Understanding food biochemistry has revolutionized nutrition by offering cures for dietary deficiency and malnutrition caused by lack of vitamins. Chemistry has made great advances in this field, as shown by examining the first vitamin to be understood.
In 1913 the first vitamin found in butter and egg yolks was vitamin A (beta-carotene), an essential nutrient for vision and the protection of epithelia. Its chemical structure was determined in 1931, and it was first synthesized in 1947.
Hungarian biochemist Albert von Szent-Györgyi isolated hexuronic acid (ascorbic acid)—known as vitamin C— from adrenal glands in 1928.
In 2001, the genetically-modified "golden rice", which produces pro-vitamin A, arrives in Asia to fight blindness and other deficiency diseases.
Vitamin C molecule