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December 10, 1927


JAMA. 1927;89(24):2044. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690240036015

Less than two decades have passed since the word "vitamin" was added to biochemical nomenclature. The name was given to one of the accessory food factors by Funk to indicate what he then considered its chemical nature as well as its physiologic indispensability. In 1906 Osborne and Mendel had shown that the white rat would thrive on properly supplemented mixtures of purified foodstuffs in a laboratory, and thus new possibilities in experimental nutrition were opened up. In the years immediately following, the pioneer investigators in this field were openly interested in accessory food factors and engaged actively in studies designed to demonstrate the existence and distribution of this more or less obscure and poorly defined class of substances. Although we are pleased to think that these early years of the twentieth century have witnessed the discovery and partial characterization of the vitamins, one needs only to study the literature in