Distribution of the Vitamins and Quantities Required




CHAPTER
V distribution of the
vitamins and quantities required

B-Factor.

The observations
of Eijkman and other investigators of beri-beri made possible a rough
classification of food­stuffs into those preventing and those not preventing
beri-beri (p. 24). Further knowledge was needed, and the work of standardising
the antiberi-beri, or, as it is sometimes called, antineuritic, value of common
food­stuffs was begun by Cooper at the Lister Institute in 1913, and extended
in 1917 by Chick and Hume working at the same Institute. The pigeon was
selected for the test bird, instead of the fowl, as it suffers sooner from
beri-beri and is more easily cured. Two kinds of experi­ments, preventive and
curative, were made. Pigeons fed on highly-milled rice without the addition of some
protective food-stuff lose weight and develop severe symptoms of polyneuritis
in 15 to 20 days, soon followed by complete paralysis and death. The preventive
value was determined by making a series of experiments in which different known
amounts, such as 0-5 grm., 1 grm., 2 grms., etc., were added. If at the end of
60 days the pigeons showed no signs of polyneuritis, protection was considered
to be good. In the curative experiments the birds were fed with polished rice
until severe symptoms developed;   a
measured quantity of some special food-

55



56   VITAMINS AND THE  CHOICE OF FOOD

stuff
was then given and the least amount required to effect a cure determined. A
most remarkable feature of polyneuritis is the rapidity with which the
paralysis disappears if it has been of only short duration.

The work of Chick and Hume was of an urgent
character,
for our armies in the East were suffering
from beri-beri and a remedy was required immediately. Few of the foods tested
by Cooper were practicable for army use in Mesopotamia,
and of the many tested by Chick and Hume only one could be used. This was a
special com­mercial preparation of yeast extract sold under the name of
Marmite. It was found that 1*5 to 2 grms. of this extract rapidly cured a test
bird. It was difficult to gauge the quantity required by man, but the maximum
quantity of the yeast preparation available was reserved by the makers for the
armies in the East, and a consign­ment was sent out every month. To ensure that
the men actually ate their ration it was made up with pea-flour in the form of
a tablet pleasantly flavoured, so that it could be eaten either dry or
dissolved as soup. The presence of the antiberi-beri substance in many food­stuffs
has also been tested by workers in America
and the Philippines,
but few of these tests were of a quantitative nature.

Protective Value of Various Food-stuffs against
Polyneuritis (Beri-beri) in a Pigeon.

 

 

Minimum Daily

Minimum Daily

Food-stufl.

Ration to Prevent

?n_ j „f„~                                   Ration to

Foodstuff.                                 VkwbX.

 

Polyneuritis.

Polyneuritis.

Yeast
Extract

I'ogrm.

Ox Heart Muscle        .    5-o grm*.

Wheat
Germ, free from

Ox Brain      .       .      
.    6-o    ,,

bran

.    1-5 grms.

Sheep Brain        .       .  
12-0   

Pressed
Yeast

.      2"5     ..

Beef Muscle        .      . 
20*0   

Lentils,
whole

.    3'°    ..

 

Egg
Yolk     .       .

.        ..

Cow's Milk, more than 35      

Ox
Liver

.    3'°    ..

Wheat Bran, free from

Barley,
unhusked

    37   »

germ, more than     .    2-5   

Barley,
husked    .

.    5"°    ..

Cheese, more than      .    8*o  
,,

Peas     .      
.

    5'°   .,

Fish Muscle, more than lO'O   



DISTRIBUTION OF THE VITAMINS      
57

Curative Dose for a Pigeon with Polyneuritis.

 

Food-stuff.

Dose.

Food-stuff.

Dose.

Rice
Germ l

0-5-1-0

grms.

Dried Vegetables, com-

 

Yeast
Extract

1-5-20

,,

mercial, alcohol ex-

 

Maize
Germ

10-3-0

,,

tract ....

40 grms

Wheat
Germ

2-5

,,

Egg Yolk (= 4 yolks)

60   

Pressed
Yeast

3-0-6-0

it

Fish   Roe,    hard,  
of

 

Malt
Extract,'

 

 

Turbot, alcohol ex-

 

samples i and 2

5 0-7-0

t*

tract ....

   

Dried
Whole Egg

2"0

,,

Spring Greens, alcohol

 

Dried Lentils, alco-

 

 

extract     ;

120    ,,

hol extract

20-0

,,

Raw Beef, alcohol ex-

 

Dried
Peas  .

"

tract
.... Potatoes, 
alcohol ex­tract ....

140    ,, 3SO  
..



Wheat Bran, stone-ground, contained
some germ ....

Wheat Bran, roller-milled, free from
germ     .....

Dned Dates, alcohol extract   .

Malt Extract *

Meat Extract, commercial sample   .

" Maconochie Ration,"
alcohol ext.

Potato Peelings     ....

Dried Currants, alcohol extract



5 grms., sofnetimes cured.

 

5    ..

26   

If                                 1

did not cure

IO     m

If             *l             11

IO    
,,

11          it          11

44°     .

630     ..

60    

11          11          ij 11          if          11 i>          Ii          if



From
the above data a useful table 3 has been compiled showing
approximately the relative antiberi-beri value of some common natural
food-stuffs (weight for weight) ; the value of wheat germ being taken as ioo.



Food-stuff.

Rice Germ Wheat Germ Lentils

Yeast, Pressed Egg Yolk Ox Liver . Peas,
dried Wheat Bran Beef Muscle Potatoes



 

Antiberi-beri

Percentage

Value.

of Water.

200

10-13

IOO

IO-I3

80

 

60

70

70

70

40

12

25

IO-I3

II

75

4'3

80



The
supply of the antiberi-beri substance in the diet of man is thus derived
principally from seeds of plants and eggs of birds.

1 The
Rice Germ was picked out by hand from the unmilled grain
in the laboratory, a most laborious process.

2 Notice the different value for
malt samples.

* Report of Medical Research
Committee on Vitamins.



58   VITAMINS AND THE CHOICE OF FOOD

The quantity factor must also be considered from another standpoint.
Birds kept without food but receiv­ing water eventually die of starvation
without any signs of polyneuritis; the period of survival in this case exceeds
the average period in which polyneuritis develops on a diet of white polished
rice. It would therefore appear that the antiberi-beri substance is required in
greater amount while food is being taken in, digested and assimi­lated, and the
functions of the body are in full activity. In other words, the requirement for
this substance is proportional to the rate of metabolism. The work of Braddon
and Cooper indicated that the amount of the antiberi-beri substance required is
proportional to the total fuel value of the food, particularly to the amount of
carbohydrate in the diet. McCarrison found the addition of butter injurious if
the diet were deficient in B-factor. Plimmer and Rosedale found an increased
amount of cod-liver oil in the diet of birds caused loss of appetite and loss
of weight unless the amount of B-factor were increased proportionately.

C-Factor.

Scurvy became a serious hindrance to military opera­tions in Mesopotamia, and an immediate appeal was made by the Army
authorities to the scientific world. The utmost credit should be given to Miss
Chick and her colleagues and to Professor Harden for their prompt help with
practical suggestions and demonstrations to prove that what was known to
scientific workers could be applied successfully. Laborious feeding experiments
on animals were at once begun at the Lister Institute and carried through as
quickly as possible, so as to form a standard of comparison of the
antiscorbutic value of different food-stuffs. The traditional and official
antiscorbutic remedy, preserved lime-juice, which had failed repeatedly in
practice, also failed in experimental



DISTRIBUTION OF THE VITAMINS               59

tests
upon guinea-pigs (see p. 151). Suitable alterna­tives were suggested; the most
practicable for Army use was germinated pulse (peas, beans, lentils, etc.). The
dry seeds could be sent any distance, kept for con­siderable periods and
germinated as required; moreover, the Indian troops, who were the greatest
sufferers from scurvy, were large eaters of pulse, so that it was a measure
which could be adopted without involving any change in the food supply. Other
seeds, such as wheat, barley and rye, were equally suitable for the purpose.
The seeds, of course, must be in a natural condition, neither milled,
decorticated nor split. The seeds were soaked in water for twenty-four hours
and then kept moist with access of air for one to three days until they
sprouted. Subsequent cooking must be for a short period, not more than twenty
minutes.

The
methods used at the Lister Institute were essentially the same as those of
Hoist and Frohlich, but the animals were fed on a scorbutic diet of oats, bran
and sterilised milk to which was added the food-stuff to be tested. The
experiments of Chick and Hume were especially designed to determine the least
daily quantity of various foods required to maintain health and prevent scurvy.
Since the quantities were quite unknown at the start, numerous experiments had
to be carried out at the same time. For instance, in order to test the
antiscorbutic value of cabbage on guinea-pigs, the animals were fed in groups
on 1 grm., 2 grms., 5 grms. and 10 grms. respec­tively of cabbage daily in
addition to the basal diet. The animals were kept separately so as to be
certain that the special food was all taken, and if necessary it was given by
hand. Scorbutic symptoms on the basal diet alone usually appeared about the
twentieth day, followed by a rapid decline and death about the thirtieth day.
If tiie addition of a special food-stuff prevented the appearance of symptoms
for 90 days, a period three times the fatal period, it was considered to give
complete protection.



60   VITAMINS AND THE  CHOICE OF FOOD

The symptoms of scurvy in guinea-pigs are tenderness and swelling of the
joints due to haemorrhages. The animals avoid unnecessary movement and assume
unnatural postures, such as lying on the side with a painful limb held
twitching in the air (Fig. 15). The teeth become so loose that hard food cannot
be eaten. If partial protection is given by the test food-stuff, the animal may
live long in this condition, recovering slightly from the initial decline in
weight and depression of spirits. Post-mortem examination of guinea-pigs which
have died of scurvy, show many features resem­bling the disease in man;
haemorrhages may be seen in any part of the body, especially in the limbs and
intestine; the ribs and long bones are often swollen and fractured.

Individual variations in susceptibility are always found; 1 grm. of raw
cabbage daily may be sufficient to protect most guinea-pigs, yet a few show
signs of scurvy on this amount. The smallest daily quantity which ensures
health is termed the minimal daily quantity. This quantity gives a standard of
comparison for the antiscorbutic value of different foods. The minimal quantity
required by a guinea-pig gives no indication of the daily quantity needed by
man. Budd has related that sailors on a voyage to Madras in 1794, which took
six months, had a ration of two-thirds oz. of lemon-juice every day; a few men
showed signs of scurvy, but this disappeared on increasing the quantity. The
Navy ration, issued in 1840, of 1 oz. of lemon-juice daily afforded complete
protection. The minimal daily dose for man is thus about 1 oz. of lemon-juice
daily. It is therefore possible to translate the minimal daily quantities of
various food-stuffs required to prevent scurvy in guinea-pigs into the
corresponding values for man by the use of simple proportion.

The minimal daily quantity of lemon-juice for the guinea-pig is i-5
ex., and of cabbage boiled for one hour is 5 grms.; the minimal daily quantity
of lemon-juice for a man is 1 oz.; he would therefore require 3-3 oz. of boiled
cabbage daily. Data for other food-stuffs can be calculated in the same way,
thus:—



c                                                                      d

Fig. 15.—Guinea-pigs
suffering- from scurvy showing painful limbs in a, c, " face-ache
" position in b, d (Delf).      Reproduced by kind permission from the Biochemical
Journal,
1918,12, 444.   (Cambridge
University Press.)



 



DISTRIBUTION
OF THE VITAMINS



61



Protective Value of Various Food-stuffs against
Scurvy.1

 

Food-stuB.

Minimal Daily Ration for

 

 

Guinea-pigs,

Man

Monkey

 

(tested by Chick

(calculated).

(tested

 

and co-workers).

 

directly).

Cabbage,
raw

i*o grm.

o-6
oz.

 

Lemon-juice
.

.    1-5 c.c.

(1 oz. known)

 

Orange-juice

    i-5   
..

I'O OZ.

i "5 c.c. (tested by Harden and
Zilva).

Swede-Turnip
juice

.    2-5   

i-6  

 

Preserved
Lemon-juice    5-o    ,,

33    »

 

Germinated
Lentils

.    5-0 grms.

33    ..

 

Germinated
Peas

.    5'°   
..

3*3    ..

 

Cooked
Cabbage

 

 

 

(boiled half-hour)

    5-o  
..

33    ..

 

Runner Beans, green

 

 

 

pods

    5-°   ..

3-3    ..

 

Fresh
Lime-juice .

.  10 c.c.

6-6   

'

Carrot-juice  .

?  20   

i3"3   ..

 

Beetroot-juice

  20  
,,

133   /.

 

Apple-juice   .

?
20    >.

133    ..

 

Grape-juice   more than 20    ,,

133    ..

 

Bananas.

.
20 grms.

133    ..

 

Raw
Meat-juice   .

.
20 c.c.

133    ..

 

Potato   .

20 grms.

133    ..

 

Milk     ..

. 100-150 c.c

about 3-5 pts.

100-150 c.c.

(tested
by-Barnes and Hume).

The minimal daily quantity for a monkey has been tested in the case of
orange-juice and of milk. It is curious that although there is a great
difference in the size of a monkey and a guinea-pig, their daily require­ment
of the antiscorbutic substance is practically the same. They differ in the
period the disease takes to develop on a scorbutic diet, fifteen to twenty days
in the guinea-pig and two months in the monkey.

A-Factor.

The standardisation of food-stuffs containing A-factor has not been
worked out with the same detail as in the case of B- and G-factors. Drummond,
from experiments on feeding rats, has tabulated certain fats according to their
approximate value in A-factor as compared with butter, to which he has assigned
the value 10.

1 These are the quantities required when
there is no other anti­scorbutic food-stuff in the diet. Allowance must be made
for loss of antiscorbutic value if the food is cooked or if not absolutely
fresh.



62   VITAMINS 
AND  THE  CHOICE 
OF FOOD

Animal
Fats.
Butter, average sample, approximate value
as source

of A-factor     
.....                                       10

,,     from
grass-fed cow
.....                                       10

     from cow after two weeks' winter
feeding  .  8

Cod-liver-oil,
average sample        .        .       
.        . 10

Beef fat, subcutaneous         .....                                     6-8

Horse
fat   .        .       
.        .        .       
.        .        . 6-8

Dog fat, subcutaneous...... 6-7

Pig fat, from round the kidney     ....                       5-6

    
subcutaneous        
.....                                     1

     „ refined
= lard      
.....                                        o

Mutton fat.................................................................... 2

Vegetable Oils.

Palm oil, very dark..............................................     3-4

Maize oil, bright yellow       .....                                        2-3

Linseed oil         
.......   1-2

Cotton-seed oil  
:......     1

Peanut oil ........       1

Olive oil    .......            0-1

Sesame oil         
.......      0

This
system of classification cannot be regarded as very satisfactory. Butter is an
unsuitable fat to take as a standard because it is so variable in its A-factor
content. Cod-liver oil is here only assigned an equal value with butter,
although crude cod-Hver oil is found by experience to be far more potent than
butter. Zilva and Miura esti­mated that cod-liver oil is 250 times richer in
A-vitamin than butter. Other workers have confirmed the superior value of the
butter and milk of grass-fed cows to that of artificially fed cows. The leaves
of green plants have been shown to be rich in A-factor. It appears to be formed
in green tissues. Seeds and fruits contain small amounts. See Appendix. In
general Drummond has shown that animal fats contain much more A-factor than
oils prepared from the seeds of plants; the amount of A-factor in animal fats
varies with the food of the animal, and the amount in vegetable oils varies
with the method of refining.

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