It is asserted that, while man cannot synthesize any of the vitamins, a few animals are able to make one vitamin. In a few cases the animal is able to transform the immediate precusor of the vitamin (the provitamin) into the vitamin. It can complete but connot initiate the synthesis. Examples of this are the transformation of provitamin A (carotene} into A and the transformation of provitamin D (ergosterol) into D. In this respect, vitamins do not differ from the essential amino acids, the highly unsaturated fatty acids and the minerals. The plant kingdom is the true source of animal nutrition. Green plants on land and algae and other small plant organisms in the sea produce the world's vitamin supply. Man, like the cod and other animals, is capable of storing up vitamins in the liver and elsewhere.
Berg says: "The germs of seeds are especially rich in vitamins. In like manner the vitamin content of eggs, which are animal counterparts of seeds, is concentrated in the yolk." In potatoes the vitamins are in the eyes.
Foods that are richest in minerals are also richest in vitamins. Those portions of foods that are richest in minerals are also richest in vitamin. Processes that favor the assimilation and fixation of minerals, the production of fats, starches, sugars, etc., also increase the vitamin content of foods. Those "refining" processes that remove the salts from foods or that impair the nutritive value of the salts also remove and impair the vitamins. These facts may simply mean that anything that influences food influences vitamin production as much as sugar production or salt formation.
Vitamin B, in cereals, "seems to be closely associated with phosphorus. The determination of the total phosphorus content of cereal products seems to give a fairly accurate index to the relative amounts of vitamin B present. While phosphorus does not enter into the vitamin molecule, the dsitribution of phosphorus and vitamins within the grain runs practically parallel."
Darker colored vegetables have more vitamins. They are known to have more minerals. Sunshine favors vitamin storage. The green outer stalks and leaves of lettuce, cabbage, celery, etc., are more abundant in vitamins than the pale inner leaves and stalks. The green leaves of tubers possess more vitamins than the tubers.
The more sunlight fruits receive, the more vitamin C they "possess." Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, pineapples and other tropical fruits, requiring nearly a year of tropical sunshine to perfect their chemistry, are the best known "sources" of vitamin C. Fruits and vegetables grown under glass are poor "sources" of vitamin C. Among vegetables, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage and carrots are excellent "sources" of vitamin C.
Vitamins exist in connection with the processes of life in plants and animals and are more or less completely destroyed by whatever destroys the life processes. They are present only in very small quantities in those foods that are richest in them. Only two of them are considered to be likely to be deficient in the average dietary.
Dr. Percy Howe says: "Every refining process of which I can think at the moment is more or less destructive to at least some of the vitamins which were in the organized food materials. There are important vitamins in animal fats, such as butter, but rendering those fats into lard so completely destroys the vitamins that very serious consequenses result if an animal is fed for a long time upon a diet which contains no animal fat except lard."
Since butter is never rendered into lard, Dr. Howe must have reference to those fats which are so altered and refined. These fats also contain mineral salts and these are all taken out in the process of rendering the fats into lard.
Dr. A. Adams Dutcher, of the Department of Agricultural Chemistry, Pennsylvania State College, says: "Drummond and his co-workers, Golding, Zilca and Coward, have shown that lard does not usually contain the fat soluble vitamine, due to the fact that the ration of the hog is invariably deficient in this particular food factor." Lard is simply fat--refined fat. Lard couldn't possibly contain vitamins for the reason that it is such a highly processed fat when it leaves the rendering tank, following its treatment by heat, fuller's earth, clarifiers, bleachers, etc., it pours from the spout a so-called purified hydrocarbon, deficient in every food factor but the one factor found in all oils.
Dr. Dutcher says: "That the vital organs of the type represented by the liver and kidneys are rich in vitamins scarcely needs comment."
Dutcher further says: "It is possible to produce milk which is almost devoid of vitamins, depending upon the vitamin content of the cow's ration." Feed a cow upon beet pulp, which represents the exhausted residue of the beet sugar mill, after the makers have extracted the vitamins and salts of the tuber, and a deficient milk is the result.
One of the most popular dairy rations of the recent past was a mixture of beet pulp, brewer's waste and distiller's grain. These exhausted byproducts of brewery and distillery have been robbed of their vitamins. There is overwhelming evidence that malnutrition and anemia, leading to tuberculosis, have been the most common sequels of feeding cows on vitamin and mineral exhausted commercial foodstuffs.
When the tissues of the animal are robbed of the nutritional factors upon which they depend for tissue-tone, the milk of such animals is grossly deficient in the substances not present in the cow's food. Her milk is not normal. "Disease" is inevitable.
"Silage does not appear to enrich milk as far as the anti-scorbutic vitamin is concerned," says Dr. Dutcher. Silage is a fermented product and because it has undergone fermentation, it falls into the class of oxidized foods. Its whole chemistry is changed.
Dr. Dutcher also declares: "We have observed that green alfalfa seems to influence the nutritive value of the milk, increasing its nutritive properties, but in just what way we are not prepared to say." Good green alfalfa is one of the richest of plants in minerals and vitamins.