Frailty and vitamin C

This essay about frailty and vitamin C is part of the greater well-being for Christians series given at the Church of the Ascension, Hilton.

Can we prevent frailty? How is it defined? Is it already too late?

Never was prevention more important; far better than seeking a cure after granny is already frail and taken a fall.

Prevent frailty syndrome.

1 Corinthians 3:16

  • Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that his Spirit dwells in you?

  • God's temple is holy, and that you are.
  • We wrestle not against flesh and blood; but to keep Satan from gaining the advantage over us. For we are not ignorant of his designs.

Regaining your well-being and preventing frailty syndrome are both ongoing spiritual battles. Neither will be easy.

John Bunyan

I saw then in my dream that Christian went on his way, that is until he came to the bottom of the hill. There he found, beside the path, three-men fast asleep with chains attached to their heels. The name of one was Simple, another was Sloth and the third Presumption.

Understanding the role of vitamin-C in frailty really is simple; but if we are slothful in not making sure we have it daily or presume that only others become frail, then we need to beware.

Chains of sloth

"Wonderful the matchless-grace of Jesus.
Chains have been torn asunder, setting my spirit free.
Oh the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me."

No more shall there be an old man who does not see out his days.

See out your days.

What is frailty syndrome?

  • Low grip strength
  • Low energy
  • Slowed walking speed
  • Low physical activity
  • Unintentional weight loss

If any three of these are present it means you have frailty syndrome[3].

Low grip strength

Opening a bottle.
  • Opening a bottle?
  • Using scissors or gardening-secateurs.

These are my wife's fingers. She has rheumatoid arthritis but because of our commitment to an anti-inflammatory diet, she has no pain. But I have to open tight bottles. She uses secateurs daily, for gardening and to strengthen her hands.

Low energy

Two strong old ladies.
  • Medical checkup. Are you anaemic?
  • Sloth?
  • Pain?

Slowed walking speed

Woman walking fast.
  • Mark out 4.6m; about 5 paces.
  • Can you walk it in 6 or 7 seconds?

Low physical activity

Computer potato,
  • Sloth?
  • Too busy?
  • Computer potato?
  • Sore ankle?

"In spite of illness, even of the arch-enemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration; if unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity and interested in big things. And being happy in small ways."

- Edith Wharton

Unintentional weight loss

  1. Have you unintentionally lost 4.5kg or more in the last year?
  2. Microbiome; should you be having a probiotic like kefir?
  3. Could you have Coeliac Disease? Then the only flour you can eat must be made with the sourdough method.
A busy gardening lady with secateurs in hand.


  • Vitamin C 
  • Folic acid (B9) 
  • Vitamin B6 
  • Vitamin E

If you are having inadequate supplies of any one of these four vitamins from your food then you are far more likely to become frail long before your time.

Vitamin C

Vitamins were unknown in the 18th-century when British captain Anson circumnavigated the world. Out of 1900 sailors, 1400 died, mostly of scurvy. Scottish doctor James Lind proposed they start eating limes.

They didn't know it but a vitamin C deficiency was and still is the cause of scurvy. Dr Lind found there was a simple cure; limes. He should have been knighted.

"The enhancement of nonheme iron absorption from vegetable meals is directly proportional to the quantity of vitamin C present."

- Ann NY Acad Sci.

  • Scurvy
  • Tiredness, lethargy, and malaise
  • Depression
  • Weak ligaments and tendons (collagen)
  • Gum disease
  • Poor slipped disc healing
  • Fragile blood vessels[1]

What is collagen?[2]

  • Collagen is the glue that holds our cells together.
  • Vitamin C is fundamental in the synthesis of collagen[2].
  • Do you have weak ankles?
  • Have you had recurrent slipped discs?
  • Is your skin sagging and wrinkled?

How much vitamin C?

The required daily amount is about 90mg; but if deficient then 500 per day for a few weeks.

  • 1 grapefruit 70mg
  • 1 orange 51mg
  • 1 lime 20mg
  • 1 lemon 31mg
  • 1 cup red pepper 116mg

More than half is found the pulp; the rest in the juice. Enjoying whole foods is the secret to preventing frailty and a vitamin C deficiency; and a host of other conditions.

Limes in autumn.

Simple drinks with vitamin C

Spicy ginger tea recipe.
  • Hot water and lemon
  • Fruit drink - lime, mango and mint
  • Citrus drink - orange, grapefruit and naartje
  • Ginger, lemon and peppadew
  • Salad - lettuce, pepper and avocado; lemon juice and olive oil.
  • This spicy ginger and lemon-tea is a favourite in the late afternoon; I sleep much better.
Summer salad for vitamin C.

Frailty and vitamin C

Frailty and vitamin-C is all about caring for the temple; we owe it to God and our families to eat plenty of nutritious food.

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Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • Lifestyle and ideal body weight
  • What are ultra-processed foods?
  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa