Scurvy is a disease that affects the body’s synthesis of collagen, thus affecting the structural integrity of the body’s tissues. In particular, bone and vascular structures are affected, and more generally, the body’s ability to heal from injury. Scurvy can also affect the metabolism of other chemicals such as folate. It is caused by a deficiency in ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which is a cofactor for prolyl hydroxylase and lysyl hydroxylase, two enzymes in the collagen synthesis pathway. Because humans do not synthesize their own vitamin C, it is an essential nutrient. This entry describes the history, symptoms, and diagnosis of scurvy.

The cause and cure for scurvy have been described and collectively forgotten many times since at least ancient Egypt. Scurvy was once endemic on ...

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