D Is For Deficiency
Daniel Whistler was the first to write about rickets - a bone-deformity disease caused by a deficiency in vitamin D. Whistler first described the disease in a thesis he submitted to obtain his medical degree at the University of Leyden, which was submitted on Oct. 18, 1645. English physician Francis Glisson published the definitive text on the subject five years later. However, it took until the early 20th century for the nutritional reasons for the bone problems to truly be understood. In 1921, Sir Edward Mellanby wrote, "The action of fats in rickets is due to a vitamin or accessory food factor which they contain, probably identical with the fat-soluble vitamin." Interestingly, that substance, labeled vitamin D, was later found to be a steroid hormone, not a vitamin.
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