2012 marks the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of vitamins. Learn how Vitamin Angels is bringing life-saving vitamins to at-risk populations.
Did you know that the word “vitamin” is 100 years old? That’s right—2012 marks the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of vitamins.
Vitamins were a groundbreaking discovery at the time, because before then, it wasn’t known that there were micronutrients that played a role in human health. The only known sources of nutrition were macronutrients, such as carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
The importance of vitamins
While most of us in developed countries have access to enough vitamins to prevent deficiency-related diseases (such as scurvy or rickets), many people in impoverished countries are not as fortunate. For these people—a large percentage of whom are mothers and children—vitamin deficiency-related illness, malnourishment, and even death are real threats. For example, according to a 2009 report, every year 450,000 children around the world die from zinc deficiency and 18 million infants are born with mental impairments because they didn’t receive enough iodine.
Vitamin Angels is an amazing organization dedicated to dispersing life-saving vitamins to at-risk populations. It reports that “In 2012, the Copenhagen Consensus panel of world-class economists ranked supplementation with micronutrients as one of the most cost effective measures in the alleviation of poverty.” It may seem astounding that such a simple solution can help so many people.
Celebrating 100 years
Vitamin Angels is one of the organizations celebrating 100 Years of Vitamins, a year-long commemoration of how vitamins help human health that also aims to raise awareness of how much work is yet to be done.