Vitamins and minerals

Albert von Szent-GyörgyiAlbert von Szent-Györgyi

Vitamins and minerals

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.


Two types of vitamins were discovered at first: the fat- soluable one was called A, the water-soluable one was named B. Further on, vitamins were named according to the subsequent letters of the alphabet.Two types of vitamins were discovered at first: the fat- soluable one was called A, the water-soluable one was named B. Further on, vitamins were named according to the subsequent letters of the alphabet.

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.

Did you know?

Green paprika contains much more vitamin see than citrus fruits. This was discovered by Albert von Szent-Györgyi, who was said not to prefer green paprika, so he hid the one he had received for dinner into his pocket and examined it in his laboratory, along with a number of other vegetables and fruits. He reached the solution the very same night, and he immediately knew that he had found the gold-mine of vitamin C.

Vitamin C molecule