Henrik Carl Peter Dam
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1943
Born: 21 February 1895, Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: 17 April 1976, Copenhagen, Denmark
Affiliation at the time of the award: Polytechnic Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
Prize motivation: “for his discovery of vitamin K”
Henrik Dam received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1944.
Prize share: 1/2
In addition to carbohydrates, proteins and fats, our bodies need vitamins to function well. When Henrik Dam conducted experiments on chickens that were given food with a low fat content, he noted that they suffered from bleeding that took a long time to stop. In 1934 he showed that an addition of hempseed counteracted the bleeding and concluded that the seed contained a substance, vitamin K, that was needed for the blood to coagulate. This knowledge became especially important in treating bleeding among small children.