Vitamins: Essentials for life

Vitamins: Essentials for life

In 1889, Dutch physician Christiaan Eijkman noticed that the hens were nourished with clean rice bran, which had a disease called "beriberi". In contrast, chickens fed with whole grains are not sick. BS. Eijkman argues that rice contains the antioxidant found in the bran layer. In 1911, Dr. Casimir Funk has identified an active substance that cures beriberi. This substance is called thiamin. The researcher suggested the name "vitamins" (Latin, which includes vita (life) and amine (the name of the chemical root).

Waiting until 1926, researchers newly isolated vitamin B1 and in 1936 new scientists synthesized this vitamin. At present, beriberi is almost gone, except for some poor countries.


Prior to this discovery, vitamin-deficient diseases were labeled by God at the time. Different manifestations of vitamin deficiencies such as blindness or rickets are present in the past due to mystical causes.

In 1917, scurvy was officially identified as a vitamin deficiency, which was vitamin C. However, in 1753, the Royal Navy doctor, James Lind, advised sailors to eat lots of oranges and lemons. Vitamin C is effective against scurvy, extracted from lemon and then identified by the Hungarian chemist in 1828, and synthesized in 1933. Vitamin C is used to treat scurvy, infectious diseases, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus. In 1929 Henrik Dam, a Danish biologist, found that hens fed a low fat diet and cholesterol had hemorrhagic syndrome. The vitamins were found not effective healing, only active ingredients extracted from green vegetables (spinach, cabbage) is effective. From there, researchers discovered vitamin K, which was extracted in 1934 and synthesized in 1939. The last vitamin discovered was vitamin B12 in 1948.

Each vitamin has a specific function for the body: vitamin A required for vision; B1 provides energy to the body; B2 helps with metabolism; B3 lowers cholesterol and plays a role in blood formation; B5 helps to regenerate cells; B6 involved in protein assimilation; B8 is involved in glucid and lipid assimilation; B9 helps to develop the function of the nervous system; B12 has anti-allergic and detoxifying effect; C has antioxidant and prevent the disease of nose and throat diseases; D is essential for the growth and development of bone; E required for cell growth; K needed for blood clotting and bone mineralization.

In essence, vitamins are considered as drugs

Why not have vitamin B4 or B7? This corresponds to the nutrients that the researchers consider to be new vitamins but ultimately not. So, what exactly is vitamin?

Vitamins are actually organic substances needed for metabolism but in very small amounts, which means they are catalysts, molecules that interfere with the process of chemical chain reactions that are not consumed, They still exist to the end of the reaction.

Scientists divide the vitamins into two types: water-soluble, not retained in the body; the excess is excreted in the urine (vitamins B and C); Fatty acids are stored.

Basically, vitamins are considered as medications and can be prescribed. Between 1987 and 1991, about 141 antipsychotics such as vitamin C were not covered by social insurance because they were considered unnecessary for treatment. At present, in France, only a few are covered like vitamin D because it is needed for children or vitamin B9 (folic acid) needed for pregnant women. Other vitamins are considered as functional foods.

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