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 History of vitamin C

The water-soluble vitamin C is probably the most well-known vitamin. Even before its discovery in 1932, physicians recognized that there must be a compound in citrus fruits preventing scurvy, a disease that killed as many as two million sailors between 1500 and 1800. Later researchers discovered that man, other primates and the guinea pig depend on external sources to cover their vitamin C requirements. Most other animals are able to synthesize vitamin C from glucose and galactose in their bodies.
c. 400 BC Hippocrates describes the symptoms of scurvy.
1747 British naval physician James Lind prescribes citrus fruits and fresh vegetables to prevent and cure scurvy.
1907 Scurvy is experimentally produced in guinea pigs by Holst and Frohlich.
1917 Bioassay developed by Chick and Hume to determine the anti-scorbutic properties of foods.
1930 Szent-Györgyi demonstrates that the hexuronic acid which he had first isolated from pigs' adrenal glands in 1928 is identical to vitamin C, which he could extract in large quantities from sweet peppers.
1932 In independent efforts, Haworth and King establish the chemical structure of vitamin C.
1932 The relationship between vitamin C and anti-scorbutic factor is discovered by Szent-Györgyi and at the same time by King and Waugh.
1933 In Basel, Reichstein synthesizes ascorbic acid identical to natural vitamin C. This is the first step towards the vitamin's industrial production in 1935.
1937 Haworth and Szent-Györgyi receive the Nobel Prize for their research on vitamin C.
1970 Pauling draws world-wide attention with his controversial bestseller "Vitamin C and the Common Cold".
1975-79 Experimental studies in vitro illustrate the antioxidant and singlet oxygen-quenching properties of vitamin C.
1979 Packer and coworkers observe the free radical interaction of vitamin E and vitamin C.
1982 Niki demonstrates the regeneration of vitamin E by vitamin C in model reactions.
1985 The worldwide requirement for vitamin C is estimated at 30,000-35,000 tons per year. Today it amounts to120,000 tons per year.
1988 National Cancer Institute (USA) recognizes the inverse relationship between Vitamin C intake and various forms of cancer and issues guidelines to increase vitamin C in the diet.
1989 Recommended Daily Intake (RDA) of 60 milligrams for the average healthy adult was established - The Food & Nutrition Board of the National Research Council (USA). This was the first time the RDAs had taken into account the importance of environment and lifestyle factors in establishing the need for a vitamin.
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