Daily Archives: September 3, 2016

Scurvy Mate

When winter hits and the temperature drops, the common cold begins to spread like wildfire. The common solution is to take medicine and to pump your body full of vitamin C to get your immune system back up. At least that’s what I do every time I get that faintest little cough or smallest sniffle. However, vitamin C intake is not just an essential ingredient to the cure for a simple common cold, but can also the prevention a horrendous disease called scurvy.

For a long time I thought “scurvy” was a term said by pirates in Hollywood movies that was some sort of slang for something. I had heard the term in pirate movies many times, but never took the time to look into what scurvy actual was.

So what actually is scurvy?


So let me break it down for you…

Scurvy is a disease that was extremely common in sailors during the 16th to 18th centuries (can include pirates). Scurvy is caused by a lack of vitamin C consistently in a person’s diet (Crosta) . The reason the disease was so common in sailors was because sailors would embark on long voyages, meaning they would need to bring food that could last for a very long time. Preserving fruits and vegetables without refrigeration was very hard to do that the time. So, sailors ate foods such as salted meats and bread (Crosta).

Now let’s translate that into what’s going on in the body

Humans cannot chemically create vitamin C on their own (Crosta). Therefore, it is necessary to obtain vitamin C from an external source (Crosta) . Vitamin C can be found in various fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, vitamin C is especially essential for pregnant women. A vitamin C deficiency can be extremely dangerous to the fetus and can cause an undeveloped brain in infants (Crosta).


What can happen

A victim of scurvy will generally experience the following symptoms: lack of appetite, diarrhea, lack of weight gain, rapid breathing, fever, irritability, swelling of the long bones, pain in legs, hemorrhaging, and feelings of paralysis (Crosta) .

As the disease gets worse the person can experience: bleeding gums, loosening and loss of teeth, bleeding from the eye, hyperkeratosis, sicca syndrome, and a protruding eye (Crosta).

Are we at risk of scurvy?

In my opinion: yes and no. Many of us are not going on long sea voyages with a lack of adequate food in tow. In the time we live in now, we have so much access to the foods that have vitamin C and we can preserve them well. Even if we don’t like to eat fruits and vegetables (for whatever reason), we can now get that nutrition in smoothies and juices. In the modern era, elderly people are more commonly victims of scurvy.


Scurvy can also be found in alcoholics, people who don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables, people on restrictive diets, people with food allergies, and people who are anorexic (Crosta).

So how do we all avoid getting scurvy?


My first suggestion as a college student would be to avoid the lifestyle of that one college kid from New Zealand that Andrew mentioned in class: Eat/drink more than beer and chips (Read)!!!

My second suggestion would be to make sure you eat foods that naturally produce vitamin C. In the morning before class, drink some orange juice. When you’re grabbing lunch at the HUB, throw some bell peppers, carrots, and tomatoes on your $10 salad. And for a snack, have an orange, some strawberries, or a papaya.

As a college kid, it is essential to have a balanced diet and to get all of your vitamins daily in order to live a happy and healthy life.

So basically…




Crosta, Peter, M.A. “Scurvy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments.” Medical News Today.

MediLexicon International, 30 June 2015. Web. 03 Sept. 2016.


Freshman 15… bottles of beer

We’ve all heard the words, whether it be around campus or your parents warning you to watch your food intake before they said goodbye after dropping you off.  The dreaded freshman 15, supposedly a byproduct of a lack of exercise on campus and a considerably less healthy diet (partially in thanks to the buffets in the dining halls).  But another thing that you’ll hear is to be extremely wary of your alcohol intake, not only because it’s not allowed on campus but also because the calories really start to pile on.

According to this article the average calorie count in a 12 oz container of beer is 153 and a shot of liquor is about 100.  If you assume that the average person drinks 4 beers and a few mixed drinks at a party, that’s an extra 1000 calories just from drinking.  Plugging these numbers into a calorie calculator (I used this one here) we can find that on average consuming an extra 3500 calories a week will equate to gaining 1 pound.  I don’t think it’s super unreasonable to think that someone could be going out 3 nights a week, so if you don’t change your diet or exercise patterns you would be putting on 1 pound per week.

According to researchers, one of the main reasons that alcohol causes people to gain weight is because the body makes the decision to break down the alcohol first, so your metabolism doesn’t work nearly as fast for any solid foods that you have eaten.  So if you go out for a piece of pizza after a late night party, your body is going to continue prioritizing breaking down alcohol instead of the pizza, and thus the pizza will be stored as fat. Additionally, there is believed to be a correlation that drinking alcohol, specifically drinks with a higher concentration, causes the body to produce more fat in the abdomen for men and the hips for women.

Alcohol Weight Gain Graphic

Another reason that alcohol can cause weight gain is because of the calorie content in alcohol.  One gram has 7 calories, compared to 4 per gram in proteins and sugars.  In fact, alcohol only has 2 calories less per gram then fats.  Alcohol also causes the production of the hormone called Cortisol.  As a result of higher levels of Cortisol, the body will begin to break down muscle and build less muscle after exercise.  So you are drinking a lot of extra calories and your body isn’t able to build muscle.

So what can you do about this?  The simplest solution is a fairly obvious one, you could just not drink.  But if you do choose to, watch what types of drinks you are having and then make smart choices with foods you eat during/after a party.  Also, the walk to the forum for this class should help you keep the fat down.


The New (Vape) Nation and the Dangers Associated with It

In the modern era of stress-relieving products, we have become more technologically advanced as human beings. Long gone are the days of primitive cigarettes and cigars, which left behind disgusting butts and a heavy lingering scent, because now we have the ability to smoke electronic cigarettes!

Instead of carrying around that bulky cigarette pack and a lighter with you everywhere, now you only need one device for all of your convenient smoking needs!

And best of all, it is a healthier alternative to smoking the ‘cancer sticks’ that are cigarettes!

How a Typical E-cigarette Works: http://michiganradio.org/post/snyder-treat-e-cigarettes-tobacco#stream/0

“So… what is there to lose? Why doesn’t everyone just join the ‘Vape Naysh’ and start smoking some electronic cigarettes?” You may be asking.

Well, even though electronic cigarettes may be technically safer than smoking regular cigarettes, there are still great health risks associated with smoking them – for yourself and others around you. They still contain nicotine and a number of other harmful chemicals, some of which line up evenly with cigarette-related products.

“But, what about the nicotine-free vapes? They contain no nicotine… so they are obviously healthier for you!”

Again, not quite.

Judy Zelikoff of the NYU School of Medicine performed an interesting electronic cigarette experiment on mice and the effects adding or subtracting nicotine to the electronic cigarette had on them. (The study was also summarized well by ScienceNews, a magazine for scientific findings, if you would like a shorter version). When exposed to the nicotine vapors, the male mice showed little change in activity, but the female’s activity increased up to around 148 genes in the brain’s frontal cortex. But when both genders were exposed to non-nicotine vapors, the activity of these mice increased up to a whopping 830 or more genes in both genders – nearly six times that of the nicotine-laced vapors! This led to scientists observing actions of hyper activity within the affected mice compared to their non-affected counterparts, and even a sperm concentration decrease by half in young-male mice! Yikes!

But, just like Andrew said in class during our first pop-quiz, we, as humans, are different from animals. Just because we may be different, however, does not mean that a rational decision to avoid these products is automatically out of our reach.

Fun Fact: We Share roughly 98% of our Genes with Mice, which might explain why I love cheese so much. Source: https://www.jax.org/~/media/jaxweb/images/genetics-and-healthcare/mouse-98-percent.png?h=558&w=992&la=en.

As they are marketed today, e-cigarettes are the sleek and new modern cigarettes that look to help ween other people off of their current cigarette addiction while making them look more ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ than ever before. There is a reason why President Nixon signed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969 – because legislators and doctors alike all knew the psychological effects smoking advertisements pressuring people to be cool and smoke more was having on our American society, let alone the health risks associated with them.

“It’s toasted” for Our Cancer Inhaling Conveniences. Source: http://www.healthcare-administration-degree.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Lead.jpg

The problem is, there is little to no evidence backing up the claims being spread by these companies that e-cigarettes actually help the user past the point of moving them from one bad habit and straight into another bad habit which could be potentially worse for them in the long run. Imagine if you have been struggling with an addiction to cupcakes your entire life. Then one day, the owner of the same bakery comes up to you and offers you a doughnut while telling you that it is healthier than those unhealthy cupcakes you have been eating for years, all while even coming in more flavors for you to enjoy! Both of these foods are unhealthy for you and, when consumed as regularly as someone might take a long drag of their cigarette due to an addiction, will cause inevitable detrimental health issues for you in the future.

My Point Proves Itself Here Quite Well. “‘Take back your freedom,’ from Cupcakes. Switch to Doughnuts today!” Source: http://blogs.bmj.com/tc/files/2013/10/E-Cigarette-Ad.jpg

Although electronic cigarettes may seem like the coolest thing since the Topsy Turvy in regards to modern conveniences – do not be fooled by the thick smoke (or fat vapes) that conceals the truth about electronic cigarettes! They are nearly the same exact product as conventional cigarettes that have been around for decades spreading nasty diseases in the name of alleviating your everyday stresses. So remember, the next time you see someone outside of the HUB smoking from an electronic cigarette or vaping apparatus, treat that slow moving, thick white cloud that escapes from their lips the same way you would if it was from a conventional cigarette – regardless of whether or not the scent of Mountain Dew or Doritos allures you.

I Want to Believe It Isn’t Real. Source: http://mayaecigarette.com/mountain-dew-ifill-electronic-cigarette-e-juice.html

Thank you for reading this post! Do you agree or disagree with anything I said above? Feel free to leave a comment in the reply section below, and any feedback is always greatly appreciated!