- by Dr Sheetal Chhabria
- 0 Shares
- Feb 21 2017
What is Pellagra?
It is a systemic disturbance caused by a cellular deficiency of niacin (Vitamin B3) or its amino acid precursor, tryptophan. Niacin plays a role in converting carbohydrates into glucose, metabolizing fats and proteins, and keeping the nervous system working properly. It is a disease of four D’s-
Dermatitis caused by Pellagra is a bilaterally symmetrical erythema at the sites of solar exposure.
The principal causes of pellagra are nutritional niacin deficiency, chronic alcoholism, and gastrointestinal malabsorption.
Niacin deficiency Symptoms are:
- Canker sores
Pellagra symptoms are:
- Thick, scaly pigmented rash on skin exposed to sunlight
- Swollen mouth and bright red tongue
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- A headache
- Memory loss
Diagnosis is based on patient’s history and the presence of 3 D Syndrome. Urine test to find out N-methylnicotinamide and pyridine urinary excretion.
Oral supplementation with nicotinamide is usually used which are approved by The FDA for treating and preventing niacin deficiency. Good sources of Niacin are red meat, fish, poultry, fortified bread and cereals, and enriched pasta and peanuts.
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