Working alongside other essential substances like proteins, fats, and minerals, vitamins are a crucial element of any well-rounded diet and are necessary for sustaining a healthy human organism. The folks at MedAlertHelp conducted research and produced an interesting infographic which suggests that lack of these nutrients could lead to serious health issues.
However, despite the indisputable importance of these organic substances, it appears we've reached a point where we take for granted the fact that we are well-informed and easily supplied with vitamins. And in this complete comfort we forget that, until relatively recently, we did not even possess a basic understanding of what vitamins truly are, let alone how they influence one’s health.
Sure, people throughout the ages have been able to associate better health with some kinds of food, like fish or fruit, but it was not until the start of the 20th century that vitamins were recognized as a critical part of an individual's well-being.
Life Before Vitamins Were Discovered
Different cultures throughout human history experienced different health conditions. While the reason for this may have been a huge mystery at some point, we now know that this was in large part due to specific vitamin deficiencies in certain geographical areas.
One of the best examples of such a phenomenon is the research that reveals how ancient Egyptians generally had reduced ability to see in low light because of a deficiency in vitamin A, a substance normally found in liver which was not a common part their diets.
Scurvy, a disease directly linked to the lack of vitamin C, is also a great example as there was a period when this illness was a significant concern. It wasn’t until 1749 that Dr. James Lind discovered that eating vitamin C-rich citruses, such as lemons and limes, prevented the condition.
History is riddled with examples of people suffering from various illnesses and eventually figuring out which foods can help prevent them. Why such strategies worked, however, was not solved until much later.
How Vitamins Took The Medical World By Storm
Major progress in the discovery and synthesis of vitamins began as early as the 1800s. However, it was not until the early 1900s that scientists stopped presuming all diseases were caused by germs and toxins.
In 1906, Frederick Gowland Hopkins, an English biochemist, presented a theory which postulated that neither man nor animal could live on a diet composed solely of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. While Gowland was not the first one to suggest such an idea, he did pave the way for further investigation of the active properties found in different foods.
Fast forward six years from Hopkins' claims, and we arrive at the doorstep of Casimir Funk, the first person to use the term “vitamins” regarding specific food qualities. Although his original hypothesis that all vitamins were nitrogen-containing amines was discredited over time, Funk's studies were critical in pushing the study of vitamins and nutrition forward.
What followed were significant leaps in comprehension, synthesis, and implementation of vitamins, and the entire outlook on medicine was never the same after these events.
Over the course of the next few decades, all of the currently known vitamins were discovered in an explosion of research and findings. These included vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K - vitamins under the name of F, G, H, I and J were also identified, but have all been reclassified over the years.
Our Modern Understanding Of Vitamins And The Effects They Have On Human Bodies
Half a century of intense study and exploration allowed us to acquire exceptional knowledge regarding vitamins and how more organic foods can do wonders for our health. Even though there have not been any pivotal breakthroughs regarding vitamins for a while, there are still more discoveries being made on a regular basis. That's why it's of crucial importance we perfectly understand what vitamins are and what roles they play in our body.
This is precisely the topic of the infographic you're about to read. It is a perfect place to start learning about vitamins if you'd like to deepen your knowledge of this particular field. It takes readers on a journey that explains what vitamins are, what they do to our organism, what the most common deficiency signs are, what the minimum intake should be for each individual vitamin, which food can provide a significant boost of vitamin levels, etc.
All in all, the infographic is a resource that covers all you need to know about vitamins in this day and age.
Nikola Djordjevic, MD, is Head of Content at MedAlertHelp.org. Coming from Serbia, Nikola is a doctor of medicine who started this project in 2018 out of his passion for helping others, particularly seniors. Apart from reviewing medical alert systems, he also writes a blog dedicated to health, aging, retirement, and other senior-related topics.