September 29, 1928


JAMA. 1928;91(13):962. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02700130040012

In biology, theories of modes of action are usually evolved on the basis of facts. Indeed, fact collecting is one of the early stages through which any science develops, and the current character of investigation in a given field is a fairly definite index of the degree of progress made up to that time. In nutrition the relatively brief history of the evolution of the vitamin hypothesis affords a good illustration of the foregoing principle. The definite postulate that accessory food substances existed was made in the first decade of the present century, and much of the research since that time has been devoted to gathering what might be called rather elementary facts. Extensive investigation has been made of the distribution of these poorly defined food factors; later the chemical characteristics were studied; then came the determination of the effects on various species of animals resulting from known vitamin deficiencies,

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