Vitamin D is a group of fat soluble vitamins. There are 5 types of vitamin D, but the major forms are referred to as D2 and D3 . It is a very unique vitamin because it is capable of being synthesized in the human body with exposure to the sun. There are many health benefits of vitamin D, including strengthening bones by aiding calcium absorption. A deficiency of vitamin D causes a disease called rickets, which softens the bones and can lead to deformity or bone fractures. It is no longer a common disease in developed countries, but is still a major problem in developing countries. If you have ever wondered who discovered this important vitamin, read on to find the answer.
Who discovered vitamin D?
Rickets was first described in detail by Francis Glisson in 1650, but the cause of the disease was not identified until much later. Two researches from the United States, called Elmer McCollum and Marguerite Davis discovered vitamin A in cod liver oil. It was noted that none of the dogs receiving the oil were suffering from rickets. This led to the thought that vitamin A cured rickets. However, when Elmer McCollum tested cod liver oil with the vitamin A removed the dogs suffering from rickets still recovered. He named his new discovery vitamin D for the 4th letter of the alphabet (vitamin D was the 4th vitamin discovered). Research continued on this substance and it was eventually discovered that a certain form of vitamin D is created in the human body through exposure to sunlight (UV light). Thanks to the hard work of the scientists working on the discovery of vitamin D rickets is virtually eliminated from developed countries.