Vitamin A

Historical note In ancient Egypt and Greece, physicians recommended the liver of an oxto cure night blindness. Although this could be interpreted as applying the liver locally, it could also refer to ingesting some, which would have provided a good source of vitamin A and proven to be a cure for night-blindness caused by deficiency (Shils 2006). Modern day scientific research into vitamin A began in 1 91 3 with its discovery at both Yale and Wisconsin Universities. Researchers at both sites independently noticed that the substance could promote survival and growth of young animals. Since then, each decade has brought important new discoveries about vitamin A. The period from the 1 960s to 1 980s was particularly fruitful, as several proteins essential for transport and metabolism of vitamin A were isolated and purified. During the 1980s another major discovery was made when a link between childhood mortality and subclinical deficiency was identified. Vitamin A research continues to interest a wide spectrum of researchers and influence public health initiatives.

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