Pellagra is a disease that occurs when a person does not get enough niacin (one of the B complex vitamins) or tryptophan (an amino acid).
Vitamin B3 deficiency; Deficiency - niacin
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
Pellagra is caused by having too little niacin or tryptophan in the diet. It can also occur if the body fails to absorb these nutrients. It may develop after gastrointestinal diseases or with alcoholism.
The disease is common in parts of the world where people have a lot of corn in their diet.
Symptoms of pellagra include:
- Inflamed mucous membranes
- Mental confusion
- Scaly skin sores
Calling your health care provider:
Brust JCM. Nutrition- and alcohol-related neurologic disorders. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 443.
Chenoweth WL. Vitamin B complex deficiency and excess. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th Ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 46.
|Review Date: 11/16/2008|
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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