Selection of vitamins, minerals and other food supplements, 1998.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
By the 1920s links had been made between vitamins in foods and diseases, demonstrating the need for a balanced diet. Food supplements were developed to make it easier for people to get their esential vitamins and minerals. In recent years there has been debate about the benefits of taking food supplements. Vitamins A, C and E are thought to prevent a number of disorders including cancer and heart disease, and vitamin C is also taken to ward off colds. Vitamin D and calcium are believed to be esential in the formation of healthy skin and bones, while B vitamins and folic acid are thought to regulate mood and prevent depresion and dementia. The manufacture of vitamins and food supplements is now a multi-million pound industry.