VITAMIN B

By FLORENCE W. SPERRY,
B.S., M.S.
The disease beri-beri or a form of neuritis was known for a long time in the Orient, the men of the Japanese navy suffering from it. In 1897, Eijkman, a Dutch physician in the East Indies, noticed that fowls, subsisting on left over polished rice from a prison hospital, developed symptoms similar to those of the patients having beri-beri. Several investigators worked on the disease and its relation to the diet and in 1909 the U. S. Army Medical Commission in the Philippines, convinced that it was a nutritional disease, changed the diet of the men to include unpolished rice, and thus eradicated the disease. In 1902, Hulshoff-Pol showed that the anti-neuritic property could be demonstrated not only with the right food, but also with an extract made from it. However it was Funk who gave the substance its name of vitamine (later the e was dropped).
This anti-neuritic substance was found to be organic, containing nitrogen and sulphur. It is soluble in water and is more stable in acid than in alkaline solution. It has been separated from yeast and rice polishings in the form of its crystalline hydrochloride. Vitamin B is lost when food is refined, when the water food is soaked in is discarded, or when alkali is added to the food in cooking of canning.
Vitamin B is known now to be a complex substance, consisting of: the original or B1 (anti-neuritic vitamin); B2 which is also complex, consisting of Vitamin G (a riboflavin which is a growth promoting factor), B6 required by the rat (an anti-dermititis factor), P.O. factor which is (anti-pellagra in man and anti-blacktongue in dogs), and a new filtrate factor which is thought to be (anti-gray hair); B3 which is required by birds and is ( a weight maintenance factor); and B4 which is required by the rat and chicken and is (an anti-paralytic factor).
A lack of Vitamin B1, the vitamin under discussion, results in anorexia, weakness, loss of appetite, affects the rate of growth, and in some way is concerned with the metabolism of carbohydrate in the body and especially in the brain. Severe deficiency results in Polyneuritis or Beri-Beri.
Vitamin B is more evenly distributed in natural foods than is Vitamin A. Brewers yeast supplies all the B Vitamins. If ½ of the needed calories are taken as fruit, vegetables, milk, and eggs, and if ½ of the breadstuffs and cereals used are taken as whole grain, then according to Sherman, the diet will have an ample supply of Vitamin b.
Most investigators agree that the Vitamin B requirement is directly associated with the caloric intake. The minimum requirement of the adult is 10 international Units per 100 Calories and 1 ½ to 2 times this amount to furnish a liberal allowance. Rose recommends the daily intake of 30 Sherman-Chase Units per 100 Calories as a liberal allowance. For the average adult this means 750 to 900 Sherman-Chase Units or 250 to 400 International Units per day. This is well above the minimum requirement. A child’s requirement is more in proportion to the amount of calories. During pregnancy and lactation, 2 or 3 times the amount required by the normal adult should be taken.
The Vitamin B requirement is measured in International Units and Sherman-Chase Units. The latter is based on rat feeding experiments and is used by the Bureau of Home Economics, U. S. Department of Agriculture, in measuring the Vitamin B content of diets. Therefore the Vitamin B content of the foods listed is given in Sherman-Chase Units.

VITAMIN B CONTENT PER 100 GRAMS OF FOODS
Given in Sherman-Chase Units –(100 Units and over)
Units
Almond ………………………………………………………….. 100
Banana …………………………………………………………… 100
Bean (dried pinto) ………………………………………1,000
Bean (dried kidney) …………………………………….. 250
Buckwheat ……………………………………………………… 220
Chestnut …………………………………………………………. 110
Corn (dried white) ……………………………………….. 130
Corn (dried yellow) ……………………………………… 130
Egg ……………………………………………………………………. 50
Egg Yolks …………………………………………………………. 150
Fruits ……………………………………………………………. 20-40
Hazelnut …………………………………………………………. 220
Milk (fresh) …………………………………………………….. 20
Milk (dried) ……………………………………………………. 150
Oats ………………………………………………………………….. 135
Oyster ………………………………………………………………. 150
Peas (dried) ……………………………………………………. 140
Peanut ………………………………………………………………. 650
Pecan ………………………………………………………………… 100
Pork (lean) ……………………………………………………….. 370
Rice (brown) ……………………………………………………. 110
Roe …………………………………………………………………….. 140
Rye …………………………………………………………………….. 110
Soybean (dried) ……………………………………………….. 500
Vegetables (green) ………………………………………… 50-60
Wheat ………………………………………………………………….. 150
Wheat Bran ………………………………………………………… 200
Wheat Germ ……………………………………………………. 1,200

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