For centuries, scurvy was the scourge of naval exploration. Then, in 1747, in arguably the first clinical trial, James Lind assigned sailors sick with scurvy to alternative acid treatments, and noted that those who received citrus fruits, as sources of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), were the only ones who recovered.1 Of note, scurvy was not eradicated immediately: Lind had not randomized the sailors and questioned whether their good outcomes were predestined rather than due to the ascorbic acid.2 Decades elapsed before the British Navy began to routinely load fresh citrus on all voyages.
Brant EB, Angus DC. Is High-Dose Vitamin C Beneficial for Patients With Sepsis? JAMA. 2019;322(13):1257–1258. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.11643
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