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History of Vitamins

The Englishman, William Fletcher, first discovered vitamins in 1905. He determined that if specific factors in foods were removed, disease would result. These factors were later termed vitamins.Doctor Fletcher researched various causes of the disease Beriberi when he discovered that unpolished rice prevented the disease, but polished rice did not. He believed that there were special nutrients located in the husk of the rice and he was right.In 1906, Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins also discovered that some of these factors were important to health. In 1912, the Polish scientist Cashmir Funk named these factors at “vitamine.” These include “vita” which means “meaning life” and “amine” which is from the compounds found in the thiamine he was able to isolate in the husks of rice.After this time, there were numerous vitamins discovered. Vitamin A was discovered in butter as a fat-soluble nutrient. It was first synthesized in 1947.Casimir Funk discovered Vitamin B1 in 1912. Elmer V. McCollum discovered vitamin B around 1915-1916. The America Conrad Elvehjem found niacin in 1937. Lucy Willis discovered Folic Acid in 1933. Paul Gyorgy discovered vitamin B6 in 1934. The B vitamins provide people with a wide variety of benefits including healthy skin, acne prevention, heart disease prevention and energy.A very important vitamin was discovered in 1747, long before people recognized the nutrients in citrus foods as a vitamin. The Scottish naval surgeon James Lind recognized that citrus foods contained a component that prevented scurvy. It was later discovered by A. Hoist and T. Froelich and Vitamin C and was later artificially synthesized in 1935.Vitamin D was discovered in 1922 when Edward Mellanby was researching a disease called rickets.Vitamin E was also discovered in 1922, when University of California researchers found it in green, leafy vegetables.Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that has been found to be essential in the diet and excellent for the heart. The structure of this antioxidant was first described chemically in 1958, but it was not until later in the 1960s that the production of CoQ10 was mass-produced.The history of vitamins shows us that many of the vitamins we require in our diets were not discovered until the past century. These nutrients are vitally important in our diets and it is interesting to learn that for many years we did not realize how important these components really were or what they were.

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