Not long after the discovery that exposure of various types of foods to ultraviolet rays will endow them with antirachitic potencies, the "receptive" substance capable of becoming thus activated appeared to have been found. Independently, but at about the same time, it was ascertained by three groups of biochemists1 that the higher alcohol cholesterol, having the characteristics then known of the pure substance, was rendered antirachitic by exposure to ultraviolet rays. Meanwhile, as was recently pointed out,2 the earlier expressed suspicion that an impurity in the usually available samples of cholesterol may be the responsible factor concerned in the activation by ultraviolet rays has gained in importance. On the one hand, the evidence is increasing that cholesterol that is highly purified by chemical means loses the property of becoming antirachitic by irradiation; and, on the other, some success has followed the attempts to isolate and identify the effective
ERGOSTEROL, A PRECURSOR OF THE ANTIRACHITIC VITAMIN. JAMA. 1927;88(25):1969–1970. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02680510027012
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