Saturday, 11 May 2019

The Marmite Effect

I am definitely in the "Love It!" camp. Marmite was in the news yesterday, because Google selected Dr Lucy Mills as the Google Doodle of the day. She was born on 10th May 1888 - and was a pioneer in the field of obstetric health. In the 20s and 30s she spent a lot of time studying pregnant women in India- and particularly those who developed anaemia and other health problems in pregnancy.
It was she who discovered the importance of folic acid in the diet - and that there was a nutritional factor in yeast which both prevented and cure this anaemia.
And that it could be easily introduced into the diet by eating Yeast Extract, aka Marmite.
Although I had extreme morning sickness throughout both my pregnancies, I was always able to manage a cup of tea and a slice of toast and Marmite!
Such a simple thing, yet this discovery has made a difference to millions of women and their babies the world over - and to others [male and female] who have suffered with anaemia. Well done Lucy! You deserve to be honoured - thank you for your hard work.
When she died in 1964, her obituary in the British Medical Journal said 
"The excellence of her work on tropical megaloblastic anaemia has long been recognised by nutritionists and haematologists. Every medical student has heard of its cure by her discovery of the Wills factor in yeast extract, which paved the way for the subsequent work on folic acid. It was one of the simple but great observations which are landmarks in the history and treatment of the nutritional anaemias.
Wills even in her seventies was always a tireless worker and seeing her example other people found themselves working harder than they had believed possible. Though impatient with laziness and with half-baked opinions, she was compassionate to other human failings. ... Her generosity and magnanimity, combined with outstanding ability and resolution, made friends of all who ever worked with her and found her worthy of profound respect and deep affection"


  1. Google doodles are brilliant at helping me find out about people I'd never heard of but whose work is so important. Thanks for all the extra info on Lucy Wills - a brilliant woman.

  2. You always teach me something Ang! I'd never thought about who invented Marmite! What a clever lady!

  3. Love it and eat it on toast every morning for breakfast.

  4. My mother used to enjoy Marmite, but I didn't much care for it.

  5. P.S. I am one of those that likes Marmite but doesn't love it!


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