Medicine: Vitamin A for St. Hilarion

"From his thirty-first to his thirty-fifth year he had for food six ounces of barley bread and vegetables slightly cooked without oil. But finding that his eyes were growing dim and that his whole body was shriveled with an eruption and a sort of stony roughness he added oil to his former food. . . ."

The word "vitamin" is only 34 years old, and the vitamin fad is younger still. But this passage from St. Jerome's Life of St. Hilarion, written some 1,550 years ago and recently quoted by a letter writer to the British Nature, is an accurate description of...

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