Timeline of nutritional supplements

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This is a timeline of nutritional supplements.

Sample questions

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Big picture

Time period Development summary More details
Before 20th century The concept of metabolism is already discovered in the 18th century by Antoine Lavoisier. By the early 1800s, the elements of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen, the main components of food, are isolated and soon connected to health.[1] "Dietitians and nutritionists first worked in hospitals in the late 19th century as the role of good nutrition in health began to be accepted. "[1]
20th century (first half) Era of vitamin discovery "The first half of the 20th century witnessed the identification and synthesis of many of the known essential vitamins and minerals and their use to prevent and treat nutritional deficiency related diseases including scurvy, beriberi, pellagra, rickets, xerophthalmia, and nutritional anaemias."[2] "Until the 1930’s vitamins were obtained only through food intake. The vitamin B complex and Vitamin C were the first vitamins to be sold."[3] "The first vitamin pills were marketed in the 1930s, and created a new industry around science-based health products. "[1]
20th century (second half) "By the mid-20th century all major vitamins had been isolated and synthesised"[2] "In the 1920s, vitamin A and C sales surged as the public began to believe that if a supplement contained vitamins, it contained other miraculous chemical compounds as well. This let to vitamin B2 surging in the 1930s. " "By the 1950s, many multivitamins were sold and promoted in stores to be kept on the dining table for meal times."[4] "By the middle of the 20th century vitamins were widely available as inexpensive food supplements and additives."[3] "Supplement usage traces all the way back to the mid-20th century. After synthesizing and isolating all the types of vitamins our body needs to survive, clinicians began looking to address health issues through single vitamin supplements." [5] "The 1960s therefore saw an explosion of bodybuilding supplements"[6]
1970–1990 "The increasing modernization of agriculture in the 1970’s to 1990’s, as well as the rise in commercial retail stores selling prepackaged food led to a dramatic change in people’s diets including a lack of nutrients. To fill this gap more people started to turn to dietary supplements."[5] " Vitamin and mineral supplement use by the U.S. population has been a growing trend since the 1970s"[7]
21st century The interest in supplementation significantly increases in the early 2000s, particularly the role in combating diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cancers.[8]

Numerical and visual data

Google Scholar

The following table summarizes per-year mentions on Google Scholar as of September 19, 2021.

Year "nutritional supplement"
1960 7
1970 12
1980 49
1990 134
2000 651
2010 2,030
2020 4,530
Nutritional supplement gsch.png

Google Trends

The chart below shows Google Trends data for nutritional supplement, from January 2004 to September 2021, when the screenshot was taken. Interest is also ranked by country and displayed on world map.[9]

Nutritional supplement gt.png

Google Ngram Viewer

The comparative chart below shows Google Ngram Viewer data for nutritional supplement and dietary supplement from 1900 to 2019.[10]

Nutritional supplement ngram.png

Wikipedia Views

The chart below shows pageviews of the English Wikipedia article nutritional supplement, from July 2015 to August 2021.[11]

Nutritional supplement wv.png

Full timeline

Year Event type Category Details Location/Researcher affiliation
196 AD "One of the first written texts covering the use of ginseng as a medicinal herb was the Shen Nong Pharmacopoeia, written in China in 196 AD."
1696 Haarlem oil is invented by Claes Tilly and is marketed as a cure for many ailments.[12][13] Netherlands
1770 "The concept of metabolism, the transfer of food and oxygen into heat and water in the body, creating energy, was discovered in 1770 by Antoine Lavoisier, the “Father of Nutrition and Chemistry.” "[1]
1770 Cod liver oil, rich in vitamin D, is first advocated for the treatment of tuberculosis.[14] Derived from liver of cod fish (Gadidae), today it is a dietary supplement.
1827 P.J. Turpin isolates spirulina from a freshwater sample.[15]
1832 Creatine is first identified when French chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul manages to isolate it from the basified water-extract of skeletal muscle. He would later name the crystallized precipitate after the Greek word for meat, κρέας (kreas). France
1849 German chemist Adolph Strecker becomes the first to isolate choline from pig bile.[16][17] Today, choline chloride and choline bitartrate are used in dietary supplements. Germany
1862 Choline is discovered by Adolph Strecker.[18]
1866 Mellin's Food "Mellin's Food Company was a maker of Mellin's Food for Infants and Invalids in Boston, Massachusetts. The company started when the English food chemist Gustav Mellin developed an infant formula in 1866. Mellin's formula was a simplified version of one which had been recently invented by the German chemist Justus von Liebig"[19] United States
1876 Glucosamine is first prepared by Georg Ledderhose by the hydrolysis of chitin with concentrated hydrochloric acid.[20][21][22]
1879 Riboflavin is originally recognized as a growth factor and named vitamin B2 according to the British nomenclature system.[23]
1890 Discovery Algae Unicellular alga Chlorella vulgaris is discovered by Martinus Willem Beijerinck as the first microalga with a well-defined nucleus. It is mainly used as a dietary supplement or protein-rich food additive in Japan.[24] Japan
1892 Gomont discovers the aseptate form of the Spirulina genus and the septal form of the Arthrospira genus.[15]
1897 "Beriberi is a disease that is caused by B1 (Thiamin) deficiency. According to Healthline, there are two types of this disease: wet and dry beriberi. Wet beriberi affects the heart and circulatory system, and dry beriberi damages the nerves and may lead to loss of muscle strength or paralysis. Beriberi was discovered in 1897 by Christiaan Eijkman, a Dutch physician, and pathologist. He demonstrated that beriberi is caused by poor diet, and discovered that feeding unpolished rice to chickens helped to prevent beriberi."[18]
1897 Scientfic development Vitamin B1 Thiamine is discovered.[25]
1899 Scientfic development Genistein is first isolated from the dyer's broom, Genista tinctoria; hence, the chemical name. The compound structure would be established in 1926, when it is found to be identical with that of prunetol. It would be chemically synthesized in 1928.[26]
1890s "Produced in Germany but subsequently marketed in Great Britain, Plasmon was the nutritional supplement par excellence. Emerging in England in the late 1890s, Plasmon soon took the lifting community by storm"[6]
1905 Carnitine is first extracted from meat extracts. It is used by athletes for improvement of exercise performance, inhibit muscle cramps, or enhance recovery from physical training.
1911 Organization Milk formula Nurse Laura Smith in Glasgow establishes Sister Laura's Infant Food Company to market a special milk formula of her own invention.[27] United Kingdom
1911 Product launch ". Beginning in 1911 and continuing until the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, Sandow’s cocoa was used by gym goers, the general public and even doctors to treat illnesses."[6]
1912 "In 1912, scientists began trying to resolve the issues and discovered that food contained more than three nutrients. Originally, these were called “accessory substances” which later changed to the term “vitamine” on scientific papers, which then again changed to the word we all know today, the vitamin."[4]
1912 Scientific development Vitamin " Casimir Funk, coined the term “vitamine” in a 1912 scientific paper, and the word later became “vitamin.” Funk, who is credited with discovering vitamins, proposed the idea that various diseases could be cured with nutrients and during the next few decades"[28] "Catherine Price in her book ‘Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food’ revealed that mention of “vitamins” first appeared in print in June, 1912."[28] " In 1912, a Polish doctor, Casimir Funk, coined the term “vitamins” as essential factors in the diet. The term vitamin—first called “vitamine”—comes from “vital” and “amine,” because vitamins are required for life and they were originally thought to be amines—compounds derived from ammonia."[1]
1912 Vitamin "In 1912, E.V. McCollum, a U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher at the University of Wisconsin, began using rats instead of humans in his experiments rather than cows and sheep. He found the first fat-soluble vitamin, Vitamin A, and discovered that rats were healthier when they were fed butter rather than lard, as butter contains more Vitamin A."[1] United States
1913 Vitamin " Casimir Funk in 1913 came up with idea of a “vital amine” in food, originating from the observation that the hulk of unprocessed rice protected chickens against a beriberi-like condition.5 This “vital amine” or vitamin was first isolated in 1926 and named thiamine"[2]
1916 Vitamin " Mastin’s Yeast Vitamon Tablets, created in 1916, were a leading product of the day and likely most like today’s multi, with vitamins A, B, and C, iron, calcium, and Nux vomica, a homoeopathic remedy for heartburn. "[4]
1919 " In the United States, the Public Health Service began including dietitians in PHS Hospital staffs in 1919 after World War I, to help monitor and improve the health of World War I veterans, and became increasingly involved in the nation’s health care system and beyond, into the private sector."[1]
1922 Product launch Poly Pop is introduced as ihe first juice-type powdered drink mix, invented by Paul Stevens Hollis.[29][30]
1922 Vitamin E is first described by Herbert M. Evans and Katherine Bishop.[31][18]
1922 ". In 1922, multivitamin-type products were advertised for relief from pimples, blackheads, boils, constipation, malnutrition, nervous deficiency, physical breakdown, brain fog, general debility, run-down conditions, to “loosen up the slime and accumulated bile and clean the system,” to improve energy and digestion, and help weak, malnourished people gain weight."[4]
1926 Scientific development " The first vitamin was isolated and chemically defined in 1926"[28] "This “vital amine” or vitamin was first isolated in 1926 and named thiamine"[2] "Thiamin was isolated in 1926 by Barend Jansen and Willem Donath"[18]
1928–1932 Scientific development Vitamin Hungarian biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi isolates Vitamin C and definitively documents, for the first time, this vitamin as a protection against scurvy.[2].[18][8] Hungary
1929 Scientific development Danish biochemist Carl Peter Henrik Dam discovers Vitamin K and its association with blood coagulation.[18] Denmark
1933 "Vitamin C’s chemical structure was deduced completely in 1933 by Norman Haworth"[18]
1934 Product launch Australian industrial chemist and inventor Thomas Mayne develops Milo whoile working at Nestlé.[32] Australia
1934 Organization Vitamin and supplement company Nutrilite is founded by Carl Rehnborg.[33] United States
1934 Scientific development Vitamin B Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is first isolated from egg whites.[18][23]
1935 Scientific development Vitamin B Riboflavin is first synthesized.[23]
1936 Scientific development Vitamin E Vitamin E is biochemically characterized and named tocopherol.[31][18]
1936 Scientific development Vitamin B German-Dutch Biochemist Fritz Kogl and his graduate student Benno Tonnis at Ultrecht University identify vitamin B7 (biotin).[18] Netherlands
1936 "Dietary flavonoids were first discovered by Nobel Prize laureate Albert Szent Gyorgyi in 1936, and they are widely recognized for their potential beneficial effects on human health."[15]
1936 "The name of this vitamin was “thiamine”; however, since then, it has been synthesized to vitamin B1 in 1936. "[8]
1937 "In 1937, clinical trials confirmed that niacin rapidly cured pellagra in people"[18]
1937 Vitamin 3 American biochemist Conrad Elvehjem identifies nicotinic acid in fresh meat and yeast. This compound, now known as niacin, is vitamin B3.[18] United States
1938 "In 1938, Popular Mechanics magazine noted the economic value of hemp, one mem�ber of the C. sativa taxon, as the new billion-dollar crop of the era"[15]
1938 Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is isolated by Samuel Lepkovsky.[18]
1939 "1939, Vitamin K was finally isolated by E.A. Doisy from hexane extracts".[18]
1940 "The discovery of Arthrospira was described by Sotiroudis. In 1940, a French physiologist named Dangeard had noted that the Kanembu people near Lake Chad consumed an algae cake called “dihé”, and these same algae populated a number of lakes in the Rift Valley of East Africa; it was the main food for the flamingos living around those lakes."[15]
1941 "As American men were called to serve during World War 2, a third were found to suffer from disabilities known to stem from poor nutrition. In response, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the National Nutrition Conference for Defense in 1941. From this, the first set of government-sponsored recommended daily allowances for six vitamins and two minerals."[4] United States
1941 "Vitamin B9 (Folate) was extracted and isolated from 4 tons of spinach in 1941 by Mitchell et al. The name was derived from the Latin word Folium for leaf."[18]
1941 Policy Vitamin By this time, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, D, calcium & iron are considered to be essential in the United States.[4]
1943 Product launch Vitamin The first one-a-day multivitamin is introduced.[4]
1948 Scientific development Vitamin B Vitamin B12 is isolated by two teams working independently in the United States and United Kingdom, from a substance in the liver named cobalamin.[18] United States, United Kingdom
1950 Geritol is introduced.[34]
1951 Product launch Bodybuilding supplement Irving Johnson begins advertising his own Hi-Protein supplement in the pages of Hoffman’s Strength and Health magazine.[6] It is arguably the first bodybuilding protein powder.[35] United States
1952 Policy General Japan introduces special nutritive foods into its policy, which consists in two categories: "foods that supply certain nutrients" and "foods that are suitable for a particular purpose".[15] Japan
1952 S-Adenosyl methionine "SAM-e was first discovered by Giulio Cantoni in 1952."[36]
1957 "Coenzyme Q10 was discovered in 1957 by Dr. Frederick Crane and his team."[18]
1958 "the FD&C Act defined food addi�tives and provided that they must undergo a premarket approval process unless they were considered to be gen�erally recognized as safe (GRAS)."[15]
1958 Bengal Punch is introduced.
1963 "TQ was first isolated in 1963 by El-Dakhakhny (1963) from black seeds using thin-layer chromatography."[15]
1964–1965 "During 1964–1965, a botanist named Jean Léonard reported edible cakes, “dihé,” being sold in native markets of Fort Lamy (now N’Djamena) in Chad. When Léonard rediscovered Arthrospira in Africa, the first systematic and detailed study of the growth requirements and physiology of Arthrospira was performed by Zarrouk, which was the basis for establishing the first large-scale production plant of spirulina."[15]
1965 Brand launch Sports drink, energy bar, protein drink Sports-themed beverage and food Gatorade is introduced. United States
1967 "In 1967, Arthrospira was established as a “wonderful future food source” for the world. Because no microorganism fulfilled its promise of being inex�pensive protein, Arthrospira continued to give rise to research and increasing production, reflecting its per�ceived nutritional assets."[15]
1968 By this time, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, D, calcium & iron, E, B6, and B12 & magnesium are considered to be essential in the United States.[4]
1969 Amylomaize "The food that the first American astronauts used on Apollo flights from 1969 to 1972 were coated with amylomaize film,[37] so that no crumbs would float around in the space capsule."
1969 Product introduction Vitamin Berocca is first launched in Switzerland. It is a brand of effervescent drink and vitamin tablets containing B vitamins and vitamin C.[38] Switzerland
1971 Pharmavite is founded.
1973 Ensure is introduced.
1973 "In 1973 FDA issued regulations that prohibited certain representations on vitamin and mineral supplement labels, established standards of identity for vitamin and mineral supplements, and established that preparations containing more than 150 percent of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (U.S. RDA) per serving were drugs (FDA, 1973)."[7]
1973 "In 1973, a company called MegaFood started making vitamins from real food and others began using plant-based ingredients rather than synthetic ingredients and artificial additives."[4]
1975 Product launch Sports drink Sqwincher is introduced. United States
1977 Sports drink Algas Calcareas
1977 Isostar is intriduced. Switzerland
1977 SlimFast is introduced.
1978 The Emergen-C product line is introduced.[39]
1980 Herbalife Nutrition is founded. United States
1980 Pocari Sweat launches. Japan
1983 Product launch CalorieMate is introduced in Japan. Japan
1983 Cyanotech is founded.
1984 The Japanese academia proposes the concept of functional foods.[15] Japan
1985 Product launch "Begun in 1985, the LDS Church began producing ATMIT, a specific formula for malnourished children and others who cannot digest regular food. ATMIT, taken from the Ethiopian word for "nourishing porridge," consists of oat flour, powdered milk and sugar, is fortified with vitamins and minerals. "[40]
1986 Sports energy gels emerge in the United Kingdom as a "convenient, prewrapped, portable" way to deliver carbohydrates during endurance events. United Kingdom
1988 Fibe Mini is launched.[41] Japan
1988 Sports drink Powerade is first introduced in the United States. It is commonly used by many athletes for the electrolytes and carbohydrates their body need to perform well and keep their body hydrated at the same time.[42] United States
1989 Product launch "AHCC was developed by Amino Up Chemical Co., LTD. and Dr. Toshihiko Okamoto (School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo) in 1989."[43]
1989 "Dr. Stephen DeFelice coined the term “nutraceutical” from the words nutrition and pharmaceutical and defined it as “a food (or part of a food) that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and/or treatment of a disease.”"[15]
1989 "there were widespread reports that some L-tryptophan supplements were associated with eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome"[7]
1990 Product launch Dietary supplement Dietary supplement Beano is developed by Alan Kligerman of AkPharma Inc. after research into gas-causing vegetables.[44]
1990 The United States Congress introduces the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) to address the increase of unsubstantiated claims of disease cure and erroneous advice despite medical and scientific knowledge of effects of certain substances on the human body.[45] United States
1991 Policy General The Food for Specified Health Uses (FoSHU) system is created in Japan by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare with the purpose to encompass functional foods.[15] FOSHU refers to foods containing ingredient with functions for health and officially approved to claim its physiological effects on the human body.[46] Japan
1992 Product launch Energy bar The Balance Bar is introduced.[47][48] United States
1992 Scientific development Amino acid Roger Harris and his colleagues discover that exogenous creatine administration enhances muscle and phosphocreatine content. Since then, creatine has becomes the most popular dietary supplement in the field of sport and exercise physiology.[49][50]
1992 "s. In 1992, an out�break of rapidly progressive renal fibrosis in Belgium involved at least 100 patients who were undergoing a weight-loss regimen that included the use of aristolo�chic acid-containing Chinese herbs. Approximately half of these patients required renal replacement therapy"[15]
1992 Organization Nutrition bar Clif Bar is founded.[51] Its flagship product, the Clif bar, is a soft and chewy energy bar made with wholesome organic rolled oats.[52] United States
1993 Product launch Fruit and vegetable juice extracts Juice Plus is introduced by San Marcos, California–based Natural Alternatives International. It is a branded line of dietary supplements containing concentrated fruit and vegetable juice extracts fortified with added vitamins and nutrients.[53] United States
1994 GU Energy Labs is founded.[54] United States
1994 "The only major US regulation related to nutraceuticals is the 1994 passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act by the US Congress. Based on this act, dietary supple�ments are classified as foods, not drugs, allowing them to be sold without proof of safety and effectiveness"[15] "Enter the ‘Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994‘, which is still current and which seeks to protect consumers from the dietary claims of supplement manufacturers. This Act provides that consumers have the right to know all dietary information contained in any food supplements before they purchase it, hence the comprehensive and accurate labeling that we see on labels today."[28]
1994 "The term dietary supplements was formally defined for US government offices in 1994 as a product (other than tobacco) intended to supplement the diet to enhance health that bears or contains one or more of the follow�ing dietary ingredients: a vitamin; a mineral; an amino acid; an herb or other botanical; a dietary substance for use to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake; or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any ingredient described in this list. Dietary supplements are further defined as products that are labeled as dietary supplements and are intended for ingestion in the form of a capsule, powder, soft gel, or gel cap, and not represented as a conventional food or as a sole item of a meal or the diet. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 defined both of the terms “dietary ingredient” and “new dietary ingre�dient (NDI)” as components of dietary supplements"[15] "The concept of medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) was introduced in 1994 by the American Dietetic Association"[55] " the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed into law in 1994, where it officially defines dietary supplements as “a product (other than tobacco) intended to supplement the diet that bears or contains one or more of the following dietary ingredients: a vitamin; a mineral; an herb or other botanical; an amino acid; a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake; or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any ingredient described.”"[5]
1994 Action Against Hunger / Action Contre la Faim (ACF) pioneers the use of milk formula F-100 for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition.
1995 Organization Weight loss/nutrition supplements Canadian weight loss and nutrition company Herbal Magic is founded.[56] Canada
1996 Japan introduces its nutrition labeling standards system.[15] Japan
1996 " the Medication Pass Nutritional Supplement Program was introduced in 1996 by Kerrigan, Maxwell and Siegel, later termed Med Pass program. This approach involves the distribution of low-volumes (60 mL or 90 mL) of a high-calorie, high-protein nutritional supplement, three to four times a day with medications. This method aims to prevent any disruption of appetite and is well tolerated by volume-sensitive individuals (Dillabough, Mammel, & Yee, 2011). "
1998 Medicinal plants The United States National Toxicology Program (NTP) holds an international workshop to evaluate research needs for the use and safety of medicinal herbs.[15] United States
1998 Organization Sports nutrition CytoSport is founded. Based in Benicia, California, it manufactures sports-oriented nutritional products.[57]
1998 The Ministry of Health of the People's Republic of China announces a category of food source called “new resource foods” (NRF), which includes purified ingredients or extracts of plants or animals that can be added to foods.[15] China
1998 "G. biloba leaf extract was nominated by the National Cancer Institute to the NTP for a 2-year chronic carcinogenicity bioassay because (i) ginkgo is a well�defined product and it or its active ingredients have demonstrated biological activities; (ii) it can be con�sumed in rather large doses for an extended period of time; and (iii) some of its ingredients are known muta�gens (NTP, 1998)."[15]
2000–2017 In the United States, retail sales of nutritional vitamins more than double in this period, from US$17 billion to over US$36 billion.[4] United States
2002 American sports nutrition brand Cellucor is introduced.[58][59] United States
2005 Product launch Ultra Rice is first made generally available. It is a grain product made to resemble rice and fortified with vitamins and nutrients.[60]
2008 Product launch Relaxation drink Slow Cow is introduced. It is a relaxation drink dubbed an "anti-energy" drink.[61][62] Canada
2009 Organization (private company) Sports nutrition Toronto–based BioSteel Sports Nutrition is founded.[63] It produces nutrition products for athletes and exercise enthusiasts.[64] Canada
2009 Product launch Ateronon is launched by Cambridge Theranostics Ltd, UK.[65]
2013 Triterpene Cycloastragenol is launched by Geron Corporation.[66][67] United States
2014 Organization Huel is founded in England. It provides nutritional bars, supplements and meal-replacement shakes.[68] United Kingdom
2014 Jimmy Joy is founded.
2015 The supplement industry in the United States is estimated at US$37 billion with more than 50,000 supplements on the local market.[8] United States
2018 March The New York Times estimates that in the United States alone, the nutritional supplement industry is worth roughly US$133 billion.[6] United States
2018 May "In May 2018, the EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS) adopted guidance on the evaluation of sources of nutrients and bioavailability of nutrient from the sources."[69]
2018 "In North America, tablets are the most popular method for supplement ingestion, commanding around $13.30 billion in revenue in 2018."[70]
2019 "In the U.S., the vitamin and supplement industry is worth a mouthwatering $35 billion annually; globally it was estimated to exceed $128 billion in 2019."[70]
2026 Projections estimate the dietary supplements market to be valued at US$349 billion by this year.[5][71]

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External links


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