Deficiency of Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

The deficiency of vitamin B3 or Niacin in the food causes a disease known as pellagra. Pellagra disease is a very common disease in those people who live mainly on a maize diet because maize interferes with the absorption of vitamin B3 in the body that leads to the deficiency of vitamin B3 in the body.

Symptoms – Pellagra occurs due to the deficiency of vitamin B3 or Niacin in our body. There are some of the symptoms of vitamin B3 are as given below –

  • Soreness of the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Skin eczema
  • Memory loss
  • Mental disturbance
  • Redness and swelling of the tongue and gums
  • Constipation
  • Headache

The most distressing symptoms of pellagra are hallucinations, delusions, personality changes, and sometimes leads to disorientation. If Pellagra is not treated on time then it can also lead to death.

Pellagra is characterized by three D’s such as Diarrhea (loose motions), Dementia (mental deterioration), and Dermatitis (bad skin).

Types of Pellagra – There are two types of Pellagra

  • Primary Pellagra – It occurs due to not getting enough vitamin B3 or niacin in the food. This type of pellagra is more common in those places where people trust on maize as a diet.
  • Secondary Pellagra – This type of pellagra develops when the body is not able to absorb niacin. Some of the conditions including HIV, alcohol use disorder stop the body from absorbing niacin that can cause secondary pellagra.

Sources of Vitamin B3 or Niacin – There are various sources of vitamin B3 or Niacin such as lean meat, groundnut, potato, tomato, green vegetables, milk, fish, eggs, legumes, and many more that lowers the risk of pellagra.


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