Dam, Carl Peter Henrik


Danish biochemist Henrik Dam (1895–1976) discovered vitamin K while investigating the cause of why chicks on a fat‐free diet exhibited haemorrhages. In 1935, he concluded that the cause was a new fat‐soluble vitamin, and during the next years he and others studied the chemistry of the vitamin, its role in the coagulation process and its medical uses. In 1944, Dam received the Nobel Prize in medicine for the year 1943. After having stayed 1940–1946 in the United States, he returned to Denmark to take up a position as professor of biochemistry and nutrition science.

Keywords: vitamin K; Henrik Dam; Nobel Prize; Edward Doisy; cholesterol; blood; coagulation

Figure 1.

Henrik Dam, photograph from 1946. Courtesy of the History of Science Picture Archive, Steno Library, Aarhus University.


Further Reading

Almquist HJ (1975) The early history of vitamin K. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 28: 656–671.

Dam H (1935) The antihæmmorrhagic vitamin of the chick: occurrence and chemical nature. Nature 135: 652–653.

Nielsen H and Nielsen K (2001) Neighbouring Nobel: The History of Thirteen Danish Nobel Prizes. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.

Nobel Foundation (1964) Nobel Lectures: Physiology or Medicine 1942–1962. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Owen CA (1974) The discoveries of vitamin K and dicumarol and their impact on our concepts of blood coagulation. Mayo Clinics Proceedings 49: 912–917.

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Kragh, Helge(Nov 2014) Dam, Carl Peter Henrik. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0002762]