Tuesday, February 26, 2013

History of Thiamine

Thiamine was the first vitamin to be discovered. Kanehiro Takaki, a Japanese naval doctor, was the first to report that beriberi seemed to be a nutritional deficiency based on reducing the incidence of beriberi in Japanese sailors by giving them additional meat, dry milk and vegetables.

Christiaan Eijkman, a Dutch military surgeon, who traveled to the Dutch East Indies to study beriberi, in 1890s began to clarify the role of diet in the development of beriberi.

Eijkman discovered that a disease similar to beriberi occurred in birds that were fed a diet of steam-cooked polished rice, as opposed to crude rice.

In 1926, thiamine was the first B vitamin isolated, as a crystalline, water soluble, yellowish white powder with a salty, slightly nutty taste. It was crystallized from rice polishing by two Dutch scientists Barend Jansen and W. F. Donald as antineuritic vitamin.

By 1936 it had been synthesized and its chemical structure determined by Robert R. Williams which he named ‘thiamine’.

The discovery of thiamine revolutionized the management of wet beriberi because thiamine quickly reversed the cardiac manifestations of the disease.
History of Thiamine
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