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X Fact
August 24, 2020
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Vitamin B12 Turns Competitors into Colleagues

When Dorothy Hodgkin (1910-1994) was given a red vitamin B12 crystal to characterize by the Glaxo drug company , Merck & Company had given the same task to John G. White from Princeton University. The race was on to work out the structure of this complex molecule so the winning company could synthesize this life saving cure for Pernicious Anemia. "When we were dreadfully bogged down..." Hodgkin later commented, "... we went into collusion. I think we were regarded as totally unreliable by the firms to which we were attached and we ended up publishing jointly."  The structure of the largest molecule ever characterized had been solved by 1956 - by collaboration and not competition.

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Who Wrote This X Fact
Jonathan Bortz MD
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Jonathan’s background as a practicing diabetes specialist for 15 years and 17-year career developing nutritional prescriptive products for the pharmaceutical industry has contributed to his ability to understand nutrients, how they work and why they are important.

Over the years he has acquired broad and in-depth knowledge in minerals, essential fatty acids and other nutrients, but has special expertise in Vitamin B12 and choline metabolism. He is often asked to speak at national and international venues to articulate why B12, folate and choline are so important to gene function, brain development, liver and cardiovascular health. He applies pharmaceutical standards to nutrient science and has developed a unique ability to translate complicated concepts into simple promotional messages that resonate with practitioners and consumers. He has developed dozens of innovative nutritional products, of which many are category leaders in the US. Jonathan obtained his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in South Africa and did his fellowship in Endocrinology at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

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