What is pellagra?

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Pellagra is a disease resulting from niacin deficiency; it affects the skin, the digestive tract and the nervous system. The disease has virtually disappeared in the developed world. In the U.S. alcoholism is the main cause of niacin deficiency.
Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine

Pellagra was a common disease in Spain and Italy in the eighteenth century. In Italian, pellagra means "rough skin". It is characterized by the "three Ds" of pellagra: dermatitis, dementia, and diarrhea. The skin develops a cracked, scaly dermatitis; the brain does not function properly, leading to confusion and dementia; and diarrhea results from the impaired manufacture of the mucous lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Pellagra is now known to be due to a severe deficiency of niacin and tryptophan.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.