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Paul Gyorgy

  • National Medal of Science
  • Biological Sciences

For his discovery of three vitamins and related research that have greatly improved human nutrition.

In the 1930s, scientists discovered that young rats developed skin lesions when fed a diet with added thiamin and riboflavin – but no additional supplements. Paul Gyorgy, a Hungarian nutritionist, determined that a substance, later named Vitamin B6, cured the condition, called “acrodynia.”

Today, B6, found in whole wheats and numerous fruits and vegetables, is regarded as a valuable nutrient, known to improve metabolism and boost the immune system.

Gyorgy is also credited with identifying riboflavin, which helps the body produce energy, and biotin, which aids in processing fatty acids and glucose. In his later years, Gyorgy, driven to unravel nature’s secrets, turned his attention to the unique properties of human breast milk.

In 1974, the La Leche League International established an award in his name, honoring his advocacy for nursing over infant formula. “Human milk is for the human infant,” Gyorgy said, “cow’s milk is for the calf.”