James Lind, a Scottish physician, conducted one of the first clinical trials in nutrition, demonstrating that certain foods could prevent scurvy. He was serving as a surgeon aboard a British ship-of-war patrolling the Bay of Biscay in 1747 when he tested six treatments on 12 sailors suffering from scurvy: cider, sulfuric acid, vinegar, seawater, citrus fruit, and a spicy paste plus barley water. After six days, only the two receiving citrus fruit (which we now know contained vitamin C) had recovered or nearly recovered. Lind published his study six years later, but citrus fruit wasn’t made part of the standard marine rations until the 1790s.
- Wikipedia biography
- James Lind (1716-94) of Edinburgh and the treatment of scurvy by Peter M Dunn
- key passages in Lind’s 556 page “A Treatise on the Scurvy”
- full reproduction of the 559 page “A Treatise on the Scurvy”