In a rather bizarre case, a man from the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand says he likes to eat a kilogram of mud every day.
The 100-year-old Karu Paswan claims that he developed a taste for mud when he was 11. He initially started eating mud for survival as his family was very poor, but soon got addicted to it.
Speaking with ANI, the old man, who claims to be born in the early 20 century, said: "I was really frustrated with my financial condition, as I had to feed ten children. I wanted to die and hence started eating mud. But later I developed an addiction to it and now could not refrain myself from having it."
Karu's elder son, Siya Ram Paswan, told the reporters that the family members have tried to stop him from eating mud, but he has become so habituated that he apparently does not want to end the addiction.
"We tried to stop him a number of times, but he doesn't listen to us. He picks up pieces of mud from here and there and eats it," Siya added.
Surprisingly, Karu's weird food habit has not affected his health and he is fit and healthy even at 100.
The medical reason behind Karu's habit has not been verified yet but some medical experts credit it to pica syndrome in which people like to eat non-edible items such as dirt, paint, and metals, ANI reported.
What is Pica syndrome?
Pica syndrome is a disorder where people tend to eat items that have no nutritional value. In some instances, people have developed a habit of eating dangerous things such as knives, nails and hair.
According to a Healthline report, the disorder generally develops in children or pregnant women due to deficiency in iron, zinc, or other nutrient. It's temporary and generally ends with time.
Usually, people suffering from schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder, develop pica as a coping mechanism.
How can pica be treated?
There is no certain diagnosis for this syndrome but if a patient is honest with his/her doctor, it can be treated easily. Also, sometimes doctors get to know about the condition after reviewing a person's medical history, which can be confirmed after a blood test.
As of now there is no specific medication available for people suffering with pica syndrome but a simple multivitamin supplement may be an effective treatment in some cases, according to the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Possible complications related with pica
Eating mud or chalk can be dangerous but things such as knives and nails can prove fatal. Organ damage, parasitic infection, intestinal blockages or choking are some of the other complications associated with the syndrome.