Vitamin History


What are Vitamins ?

A vitamin is an organic compound and an essential nutrient that an organism requires in limited amounts. An organic chemical compound is called a vitamin when the organism cannot make the compound in sufficient quantities, and it must be obtained through the diet; thus, the term vitamin is conditional upon the circumstances and the particular organism. For example, vitamin C is a vitamin for humans, but not most other animals which make enough internally. Vitamin D is essential only for people who do not have adequate skin exposure to sunlight, because the ultraviolet light in sunlight normally promotes synthesis of vitamin D. While vitamin supplements are important for the treatment of certain health problems, otherwise healthy people generally receive no benefit from using vitamin supplements

Vitamins weren’t actually discovered until 1912, when Dr. Casimir Funk called active properties in unpolished rice husks “vitamines”. The “e” was dropped years later when it was discovered that vitamins were not nitrogen-containing amines. A year after Funk coined the term vitamine, scientists at Yale and the University of Wisconsin discovered the first vitamin when studying animal diets with butterfat and cod liver oil.


History Of Vitamins

The discovery of the vitamins was a major scientific achievement in our understanding of health and disease. In 1912, Casimir Funk originally coined the term “vitamine”. The major period of discovery began in the early nineteenth century and ended at the mid-twentieth century. The puzzle of each vitamin was solved through the work and contributions of epidemiologists, physicians, physiologists, and chemists. Rather than a mythical story of crowning scientific breakthroughs, the reality was a slow, stepwise progress that included setbacks, contradictions, refutations, and some chicanery.

Research on the vitamins that are related to major deficiency syndromes began when the germ theory of disease was dominant and dogma held that only four nutritional factors were essential: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and minerals. Clinicians soon recognized scurvy, beriberi, rickets, pellagra, and xerophthalmia as specific vitamin deficiencies, rather than diseases due to infections or toxins. Experimental physiology with animal models played a fundamental role in nutrition research and greatly shortened the period of human suffering from vitamin deficiencies. Ultimately it was the chemists who isolated the various vitamins, deduced their chemical structure, and developed methods for synthesis of vitamins. Our understanding of the vitamins continues to evolve from the initial period of discovery.The value of eating a certain food to maintain health was recognized long before vitamins were identified. The ancient Egyptians knew that feeding liver to a person may help with night blindness, an illness now known to be caused by a vitamin A deficiency. The advancement of ocean voyages during the Renaissance resulted in prolonged periods without access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and made illnesses from vitamin deficiency common among ships’ crews




Ivy gourd

In 1912, an English biochemist called Frederick Gowland Hopkins found unknown factors present in milk that were not fats, proteins or carbohydrates, but were required to aid growth in rats. Hopkins was later awarded the Nobel Prize (in 1929) for this discovery.

  •  Burning heat in stomac
  • Gas escaping from the bowels has a sulphours odor
  •  Urination painful, frequent at night, dribbling
  •  Lowerlip swollen
  •  Insipid and pappy taste in tongue
  •  Toothache better in cool, open air
  •  Mouth breathing and snoring
  •  Giddiness worse moving head from side to side or backward
  •  Night blindness
  •  Pain under ear, sharp, cutting pain, tension, stitches and piercing
  •  Nose obstructed with yellowish discharge
  •  Faceache aggravated in heated room
  •  Cough, mucus slips back and is generally swallowed
  •  Pulsation all over the body
  •  Pains shifting, wandering, flitting nature settling at one place
  •  Nervous pain with tendency to shif in locality
  •  Wakes up early and frequently
  •  Body temperature rises in evening and falls again




ASH GOURD is a good source of vitamin B1.

Later research on Eijkman’s “anti-beriberi factor” by Polish-American scientist Casimir Funk led to the coining of the word “vitamin” in 1912. By 1926, vitamin B1 was isolated and given the name thiamine. Eijkman was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1929 for his research around vitamin B1.

  •  Gastric Ulcer
  •  Weakness in left side under the heart
  •  Rectum burns and feels sore
  •  Mouth ulcer breath offensive
  •  Excessively dry tongue
  •  Bright red seam on the teeth gums
  •  Dry sore throat
  •  Headache with hunger
  •  Long-sightedness
  •  Discharges from ear with foul smelling
  •  Thick offensive discharge from nose
  •  Red hot burning face and forehead
  •  Bed wetting in childrens
  •  Chest very sore, cough from irritation
  •  Feeling of faintness and dizziness
  •  Body becomes stiff after rest
  •  Easily startled, Walking in sleep in children
  •  Excessive sweating with foetid odour






Kuhn, Gyorgy, and Wagner discovered Vitamin B2 as Anti-odema

  •  Vomiting of bile with bitter, sour taste, giddiness and headache
  •  Pain between right side stomach and thigh
  •  Burning during urination
  •  Bitter taste in mouth, full of slime Dirty, brownish-green coating slimy tongue
  •  Toothache better by cool air or cold water
  • Sore dry throat, feeling of a lump on swallowing
  •  Burning in top of the head, pain due to injuires on head
  •  Eyes sensitive to sunlight, yellow eyes.
  •  Ringing in ears as of bells
  •  Great dryness and burning in nose, nosebleed during menses
  •  Pain in cheekbone or malar bone
  • Rattling of mucus in chest due to damp weather
  •  Pains from hips to knees, spasms in the back
  •  Trembling of whole body, hands tremble on writing
  • Drowsiness in forenoon
  •  Tendency to warts around eyes, scalp, face, chest, anus, etc.







Hugo Weidel (1849) discovered Vitamin B3 as Anti-toxin

  •  Violent thirst, ravenous hunger and waterbrash
  •  Torn, bleeding, smarting feeling after stool is hard and difficult
  •  Involuntary urination while walking, coughing, etc.
  •  Cracks in lips, burning and painful
  •  Loss of taste, mapped stiff tongue with numbness
  •  Toothache with involuntary flow of tears or salivation
  •  Emaciated neck, great dryness of throat
  •  Dull, heavy headache, drowsiness and unrefreshing sleep
  •  Great dryness of lids with pricking, itching and burning; margins red
  •  Cracking in ears when chewing
  •  Stuffy nose with loss of smell and taste
  •  Sweating while eating
  •  Cough causes bursting headache
  •  Cold hands and numb extremities
  •  Backache relieved by lying on something hard
  •  Always tired and sensation of numbness in suffering parts
  •  Unrefreshing sleep constant and excessive desire to sleep
  •  Feels chill and thirsty at same time
  •  Effects of insect-bites, itching violently







Roger John Williams 1893 discovered Vitamin B5 as Anti-suppurative

  • Great thirst and appetite, burning pain in stomach
  • Intestinal ulcers, pain in region of liver and right of pelvis
  •  Red urine with hectic fever
  •  Raw sore of lips also inside, Gum boils
  •  Flabby dry clay coloured tongue
  •  Glums bleed on brushing teeth
  •  Sore throat discharging pus or yellow matter
  •  Giddiness with nausea on moving head quckily
  •  Discharge of thick, yellow matter from eyes
  •  Swelling and discharge of matter from ear
  •  Crust form, itching, obstructed and yellowish discharge from nose
  •  Pimples and pustules on the face
  •  Thick lumpy, white-yellow or pus-like secretions with cough
  •  Heart palpitation at night
  •  Burning-itching of soles of feet
  •  Neuralgia in aged persons
  •  Sleepy during the day, wakeful at night
  •  Evening fever chilliness begins in feet
  •  Skin affections do not heal readily







Paul Gyorgy 1893 discovered Vitamin B6 as Anti-anaemic

  •  Heartburn and flatulence even the smallest quantity of food
  •  Stool is hot, watery, profuse, offensive, noisy and sputtering
  •  Gravel, calculus, phosphatic sediments in urine
  •  Upperlip swollen and painful and dislike to open mouth
  •  Bitter taste in swollen, numb and stiff tongue
  •  Toothache with tearing, boring pain, worse at night
  •  Sore aching in throat, pain in every swallowing
  •  Scalp sore, tense, creeping, numbness; itching of scalp
  •  Spasmodic affections of eyelid, cannot use eyes by gaslight
  •  Difficult hearing, singing and noises in the ears
  •  Nasal discharge fluent in cold room
  •  Face complexion sallow, dirty, greasy-looking
  •  Frequent hawking to clear the voice
  •  Trembling weakness and parts feeling numb
  •  Rheumatism of the joints with cold or numb feeling
  •  Nervous sensation of crawling, numbness and coldness
  •  Hard to wake in the morning
  •  Copious night sweats
  •  Dry, cold and wrinkled skin become red itches after bath






Dean Burk 1904 discovered Vitamin B7 as Anti-spasmodic

  • Hiccough with retching day and night
  • Abdomen pain forcing patient to bend double
  • Stools dry, hard and dark brown, passed with difficulty
  • Constant urging to urinate when standing or walking
  • Convulsive twitchings of the angles of mouth
  • Tongue bright red, with rawness in mouth
  • Teeth very sensitive to touch or cold air
  • Painful swallowing with pain in back of head
  • Unconciousness and convulsive symptoms
  • Vision affected, sees colors before the eyes
  • Ear pain worse by going into cold air
  • Loss or perversion of the sense of smell
  • Shooting pain from right upper jaw to forehead and ear
  • Constriction of the chest, Heart action easily excited
  • Acute, boring, darting, neuralgic pains in any part of the back
  • Involuntary shaking of the hands, Twitchings all over body
  • Drowsiness, spasmodic yawning
  • Profuse sweat, Barber’s Itch






Karl August Folkers 1906 & Mary Shaw Shorb 1907 discovered Vitamin B12 as Anti-parasitic

  • Acidity, sour risings, vomiting sour fluids, sour-smelling stools
  • Habitual constipation, Itching of anus from worms
  • Acid or coppery taste in mouth
  • Golden-yellow coating at the back of tongue
  • Grinding teeth in children during sleep
  • Sensation of lump in throat, worse in swallowing
  • Intense pressure and heat on head as if it would open
  • Eyelids are glued together in the morning due to discharge
  • Roaring in ears, externally sore, burn and itching
  • Itching of nose with thick, yellow purulent discharge
  • White about nose or mouth, soreness of right lower jaw
  • Pains in chest, worse from pressure and deep breathing
  • Pain in heart, relieving pain in limbs, and great toe
  • Pain in knees, ankles and shins, in hollow and ball of foot
  • Body feels heavy as if paralyzed
  • Falls asleep while sitting
  • Exceedingly sour smelling perspiration
  • Itching all over body, much in ankle joints





James Lind by Chalmers 1716 discovered Vitamin C as Anti-oxidant

  • Vomiting of undigested food
  • Confined bowels, inability to expel feaces
  • Frequent uring
  • Stony hard swelling on the jawbone
  • Cracked tongue
  • Toothache with a looseness of the teeth
  • Uvula relaxed, causing irritation, tickling and cough
  • Headache with faintish nausea
  • Flickering and sparks before the eyes.
  • Copious, thick, greenish, lumpy, yellow nasal discharge
  • Hard sores on lips from cold
  • Cough with tickling sensation and irritation on lying down
  • Varicose or enlarged veins
  • Swelling or enlargements of joints
  • Weakness and fatigue all day
  • Fissures, chaps and cracks of the skin






Alfred Fabian Hess 1875 discovered Vitamin D as Anti-antilipeamic

  • Intolerance of alcoholic stimulants
  • Faeces recede after having been partly expelled
  • Urine loaded iwth pus and mucus
  • Perforating ulcer of the palate, corners of mouth
  • Sensation of a hair on indurated ulcer tongue
  • Loose teeth, gums painful on slight pressure
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Sweat on head constant need for wrapping it up
  • Sloughing ulcer with sticking pains in eyes
  • Sensitive to loud noise, ears open at times
  • Stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, and post-nasal drip.
  • Skin on the face cracks, caries and necrosis of the jaw
  • Cough worse at night when lying down
  • Joints pain in hips, knees and shoulder
  • Nervous weakness with desire to lie down
  • Talking and jerking of limbs during sleep
  • Copious sweat about the head, sensitive to cold air
  • Skin heals with difficulty and suppurates easily






Herbert McLean Evans 1882 discovered Vitamin E as Anti-inflammatory

  • Thirst for cold water, vomiting of undigested food
  • Inflammed and incarcenrated hernia
  • Urine spurts out with every cough
  • Redness of the mucous membrane of the mouth
  • Clean and furred red tongue
  • Teeth feel elongated noot close jaws without pain
  • Rush of flood to the head, illeffect of sun heat
  • Burning, sore and red looking inflammed eyes
  • Tension, throbbing and heat in ears
  • Nasal catarrh, nosebleed of bright red blood
  • Dark circles under eyes, cheek sore and hot
  • Loss of voice, hoarseness, huskiness after singing
  • Varicose veins
  • Shoulder pain attack one joint after another
  • Drowsiness in the afternoon, restless at night
  • Mechanical skin injuries, fresh wounds not suppurating







Edward A Doisy 1893 & Henrik Dam 1895 discovered Vitamin K as Anti-biotic

  • Fatty or rich food causes indigestion
  • Pain in upper right quadrant of the abdomen
  • Dark coloured urine with thik white mucus discharge
  • Swollen glands about jaw and neck
  • Grayish-white coated tongue
  • Pain on swallowing
  • Chronic headache
  • Feeling of sand in the eye
  • Deafness or earache from congestion and swelling
  • Thick white phlegm from nose
  • Faceache from swelling of face or gums
  • Hard cough, harsh and barking
  • Palpitation from excessive flow of blood to heart
  • Swelling around joints
  • Epilepsy
  • Restless sleep
  • Intolerance to chilliness
  • Burns, blisters, dry flour-like scales on skin