The history of vitamin D discovery, industrial production and marketing

There is a new German dissertation about Vigantol (R) excellently written by Jochen Haas and just published at Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft “Vigantol, Adolf Windaus und die Geschichte des Vitamin D”. Altogether 425 pages, it contains a biographical sketch of Windaus (p 32-83), a detailed summary of the juristical questions about irradiating ergosterin (p 96-154), a detailed history of the pharmaceutical production (p 155-238) and finally a chapter about marketing of different brands by Merck (p 238-281).
There are many interesting details in this book of which I had the pleasure to read it on the trip to Warsaw. Although the text is somewhat redundant and suffers from typing errors (even excluding the 2003 donation of letters to Göttingen University), there seems to be no alternative if you are interested in this substance. As a pharmacologist the author is really good in explaining the chemical synthesis but disappointingly he doesn`t even mention the immunological background of Vigantol.
As an allery researcher, I found it particular interesting that Windaus discovered not only the structure of ergosterin and its derivates but also that of histamine (p 80). UV light is not only good for vitamin D production but sterilization (p 116)… There are also detailed data of industrial production between 1927 and 1952 – I will make a plot of that but have already doubts if a meta-analysis with allergy prevalence will be possible due to different D2 production methods, technical difficulties by over- and underexposure with UV, high biological variability of yeast (initially from Sinner AG in Karlsruhe) and longterm stability against oxidation.
Again I found vitamin A co-application (“Detavit” was in use since 1933, p 218). Of all organs of a newborn child who died 2 weeks following 15 mg Vigantol only the gut tissue contained large amounts of D2 – neither thymus nor spleen (p 273). There are also 4 pages dealing with margarine supplementation (p 222) as well as the interesting pre-scientific belief (p 233) why fish contains such large amounts of vitamin – lung oxygen was believed to destroy vitamin D – fish missing air circulation are accumulating vitamin D.
Finally I couldn´t find any evidenve linking allergy symptoms to vitamin factory workers. Instead vitamin droplets were used to cure hayfever!, hair loss, tuberculosis, psoriasis, respiratory infections, recurrent fractures, caries and much more (p 268).