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Alternative Names Return to topVitamin B3 deficiency; Deficiency - niacin
Definition Return to top
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).
Causes Return to top
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 Return to top
Symptoms of pellagra include:
References Return to top
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.Update Date: 11/16/2008 Updated 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.