Health & Fitness
An Orange a day may keep stroke away
Nutrition may have a role to play in the pathogenesis of stroke, according to neurologists from the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.
The doctors reported a
case of ischaemic stroke in a 34-
year old man with severe vitamin C
deficiency caused by poor nutrition.
The patient, who had recently been
diagnosed with type 2 diabetes,
had no history of hypertension or
hypercholesterolaemia and no family
history of stroke. Coagulation and
lipid profiles were normal and the
patient tested negative for underlying
thrombophilia, vasculitides and
Fabry disease. Tests showed the
patient had normal carotid and
vertebral arteries and a structurally
normal heart without a source of
However the patient had poor dentition, with calculus deposition, scorbutic gums and gingival inflammation, and reported easy bruising in recent months. Suspecting a diagnosis of scurvy, the doctors discovered that his diet consisted mainly of fast food, with negligible vegetable and fruit intake. Laboratory testing confirmed the presence of severe vitamin C deficiency (< 5 μmol/L; reference range, 40–100 μmol/L). “We hypothesise that an unhealthy diet resulted in deficiencies in antioxidants and this contributed to stroke pathogenesis, the authors wrote in a letter to the MJA.
The marked prematurity of disease onset may have resulted from effect modification of antioxidant deficiency on conventional atherosclerotic risk factors such as diabetes, they added. It is unlikely that a direct causal link will ever be established but since malnutrition and unhealthy eating practices continue to be a serious public health problem, the doctors suggest attention to nutritional status should be incorporated into the new standard of stroke care.