Did You Know? How Vitamins Are Named

Dr. Casimir Funk gets the credit for coining the term vitamin in 1912. Vitamins were originally called vitamines (short for vital amines), but when researchers realized the substances didn’t require amines, the term was shortened to vitamins.

In 1913, scientists decided to name vitamins that dissolved in fat the “fat-soluble A” vitamins and vitamins that dissolved in water the “water-soluble B” vitamins. And after that the vitamins were named in order of discovery, but scientists made a lot of mistakes and vitamins were reclassified. Here are “missing” F to J vitamins:

  • Vitamin F = reclassified as the essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6)
  • Vitamin G = reclassified as B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin h = reclassified as Biotin
  • Vitamin I = no known original naming
  • Vitamin J = found to be very similar to Vitamin G, which was reclassified as B2, so it is also now known as B2 or riboflavin.

However, vitamin K was named from the German term “koagulation”. And today, there is no formal naming system, so it’s anyone’s guess as to what the next vitamin name will be. Hope this helps you at your next trivia night.

BONUS: for those of you that prefer to watch, rather than read your info, here’s a fun video that also goes into how vitamins got their names: