The discovery of vitamins (vital amine)

In 1911, the Polish chemist Casimir Funk He made one of the most influential biomedical discoveries of all time.

He learned that a disease called beriberi affected those who ate a mainly white rice diet, but not those who ate mainly brown rice. He isolated a chemist from rice bran, showing that he could prevent beriberi, and called it "vitamin" (from "vital amine", name suggested by Max Nierenstein a friend and reader of biochemistry at the University of Bristol.)

Vitamins and health

Now we call that compound discovered by Funk as vitamin B1. It is one of the many essential nutrients that the human body cannot produce in sufficient quantities and that we must obtain from food.

Casimir's progress led to similar discoveries, including compounds that prevent scurvy and rickets. In 1920, Jack Cecil Drummond He proposed that the final "e" (vitamine) be deleted to downplay the reference "amine", when researchers began to suspect that not all "vitamins" (in particular, vitamin A) had an amine component.

The initial success in the identification, prevention and cure of nutritional deficiencies naturally led to the idea that dietary supplements were good for everyone (An idea, in any case, debatable if we do not suffer from any kind of disease). Science now recognizes about a dozen vitamins that are needed for normal cell function, growth and development.
Image | Gonmi