Casimir Funk: His Discovery of the Vitamins and Their Deficiency Disorders.

Summary of "Casimir Funk: His Discovery of the Vitamins and Their Deficiency Disorders."

The history of the discovery of vitamins is the history of their deficiency disorders. Their discoverer was Casimir Funk, who is considered the 'father of vitamin therapy'. In his experimental research, Funk studied the interrelationships in the human body of those elements that Eijkman had demonstrated in animals, particularly in birds. In his experimental research, Funk identified the dietetic factors whose lack caused the 'deficiency disorders', as he called human beri-beri, scurvy, rickets and pellagra. In 1911, he designated these factors 'vitamins' ('vita' = life, and 'amine' = a nitrogenous substance essential for life); this name was accepted by the scientific community in 1912.


Institute of Neurological Science-CNR, Mangone, Italy.

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Annals of nutrition & metabolism
ISSN: 1421-9697
Pages: 85-88


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A condition due to deficiency in any member of the VITAMIN B COMPLEX. These B vitamins are water-soluble and must be obtained from the diet because they are easily lost in the urine. Unlike the lipid-soluble vitamins, they cannot be stored in the body fat.

A condition due to a deficiency of one or more essential vitamins. (Dorland, 27th ed)

A condition produced by dietary or metabolic deficiency. The term includes all diseases caused by an insufficient supply of essential nutrients, i.e., protein (or amino acids), vitamins, and minerals. It also includes an inadequacy of calories. (From Dorland, 27th ed; Stedman, 25th ed)

A condition produced by a deficiency of CHOLINE in animals. Choline is known as a lipotropic agent because it has been shown to promote the transport of excess fat from the liver under certain conditions in laboratory animals. Combined deficiency of choline (included in the B vitamin complex) and all other methyl group donors causes liver cirrhosis in some animals. Unlike compounds normally considered as vitamins, choline does not serve as a cofactor in enzymatic reactions. (From Saunders Dictionary & Encyclopedia of Laboratory Medicine and Technology, 1984)

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