100 Years of Vitamins


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For 100 years, vitamins have been nourishing children, building strong families and creating vibrant communities. In 1912, the term "vitamin" was coined to describe the bioactive substances proven to be essential to human health. Over the past century, we've seen remarkable advancements in our understanding of vitamins. Exciting new breakthroughs continue today as researchers around the world uncover new benefits vitamins have for human health.

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  • History and Discovery of Vitamins100 years ago, in 1912, Polish-American scientist Casimir Funk coined the term “vitamin” to describe the bioactive substances we now know to be essential for human health—a pivotal discovery that has contributed to a century of innovative research, improved health, increased vitality and a stronger, brighter global future. In the past century, we’ve seen remarkable advancements in our understanding of vitamins, and discovery continues today as research teams around the world uncover new scientific findings, which reveal ever-emerging benefits to our health.
  • In honor of the vitamin’s 100th anniversary, DSM and Sight and Life launched the year-long 100 Years of Vitamins Campaign to celebrate the century of contributions the vitamin has made in protecting human health. The campaign also seeks to raise awareness of the need to increase access to the essential vitamins required for all people to grow strong and stay healthy.
  • Vitamins play a vital role throughout the lifecycle for good health and disease prevention.Vitamins are essential for good health through every stage of the human lifecycle: from pregnancy through infancy and childhood and into adulthood and old age.Our bodies need vitamins to grow, to function, to stay healthy and to prevent the onset of disease.
  • Vitamins are essential organic micronutrients that we need in tiny quantities in order to grow, stay healthy and fight disease. Humans don't produce vitamins on our own, so we need to get them from our diet, or through supplementation or food fortification. There are 13 known vitamins – A, B₁, B₂, B₆, B₁₂, C, D, E, K, niacin, folic acid, biotin and pantothenic acid.Each vitamin has specific functions in the body, which makes each one unique and irreplaceable.
  • Micronutrient deficiencies occur when a population that may be consuming enough calories is not receiving enough micronutrients.These deficiencies are called “hidden hunger” – meaning that the deficiencies are not always outwardly visible.These deficiencies exist globally, in both developing and developed countries.One billion people—one in seven—suffer from hunger, a lack of access to adequate food. At least 2 billion people around the world experience hidden hunger.The most obvious victims are in developing countries, where people can’t afford or don’t have access to nutritious foods. They simply can’t buy the meat, fish, eggs, fruits or vegetables that would provide the vitamins and minerals they need. But even in the industrialized world, where an array of nutritious foods is more plentiful, shifting patterns of diet and lifestyle are leading to nutritional gaps.
  • A 2012 analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition, based on national vitamin intake data, suggests that three quarters of the populations in the United States and Germany (as well as the UK, not pictured) do not meet the dietary intake recommendations for a number of essential micronutrients.Public health experts in many countries have set guidelines and recommendations for daily intake of the 13 essential vitamins. These recommendations aim not only to prevent deficiencies, but also to achieve optimal health for the majority of the population.In the “traffic light display” above, we can see that for vitamins A, D and E, over 75% of both men and women in the United States do not get enough of these vital micronutrients. The intake inadequacy rates are less severe, though still alarming, for Germany.These inadequacies can have negative impacts on eyesight, bone strength and organ function. 100 years after the discovery of vitamins, this research highlights that population-wide vitamin intake inadequacies still exist even in the developed world, where plenty of food is available.How can vitamin intake inadequacies exist in such wealthy countries? Changing lifestyles mean we often do not have the time or opportunity to consume adequate quantities of nutritious foods. An increase in fast and convenience food with a low micronutrient density, combined with indoor living, may have an impact on the quality of a person’s daily diet, and therefore on their nutritional status and well-being.
  • One reason for inadequate vitamin intake in developed countries could be food deserts—areas where people have limited options to purchase fresh, nutritious foods. Many factors—from geography to transportation to the product selection at the local grocery store—contribute to whether a person lives in a food desert. One way to illustrate food deserts is by mapping regions where supermarkets are scarce. The map above, of South Dakota in the Midwestern United States, shows areas where supermarkets are 10 and even 20 miles away. The map is from a 2009 USDA report to Congress, "Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences.”
  • Micronutrient deficiencies have serious negative impacts on health, cognitive development and economic development. The impact of hidden hunger is huge: globally, stunted growth and anemia in children are major causes of health problems in later life, including the increasing prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases.
  • According to a WHO 2010 report on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), 36 million of the 57 million global deaths in 2008 were due to NCDs. And 29% of NCD deaths in low- and middle-income populations in 2008 occurred before the age of 60. Diet is an important modifiable factor that can help prevent the onset of NCDs.Source: www.who.int/gho/ncd/en/index.html
  • Addressing micronutrient deficiencies is key to solving many of today’s global challenges, from poor health to poverty. DSM, Sight and Life and many other organizations are committed to raising awareness of vitamin deficiencies and have developed several tailored solutions to help improve the lives of millions of people around the world – continuing to trial and test new products and programs that tackle malnutrition.
  • Exciting new scientific breakthroughs on vitamins continue 100 years after the term “vitamin” was coined.For example: MixMe micronutrient powder packets. These are ready-to-use vitamin and mineral mixes that can be sprinkled over a meal or a drink and provide people with their daily needs of essential vitamins and minerals they would not get with their poor daily diet.
  • Food fortification is the deliberate addition of essential micronutrients into a food.The fortification of staple foods—such as rice and wheat—is a simple, safe and cost-effective way to add essential micronutrients to food. It can increase the nutritional status of whole populations, especially in regions where diets consist mainly of staple crops.In addition to staple foods, products such as cooking oil can be fortified, adding nutrients to every dish.
  • Scientists use a variety of techniques (such as dietary intake surveys, biomarkers, analytical tools and imaging) to assess the impact that vitamin solutions like NutriRice and MixMe have on people’s health. These tools help researchers develop better and better products to deliver essential micronutrients to children who are otherwise unable to get the vitamins they need.Scientists also study how vitamins interact with the human body so that they can develop new ways to treat (and prevent) micronutrient inadequacies.
  • Some of the most significant public health successes of the past century are due to improving access to micronutrients.Increasing access to vitamins makes families and communities healthier and more prosperous.
  • 100 years after the term “vitamin” was coined, research teams around the world are uncovering new scientific findings, which reveal ever-emerging benefits to our health.One key trend in vitamin research is the study of how genes and vitamins interact, and the research tells us that genetic variations impact how we process nutrients.Much like how genetic variations determine eye color and blood type, they also determine how we process food and nutrients. What this means is that different people need different amounts of vitamins for optimal health, and some of this is genetically determined.The study of genes and vitamins, combined with the study of vitamins’ relationship with risk reduction for non-communicable diseases, can help scientists establish dietary intake recommendations that help all populations stay healthy and prevent disease. For example, diabetes patients with a certain genetic variation (the haptoglobin 2-2 genotype) have an increased risk of heart disease; just over one-third of Americans have this genetic variation. But a vitamin E supplement of 400 IU/day can bring their risk of heart disease down to almost the same level as the rest of the population. Another example of the interaction between genes and vitamins is that 30-50% of people can’t process beta-carotene into vitamin A as well as the rest of the population. That means a person with this genetic variation needs to consume more vitamin A in order to have the same amount in her body, protecting her eyesight and immune system.
  • As we commemorate the 100 years of vitamins, we look back at an amazing discovery, but also look forward to the critical role vitamins will continue to play in advancing the health and well-being of people globally.
  • 100 Years of Vitamins

    1. 1. 100 Years of Vitamins 1912 - 2012
    2. 2. 100 Years of Discovery• In 1912, Polish-American scientist Casimir Funk coined the term “vitamin.”• We’ve seen remarkable advancements in our understanding of vitamins.• Discoveries of the health benefits from vitamins continue today.
    3. 3. Campaign OverviewWe’re celebrating the century ofcontributions the vitamin hasmade in advancing globalhealth and prosperity.Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) have played avital role in protecting our health for the last 100 years,and they are key to solving our global nutritionalchallenges.
    4. 4. Vitamin BasicsVitamins play a vital role throughout the lifecycle for disease prevention, good health and wellness.
    5. 5. Vitamin BasicsVitamin A – Creates a clear viewB vitamins – Establish healthy growthVitamin C – Strengthens our defensesVitamin D – Builds a strong foundationVitamin E – Protects what we’re made ofVitamin K – Regulates blood flow
    6. 6. Vitamin Deficiency: Hidden Hunger• Deficiencies and inadequate vitamin intake still exist. • 1 billion people: not enough food • 2 billion people: not enough vitamins/minerals• This is a global problem. • Occurs in both developing and developed countries
    7. 7. Inadequate Vitamin Intake in the Developed WorldUnited States Germany
    8. 8. Food Deserts Difficulty purchasing fresh foods could contribute to inadequatevitamin intake.
    9. 9. Vitamin Deficiency: Impact• Hidden hunger negatively impacts individuals, communities and economies.• Malnourished children: • Never reach their full height or cognitive potential. • Are less able to fight diseases such as malaria, TB and pneumonia. • Do worse in school. • Earn at least 10% less as adults. • Are at higher risk of chronic diseases later in life.
    10. 10. Vitamin Inadequacies and Non-Communicable Diseases• 36 of the 57 million global deaths in 2008 were due to NCDs.• 29% of NCD deaths in low- and middle-income populations in 2008 occurred before the age of 60. – 80% of premature heart disease, stroke & diabetes can be prevented.• Diet is an important modifiable factor.
    11. 11. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency: Facts and Figures• Malnutrition contributes to more than 1 in 3 deaths of children under 5.• 1.2 million children go blind or die from vitamin A deficiency each year.• Iodine deficiency is the world’s leading cause of mental retardation and brain damage.• Iron, vitamin A and zinc deficiencies lead to diseases that are among the top 10 causes of death in developing countries.
    12. 12. Increasing Access to VitaminsWe cannot improve health and development without addressing micronutrient deficiencies.
    13. 13. Scientific Breakthroughs• Micronutrient powders are being distributed to countries across the world. • Ready-to-use vitamin and mineral packets • Sprinkled over a meal or a drink • Provide people with their daily needs of essential vitamins and minerals
    14. 14. Scientific Breakthroughs• Food fortification is improving the nutritional status of millions in both the developing world and the developed world. • Vitamin and mineral enriched • Retains nutrients after washing and cooking • Provides essential vitamins and minerals
    15. 15. Scientific BreakthroughsMarkers of Status & Health Insights on Mode of Action (MoA)• Dietary intake surveys • Molecular Biology• Biomarker • Transcriptomics• Analytics • Metabolomics• Imaging • Micronutrient-gene interactions (SNPs) To assess intake status of vitamins, explore their  Better understanding of MoA greatly help to impact on human health and non-invasively understand the role of vitamins in human health measure efficacy. and to explore and open-up new applications.
    16. 16. Access to Vitamins: ImpactVitamin ADistribution of vitamin A capsules hasled to a 25% reduction in deathsamong children under 5.Folic AcidFolic acid fortification of flour inseveral countries has led to a 50%decline in brain and spine defects.Investing in nutrition can increase acountrys GDP by 2-3% annually.
    17. 17. The Next 100 Years of Vitamins: How Genes and Vitamins Interact• Much like how genetic variations determine eye color, they affect how we process vitamins.• Different people need different amounts of vitamins for optimal health: • Diabetics with a certain genetic variation are at increased risk of heart disease. • Vitamin E supplements can reduce the risk of heart disease in people with this genetic variation.• Gene-nutrient research has a profound impact on dietary intake recommendations.
    18. 18. The Next 100 Years of VitaminsFurthering the science ofvitamins• So everyone, everywhere, has the opportunity to: • Nourish their families • Fight disease • Grow strong and healthy• So we can establish: • Healthy communities • Prosperous nations• So we can support a better global future
    19. 19. 100 Years of Vitamins: Learn MoreVisit www.100YearsofVitamins.comFollow @SightandLife on Twitter Tweet to the hashtag #100YearsofVitaminsLike our Facebook pagewww.Facebook.com/SightandLife