MAY 2017
Photo: National Cancer Institute. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo: National Cancer Institute. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Vitamins - Building the Body and Fighting Disease
Get your vitamins
Who has not heard the words "You need your vitamins!" as a child? Vitamins help us grow up healthy and strong, so our parents told us, as they recited the vitamins' own peculiar version of the alphabet, which starts with 'A', and has a letter (sometimes with a number) to represent each of these essential nutrients. The Nobel Prize has acknowledged the importance of vitamins by awarding the seven scientists below. Several Nobel Laureates who have been awarded for other achievements have also performed research on the substances that continue to be as vital to our health today as they were hundreds of years ago. 
arrow Read about some important breakthroughs in vitamin research

Who discovered vitamins?
Find out in Sir Frederick Hopkins' lecture The Earlier History of Vitamin Research. In 1906, the British biochemist Frederick Hopkins demonstrated that food contains necessary "accessory factors" in addition to proteins, carbohydrates, fats, salts and water. In 1929 he was awarded the Medicine Prize for his work. 
arrow Read the lecture
Fruit bowl

Rice bowl
Vitamin B1
"White rice can be poisonous!"
In the 1880s, the disease beriberi reached endemic proportions in the Dutch colonies. Army surgeon Christiaan Eijkman had seen many victims of the disease, and thought it was caused by bacteria. His experiments with chicken and rice showed something else ?
arrow Read more about Christiaan Eijkman, beriberi and vitamin B1

Vitamin B12
The colour of blood
Anemia means that the amount of red blood cells in the blood is too low. After George Whipple showed that the formation of blood cells among dogs was stimulated by a diet rich in liver, in 1926 George Minot and William Murphy adapted this finding for people with the serious illness of pernicious anemia. This also shed light on the cause of pernicious anemia, a shortage of a substance that later proved to be vitamin B12, which is found in liver.
arrow Watch the three researchers at the 1934 Nobel Prize award ceremony
Drop of blood

Vitamin K
Coagulation vitamin
The discovery of vitamin K, the elucidation of its nature and its synthetic preparation are important medical discoveries. The 1943 Medicine Laureates Henrik Dam and Edward Doisy brought us nearer the understanding of the complicated process involved in the coagulation of the blood and of the vitamin K.
arrowRead more about their prize-awarded work

Save the chicken
This fast-paced desktop game relies on a keen knowledge of food containing vitamin B1 and good keyboard skills to save lives.
arrow Play the Chicken Farm Game

Monthly Quiz
From A-K
Vitamins in food play an essential role in maintaining health and preventing diseases. But how many vitamins are there?
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