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November 2, 1918


JAMA. 1918;71(18):1487-1488. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600440039012

Not long after the demonstration that beriberi is a disease attributable to a deficiency of the dietary came the announcement that the nursing infants of mothers who were suffering from the malady might also exhibit the symptoms. Judging from the ordinary chemical analyses there was no reason to assume that the milk furnished by the victims of beriberi was deficient or unusual in its content of the ordinary nutrients. Fats, proteins, carbohydrate and mineral salts seemed to be present in the usual proportions. Soon it began to appear that milk is the carrier of something more than these familiar ingredients. Milk contains vitamins of more than one type. Evidently these may fail to be transmitted to the secretion under certain conditions of malnutrition in the lactating mother. Thus we are brought face to face with the unanticipated possibility that a product, milk, highly prized as an almost ideal food, may