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Dispatches from Vitafoods Europe 2012

A century of vitamins: “Casimir Funk changed the world”

By Shane Starling , 14-Jun-2012
Last updated on 14-Jun-2012 at 19:27 GMT

100 years ago the Polish biochemist Casimir Funk invented the term vitamins, and with it modern micronutrient science was born.

Funk showed vitamins were essential to maintain health, yet today, as vitamins turn 100, around two billion people in both the developed and developing world are vitamin-deficient.

It’s a situation companies like DSM are trying to change via various malnutrition and under nutrition battling initiatives such as SightandLife. They are also using the vitamin centenary to raise global awareness about micronutrient issues such as ‘hidden hunger’.

“Casimir Funk changed the world,” says Manfred Eggersdorfer, DSM Nutritional Products senior vice president in nutrition science and advocacy.

“He identified that vitamins are essential ingredients s in our diet and humans and animals need these vitamins for a healthy growth and for all body functions.”

I-nutrition

Eggersdorfer emphasised the importance of a good diet in the first 1000 days of a child’s life, as, “it cannot compensate it any more later on in life.”

“I expect that in the future … people can know what is their vitamin status and based on their knowledge what kind of diet they need, what kind of fortified food they need and then they can complement this with supplements to have the best intake.”

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