Victor Herbert (hematologist)

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Victor Herbert (February 22, 1927 in New York City – November 19, 2002 in New York City)[1] (MD, JD, MACP, FRSM London) was an American hematologist who did ground-breaking work on folate and how its deficiency led to megaloblastic anemia and was a proponent of accurate and responsible nutrition information.[2][3]


His post at the end of his career was Professor of Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and Chief of Mount Sinai's Hematology and Nutrition Research Laboratory in the Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center.[3]

His self experimentation to prove the health benefits of folic acid by living on diet of thrice-boiled chicken, marshmallows and jelly was reported on in the third episode of the BBC series the Medical Mavericks.[4]

Military service[edit]

Herbert served in four wars: World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the first Gulf War. On retirement his rank was Lt. Col. (Green Berets).[3]


  • McCollum Award (1972) American Society of Clinical Nutrition
  • Middleton Award (1978) Veterans’ Administration
  • Robert H. Hermon Award (1986) American Society of Clinical Nutrition
  • Honorary Membership Award (1993) American Dietetic Association


Herbert authored over 800 scientific papers, many book chapters, and several books.

His key publications included:

  • Herbert, V. (1959) Mechanism of intrinsic factor action in everted sacs of rat small intestine. J. Clin. Investig. 38:102-109. 2.
  • Herbert, V. & Zalusky, R. (1962) Interrelations of vitamin B-12 and folic acid metabolism: folic acid clearance studies. J. Clin. Investig. 41:1263-1276. 3.
  • Herbert, V. (1962) Experimental nutritional folate deficiency in man. Trans. Assoc. Am. Physicians 75:307-320.[Medline] 4.
  • Herbert, V., Baker, H., Frank, O., Pasher, I., Sobotka, H. & Wasserman, L. R. (1960) The measurement of folic acid activity in serum: a diagnostic aid in the differentiation of the megaloblastic anaemias. Blood 15:228-235.[Abstract/Free Full Text] 5.
  • Waxman, S., Schreiber, C. & Herbert, V. (1971) Radioisotopic assay for measurement of serum folate levels. Blood 38:219-228.[Abstract/Free Full Text] 6.
  • Herbert, V. & Gottlieb, C. W. (1966) Haemoglobin-coated charcoal assay for serum vitamin in B-12. Blood 28:130-132.[Free Full Text] 7.
  • Das, K. C. & Herbert, V. (1978) The lymphocyte as a marker of past nutritional status: persistence of abnormal lymphocyte deoxyuridine (dU) suppression test and chromosomes in patients with past deficiency of folate and vitamin B-12. Br. J. Haematol. 38:219-233.[Medline] 10.
  • Herzlich, B. & Herbert, V. (1988) Depletion of serum holotranscobalamin II. An early sign of negative vitamin B-12 balance. Lab. Investig. 58:332-337.[Medline]


  1. ^ NCAHF - Obituary of Victor Herbert, MD, JD, M.A.C.P., F.R.S.M.
  2. ^ Scott, John M. (2004) Victor Herbert (1927–2002), The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 134:1678-1680, July 2004
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ Mosley, Michael (2009) Medical Mavericks, BBC