Diets lacking in vitamin C can lead to diseases like scurvy.
An 11-month-old youngster in Spain started to show evidence of being very tired and irritable, and was having difficulty sitting. His parents noticed he had little interest in being interactive and cried whenever someone tried to move his legs. According to a story in The Washington Post, doctors discovered he had fractures in his femur and his levels of vitamin C were extremely low, and that information led the physicians to diagnose the child with scurvy.
Scurvy, most often associated with sailors in the 18th century who went for long voyages without proper nutrition, can be caused by the lack of vitamin C in one’s diet. Some people today are still being diagnosed with the disease, and children, particularly those with restrictive diets due to conditions such as autism, are being stricken by the disease as well.
In the Spanish case, the child was fed milk from a cow until he reached the age of two-and-a-half months, when he started to develop a rash. Doctors recommended the child begin taking an almond-based mixture, of which he consumed about 30 ounces per day.
His mother tried to convert him to a pureed vegetable and fruit diet as six months, but the child refused to eat the foods. He seemed to be progressing on schedule, and was able to sit alone at that age.
Then his parents noted after the seventh month, he seemed less interested in being interactive and was acting less stable than before while sitting. By the time the child reached 11 months, he refused to stand on a solid surface, and cried each time someone tried to move his legs, leading to the diagnosis.
The infant was placed on a new diet of formula, fruit and meat and was treated with vitamin C and D replacement therapy.
The authors of the study said the child would have been fine if fruits and formula, which contain vitamin C, had been supplemented in his diet. They added, “When plant-based beverages are the exclusive diet in the first year of life and not consumed as a supplement to formula or breastfeeding, it can result in severe nutritional problems.”
The findings of the study can be found in the journal Pediatrics.