal every day. The patients were divided into 6 pairs of 2 patients, and each was given a paste made from apple juice, sulfate solution, vinegar, seawater, garlic, 2 oranges and 1 lemon. In addition, although there were some who developed symptoms but continued normal meals, this was also observed in parallel.

Results came in just 6 days. Soldiers given oranges and lemons were almost completely cured, those who drank apple juice recovered slightly, but others did not see any improvement in symptoms.

Here, the fact that “citrus fruits become a specific medicine for scurvy” proved brilliantly.

This experiment is also obvious from modern eyes. However, Lind's method, in which other conditions were kept as constant as possible and experiments were conducted with the comparative group to clarify what was effective, was quite innovative. Modern clinical trials are based on this philosophy, and all drugs and medical devices are widely accepted only through those trials.

The idea of ​​a genius has become commonplace since then, and it is not uncommon to see how great it is in future generations. Linde's idea of ​​a “clinical trial” seems to be a typical example.

Cook and Scott

Renowned Captain James Cook succeeded with the discovery that fruits and vegetables can prevent scurvy. In the second half of the 18th century, he made a round-the-world trip without any scurvy from a sailor. What he used to supplement vitamin C was the cabbage and other pickles "Sauerkraut".

Even if an effective measure is known, it will not be effective unless everyone practices it. No matter how much they explain, the marines who take the test did not try to handle unfamiliar foods such as sauerkraut. So Cook didn't try to force them to eat, but purposely sauerkraut was made exclusively for officers, and he tried to eat exclusively by himself. In less than a week, the soldiers approached, “Provide us with sauerkraut”. This episode represents Cook's skillful maneuver.

Cook has made brilliant achievements, including the discovery of the Hawaiian Islands, surveying New Zealand, and the first European entry into the Antarctic. If Vasco da Gama and Magellan knew how to prevent scurvy, how has history changed? They may have run through the world without sacrificing troops and had more new territories. It can be imagined that Spain and Boltgar gained huge wealth in the spice trade and won the world, and the British Empire might not have appeared.

The Royal Navy has loaded Limeji Youth on a ship to prevent scurvy and have soldiers drink it regularly. This is why British Marines are called "Raimee". But still, the scurvy was not completely expelled. The theory of infectious diseases was persistent and there were even those in the 20th century British Navy who thought it was due to rotten meat. One of them was Donkey Scott.

Scott, who was known for competing with Amundsen, Norway, was the first to reach the South Pole of humanity, and was taking measures against nutrition, while Scott was not prepared. As a result, Scott was deprived of the crown of the first arrival of the South Pole by Amunsen and others, and exhausted on the way home, and saw the annihilation at a point 18 km to the base. Sometimes it was March 1912. The biggest bad luck was being hit by extreme bad weather once every few years, but the fact that lack of vitamin C robbed them was also a major factor.

Discovery of vitamin C

To fully elucidate the cause of scurvy, vitamin C, which is an active ingredient, is removed from food and its effects are not verified. It was Hangari-born biochemical Albert Sen-Gergi (St. Giergi Alberto) who did it. Its academic achievements are also great, but anti-Nazi activities, Hangari-preferred but exiled to the United States, where they also campaigned against the Vietnam War, married four times in their lifetime (of which two were 50 age under) He was also a person who lived a life of excitement.

At the beginning of the 20th century, it was discovered that humans could not be used only by major nutrients such as sugars and proteins, and that some trace compounds could not survive. The main theme of biochemistry in the first half of the 20th century was to search for these trace compounds, ie vitamins.

Vitamin A was isolated from the butter and vitamin B1 from rice bran. The naming of vitamins is not consistent and confusing from a modern point of view, but this is also a trace of the struggles of scientists at the time.

Entering the 1930s, the world's biochemists are focused on causative agents of scurvy. The new vitamin to be shaken by the third alphabet was the holy grail of science in this era.

Around this time, St. Georges removes reducing substances from the adrenal glands of cattle. He named the substance “ignose”, meaning “unknown sugar”, but the editor of the journal dismissed it as “too joke”. Since then, the name proposed by St. George is "god knows", so his character can be praised. However, this should not have passed, and the name of the new substance has settled down to “hexuronic acid” in response to the editor's opinion.

Saint-Gergi thought this might be the causative agent of scurvy that has long been sought. And he demonstrates that giving animals about 1 milligram of hexuronic acid a day can prevent scurvy. This achievement was published in 1932 in the world's most prestigious academic journal “Nature”.

But just two weeks ago, an American king, a rival researcher, reported the same result to science. Academic discoveries are the winner of those who announce as soon as possible, and the winner takes all honors. However, it is said that there was a person who diverted St. George's result to King, and that King rushed to write a paper. St. George's collaborator and ex-King's former disciple Swaveri has a strong conviction.

It was the Nobel Prize committee that made the decision in the complicated battle for preemption. 1937. Sen 1 = Jerzy wins the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his achievements in “Vitamin C Discovery”. However, there are also voices that the Nobel Prize committee at that time patronized the Europeans, and in the United States, there are still many people who find King C as vitamin C. It is similar to many Japanese people who mention Umetaro Suzuki as a discoverer of vitamin B1.

In 1933, Haas of England clarified the structure of vitamin C and changed the name of hexuronic acid to “ascorbic acid” meaning “to resist scurvy”. He also succeeded in synthesizing vitamin C from cheap glucose. For these achievements, Haas was honored with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1937, just like St. Georges.

As the identity of vitamin C became clear and mass production became possible, the road to popularization was opened. In addition, vitamin C has been found not to prevent scurvy. Vitamin C is prone to oxidation and reacts with harmful active oxygen in the body to eliminate it. It also has the function of protecting food from oxidation by oxygen in the air. For this reason, vitamin C is greatly appreciated as a health food, supplement, and additive. It was a great scientist who was deeply obsessed with vitamin C that contributed greatly to this boom that continues to this day.

Names such as Newton, Einstein, Hawking will not be familiar to ordinary people who have no connection with science. However, in the genre of chemistry, there are unfortunately few people who can be called great geniuses. However, it is not without human resources. For example, Ameri ’s Linus Bowling is slightly less well-known to the public, but its achievements are never defeated by the great genius.

He answered the most fundamental question of chemistry about why atoms join together and was awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this achievement. On the other hand, he led a world scientist to embark on a bomb ban and won the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize. The only person who won the Nobel Prize twice in his lifetime was the one who was later. In the DNA structure determination competition, Watson and Crick were successful for political reasons, but without this, it is highly likely that the Novel Physiology / Medical Award was his. The achievements spanning quantum mechanics, chemistry, and biology are shining brilliantly in the history of science lined with geniuses like the beautiful stars.

The best chemist of the 20th century, recognized by everyone, somehow began to get into vitamin C around 65 age. The trigger was a letter from a biochemist who spoke to him. The letter says that if you continue to take a lot of vitamin C every day, you can live for another 50 years. Boring becomes a believer in Vitamin C. His brains and enthusiasm, which elucidated the complex molecular structure more precisely than anyone else and fought even against the US government, were turned to the development and promotion of strange health methods.

Boring had never studied nutrients before, but claimed that if he continued to drink large amounts of vitamin C, he would not catch a cold, get flu, and never get cancer C. Vitamin C requirements are usually around loo milligrams a day, but he recommended taking 6 to 18 grams, and continued to take large doses.

Vitamin C has become the savior of all illnesses, from various viral illnesses to psychosis, and his public awareness book has become a bestseller. Opinions that deny the efficacy of vitamin C are a conspiracy of pharmaceutical companies to sell higher drugs and are attacking it violently.

However, the results of many clinical trials conducted by other researchers since then completely betrayed his theory. Polling threatened the editorial department of academic journals as to why this kind of result was published, but the experimental results did not change. In this way, Polling gradually destroyed the trust and honor he had built in the first half of his life with his own hands.

In the end, despite the claim that vitamin C can prevent cancer, Boring died of his wife Eva from stomach cancer, and he also ended his life with prostate cancer. However, he was so energetic that he continued to publish his paper until just before his death at the age of 93, so at least a large intake of vitamin C would not have been bad for the body.

It's hard to imagine why a giant like bowling was immersed in such a strange theory. Isaac Newton also spent his last 25 years of research in alchemy, working in alchemy in his later years. A genius or the like may be a difficult creature that has extraordinary power and energy, and everything collapses with a slight misdirection.

Pauling's Vitamin C Universal Theory is still largely unacceptable to the serious medical scientist. After all, vitamin C is highly soluble in water, so if you take it more than you need it, it will only flow out of your body, and you won't be able to see any significant effects. However, from health food manufacturers, bowling is still treated as a god, and the advertisement is brilliantly jumping with the words “Nobel Prize 2 Health Theory!”.

In fact, there are quite a few examples of people who have achieved great results in one field and get stuck in strange logic in other fields. Brian-Josephson, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics at the age of 33, has since devoted himself to the study of psychic phenomena, and Luc Montagne (2008 Nobel Physiology. Medical Prize) The r-theory that DNA is teleported by a magnetic field was announced, and the scientists of the world were bought. It should be kept in mind that you should not appreciate the word unconditionally just because you are a Nobel Prize scientist or a professor or doctor.

But on the other hand, new physiological actions of vitamin C have been discovered one after another, and the result is a top-notch academic. After all, we still don't know the full picture of vitamin C, and haven't fully evaluated its effects, even after more than 50 years since the beginning of the Grand Voyage Era.

It's confusing because it's extremely harmless and a small compound of only 20 atoms. Vitamin C is a very good example of how difficult it is to evaluate medicine.


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