History of B-6

1905, the first scientist to determine that if special factors (vitamins) were removed from food disease occurred, was Englishmen, William Fletcher. Doctor Fletcher was researching the causes of the disease Beriberi when he discovered that eating unpolished rice prevented Beriberi and eating polished rice did not. William Fletcher believed that there were special nutrients contained in the husk of the rice.

1906, English biochemist Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins also discovered that certain food factors were important to health.

1912, Polish scientist Cashmir Funk named the special nutritional parts of food as a “vitamine” after “vita” meaning life and “amine” from compounds found in the thiamine he isolated from rice husks. Vitamine was later shortened to vitamin. Together, Hopkins and Funk formulated the vitamin hypothesis of deficiency disease – that a lack of vitamins could make you sick.

1926 Dr. Goldberger and coworkers feed rats a diet deficient in what is considered to be the pellagra-preventive factor; these animals develop skin lesions.

1934 Dr. György first identifies the factor as vitamin B6 or adermin, a substance capable of curing a characteristic skin disease in rats (dermatitis acrodynia). The factor is then called the rat anti-acrodynia factor, deficiency of which causes so-called “rat-pellagra”

1935 Birch and György succeed in differentiating riboflavin and vitamin B6 from the specific pellagra preventive factor (P-P) of Goldberger and his associates.

1938 Lepkovsky is the first to report the isolation of pure crystalline vitamin B6. Independently, but slightly later, several other groups of researchers also report the isolation of crystallised vitamin B6 from rice polishings (Keresztesy and Stevens; György; Kuhn and Wendt; Ichiba and Michi).

1939 Harris and Folkers determine the structure of pyridoxine and succeed in synthesising the vitamin. György proposes the name pyridoxine.

1945 Snell demonstrates that two other natural forms of the vitamin exist, namely pyridoxal and pyridoxamine.

1957 Snyderman determines the levels of vitamin B6 required by humans.

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