Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The origin of the term "vitamin"

It was the Polish scientist Casimir Funk who postulated that the compound that prevented the disease beri-beri was an organic compound with an amine group. He believed that other diseases like scurvy and rickets would also be cured and prevented by other vital amines in food.

He came up with the name ‘vitamines’, but this term quickly lost the ‘e’ when it became clear his hypothesis was wrong. Vitamin C, which stopped scurvy is an acid and vitamin D, which put an end to rickets is actually a hormone. So, you can thank Casimir for the enduring term vitamin.

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