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The 1900’s: Pellagra (Niacin)


Although Pellagra was observed in the 1750s, it didn’t arise in the United States until the beginning of 1907.  Outbreaks were reported in various asylums in the United States in 1907, and by 1910 the disease was recognized throughout most of the South and in several other states.

It was studied heavily from 1914 to 1929 by officer Joseph Goldberger.   Goldberger observed that Pellagra mostly affected rural areas of the U.S. and that it was associated with poverty.  His plan to help the endemic was dietary changes with a reduction in cereals, vegetables, and canned foods and an increase in fresh meat, eggs, and milk.

Pellagra was observed to occur in individuals who ate diets that were unbalanced and low in protein.   He called the nutritional factor that helped cure Pellagra the “P-P factor”, and it was identified later in the 1930s that this was actually nicotinic acid, subsequently named Niacin.

In 1937, clinical trials confirmed that niacin rapidly cured pellagra in people. 7

Pellagra is only common in parts of the world today where people have a lot of corn in their diet.  In most regions, this is not a disease of concern for the general population.

Conditions that could be associated with pellagra are diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia and severe cases can cause death.

Important roles of Niacin (Vitamin 3) include the following:
Energy Production were Niacin is essential for conversion of fresh foods properties like carbohydrates, fats and proteins into usable energy.

Antioxidant Protection, all cell functions produce free radicals which can cause damage to our cells hence appearance or potential body discomfort shows. Unfortunately these discomforts are being experienced earlier in life due to consumption of more food like substances.

Here are some food choices with excellent Niacin content -

 chicken 

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skiptun Tuna

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For a better insight into understanding Niacin click WHFoods.

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