Lucy Wills woman who discovered Folic Acid – Google is celebrating Lucy Wills’ 131st birth anniversary. Lucy Wills, a woman who changed the face of preventive prenatal anemia for women all over the world.
Lucy is known for the discovery of ways to prevent prenatal anemia for pregnant women. She proved the importance of folic acid for pregnant women.
Who is Lucy Wills?
Lucy Wills, a leading English haematologist, was born on 10 May 1888. She performed seminal work in India in the late 1920s on macrocytic anemia of pregnancy.
Lucy once came to India and reached the Textile Industry of Mumbai. The pregnant women working there came to her and shared their problem of serious anemia.
Poor pregnant women in rural areas with inadequate diets were affected more by macrocytic anemia. The nutritional factor identified by Lucy Wills was shown to be folate, the naturally occurring form of folic acid.
Her observations led to the discovery of a nutritional factor in yeast which prevents and cures this disorder. Macrocytic anemia is characterized by enlarged red blood cells and is a deadly disease.
Lucy Wills attended the Cheltenham College for Young Ladies, one of the first British boarding schools to train female students in science and mathematics.
More to know about Lucy Wills woman who discovered Folic Acid
In 1911, she studied at Cambridge University’s Newnham College, followed by the London School of Medicine for Women.
She visited India to investigate anemia affecting pregnant textile workers in Mumbai, which was getting life-threatening.
She started experimenting to find ways to prevent this. She started her experiment by adding yeast extract through Marmite, a breakfast spread, to the rat diet. She also added this later to the diet of monkeys.
The extract improved the health of the monkeys. The extract was later identified as the folic acid. This discovery of Lucy Wills was named as the “Wills Factor”.
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Folic acid is now recommended for pregnant women, along with other important nutrients required for the pregnant woman such as iron and B12, Folic Acid is also a must-take recommendation for them. Folic acid plays an important role in prenatal prevention of anemia and other conditions.
Lucy Wills never married and spent the rest of her life travelling and researching the impact nutrition has on the health of pregnant women. She died on 16 April 1964.
Even in her seventies, Lucy Wills worked tirelessly and is an inspiration for people around the world.