The Hungarian Origin of Vitamin C


Did you know that it was a Hungarian-born scientist, Albert Szent-Györgyi, who was first able to pinpoint and isolate Vitamin C in citrus fruits, vegetables and paprika?

Szent-Györgyhad discovered that he could isolate hexuronic acid from oranges, lemons and cabbages which were believed to be rich in Vitamin C. He began to think hexuronic acid might actually be Vitamin C, so he injected it into guinea pigs with scurvy and they were cured! Unfortunately, he had no more purified hexuronic acid to repeat the experiment. One night, when Szent-György's wife served him red paprika for dinner, he realized that he had not tested the local Hungarian speciality. He rushed to the laboratory to perform tests and uncovered what he described as "a treasure chest full of Vitamin C." He extracted pounds of pure crystalline ascorbic acid within a few weeks, which he used to prove his theory. In 1937, Albert Szent-György was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries and contribution to science.