Lucy Wills (1888-1964)

white lineLucy Wills was a British physician who discovered in the late 1920s and early 1930s that something in yeast cured macrocytic anemia.  Called the “Wills Factor,” the substance was later identified as the B vitamin folate.

Wills had been asked to study the causes of anemia in poor pregnant women, usually textile workers, in Bombay, India. Through testing in rats, monkeys, and humans, Wills determined that a factor in yeast, which was not vitamin B-12, brought immediate relief to the women.  She returned to England and worked as a pathologist until her retirement in 1947.


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