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December 8, 1945


JAMA. 1945;129(15):1019. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860490031010

Since the definite claim for its existence was made about 1922, vitamin E has assumed several roles in metabolism. The first function associated with this food factor was in connection with reproduction; it prevents the resorption of fetuses in the female and testicular degeneration in the male laboratory rat maintained on a diet composed of purified food substances. Somewhat later a disease called encephalomalacia was produced in chicks restricted to a diet deficient in vitamin E. This condition appears to be associated with impairment of the blood vessels with the resultant cerebral ischemia. By this time vitamin E had been isolated and synthesized; the chemical name of alpha-tocopherol was given to it. Soon it was found that, in line with old observations in rats, paralysis could be reproduced in rabbits and in several other laboratory animals and this experimental muscular dystrophy is now recognized as still another sequel of a