I've been thinking about what would make a really good 200th blog post for the past couple of weeks when I came across my blog analytics and the things that you search for in Google that lead you to my humble corner of the internet. So, let's go, I'm going to answer all of your questions in detail.
Let’s start with your most favourite question:
Lemon crystals are a crystallized form of lemon juice, which is used in cooking and food preparation to give a citrusy, tart and sour taste to whatever you're making and can also be used to create lemon juice or lemonade.
After going through Google Scholar to find scientifically proven benefits to lemon crystals and found the following uses:
- Trotter, the Swedish Chemist, proposed a theory for a dietetic experiment in the 1800s, to protect sailing men from getting scurvy (a severe vitamin C deficiency) and he recommended the use of a crystalline form of lemon juice (that he called citric acid) since it would be better for long voyages across the sea. However, there is little evidence that this theory was carried forward or tested in any way and it wasn’t until half a century later when lemon juice was introduced in the Royal Navy for the prevention of scurvy.
- Put simply - lemon crystals are a source of vitamin C, an essential vitamin we need to prevent scurvy. I have two blog posts on vitamin C and lemon water:
- It's a dehydrated food product which has a prolonged shelf life, longer than fresh lemon juice but is subject to browning deterioration if it is not stored under the right conditions. Rendering it useless if it comes into contact with moisture from the air.
- It's been used in a US patent to measure the fortifiabilty of calcium (in the form of calcium phosphate) in “Lemon CRYSTAL LIGHT drink mix” to see if it easily dissolved in the solution when mixed with water. They found that calcium phosphate rapidly dissolved in the lemon crystal drink mix with water and maintained a delicious taste, colour and created no sediment at the bottom of the beaker but this is only when specific concentrations are used of calcium and drink mix.
- Lemon crystals have also been used to increase saliva secretion in infants for use in saliva collection for research and testing.
Simple answer: Yes you do. Both good (non-pathological) and bad (pathological) crystals exist.
Electron microscopy has helped us better understand the structure of non-pathological microcrystals in our body. We have been able to “see” hydroxyapatite crystal formation in our bones and teeth, thanks to a study published last year which produced the first (hazy) images of hydroxyapatite crystals in our bones.
The 3D images produced by the electron microscope, at the nanoscale level, showed that these hydroxyapatite crystals are a slightly curved finger-shape and that they cluster together to form a hand-like pattern, pressed on top of each other in twisted stacks, in a similar form to collagen. These twisted structures keep our bones strong and support the functions of our bones in our body.
Another study in 2002, found calcite microcrystals in the pineal gland of our brains and that these calcite microcrystals are biologically significant because they have various, specific mechanisms and biological functions within the pineal gland of the human brain.
On the other hand, you have pathological crystals that can develop in the human body. For example, kidney stones. Kidney stones are formed inside the kidneys, made up of minerals and salts that crystallize in any part of the urinary tract. These minerals crystallize and stick together which create the “stones” which are difficult to pass through the kidneys to the bladder and need to be treated so that no permanent damage happens in the human body.
There’s also gout crystals, which form in and around the joints, causing lots of pain and swelling to the affected person. This is when there is an excess of uric acid in the blood, that the kidney has failed to filter out of the body. This then builds up around joints and creates sharp crystals and cause the joints to become inflamed and painful which need to be treated with corticosteroids and dietary changes to prevent uric acid from building up in the body again.
I’m guessing when you were searching for this you weren’t referring to the microcrystals defined above, but the crystals that look pretty. To the crystal enthusiast, these pretty rocks supposedly give of “healing energy”. These are all pseudoscientific theories and I can tell you right now that there is absolutely no scientific evidence that crystals heal the brain or the body If anything it’s just a placebo effect due to how much the person believes in the non-existent healing power of the crystals.
MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a superbug (bacteria) that is resistant to many different antibiotics and is difficult to treat and needs a specific treatment regimen to ensure that the bacterium has been cleared from the body. Fancy “healing crystals” aren't going to treat MRSA, the right treatment at a hospital under the eyes of educated healthcare professionals will.
In 2016, there was an outbreak of the Zika virus, and I wrote a condensed blog post on the Zika virus. If you like these short blog posts, check out One Paragraph Science and let me know if you’d prefer to see these mini-articles or longer articles in the comments below.
The human body remembers pain, and retains that information (as a memory) so it can tackle it and prevent it once it experiences it again - in a very similar way to a white blood cell, which retains memory B-cells of a virus it has cleared, so the next time it sees it within the human body, the body is automatically immune to it and the immune system will not have to use much effort to fight the virus again. You can also read my psychology-themed blog post answering this question here...
This blog post contains 5 FACTS ABOUT ANTIHISTAMINES and also good links to other sites which include information about antihistamines - the medications that prevent allergies from manifesting by blocking histamine receptors in the body.
Honestly, your questions have reminded me of many blog posts I had forgotten I had even written and I’ve also learnt a lot about lemon crystals (which I didn't know existed) and also new electron microscopy research which has shown us microcrystals in the body. This is all because my blog is called Crystals and Catalysts, so every search query that mentions the word “crystal” within it leads to my blog - and I’m definitely not complaining about that if it means that more people will visit my science blog! Please keep your questions coming so that I can answer more of them in my 300th blog post!