Brown rice, beri-beri and formulation of Vitamines

Casimir Funk (February 23, 1884 – January 19, 1967) was a Polish biochemist, generally credited with the first formulation of the concept of Vitamins in 1912 , which he called vital amines or vitamines.

After reading an article that indicated people eating brown rice were less vulnerable to beri-beri (a nervous system ailment) than those who ate only the fully milled product, Casimir Funk tried to isolate the substance responsible and he succeeded in 1912. Because that substance contained an amine group, he called it vitamine (vitamin). It was later to be known as vitamin B1 (Thiamine). He put forward the hypothesis that other diseases, like rickets(softening of bones in children potentially leading to fractures and deformity), pellagra( a vitamin deficiency disease), sprue ( an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine) and scurvy ( leads to the formation of spots on the skin, spongy gums, and bleeding from the mucous membranes )could also be cured by vitamins. The "e" at the end of vitamine was later removed when it was realised that vitamins need not be nitrogen containing amines.

He later postulated the existence of other essential nutrients, which became known as B1, B2, C, and D. In 1936 he determined the molecular structure of thiamin, though he was not the first to isolate it. He was the first to isolate nicotinic acid (also called niacin or vitamin B3).

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