Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Nikolai Lunin and the concept of vitamins

The concept of “vitamin” suggested in 1881 by Nikolai Lunin (1853-1937) and coined in 1911 by Casmir Funk (1884-1967), refers to a group of organic compounds that are in very small amounts, essential for the normal function of the human body, since most of them cannot be synthesized in the body tissue.


An early landmark leading to the recognition of vitamin as a dietary essential occurred in 1881, when Lunin demonstrated that mice could not survive on purified diets consisting of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and inorganic salts but would developed normally when milk was added. Lunin concluded that ‘a natural food such as milk must therefore contain small quantities of unknown substances essential for life’.

Despite the pioneer work of James Lind and Nikolai Lunin, many vitamin deficiency states were still thought to be of infectious origin, even in the early 1900s.
Nikolai Lunin and the concept of vitamins

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