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Diet & Nutrition for Pellagra

Pellagra is disease caused by deficiency of nicotinic acid / niacin (B vitamin).

Causes of Pellagra

. Poor consumption of niacin or amino acid, tryptophan from which niacin can be synthesized.
. Vitamin and protein deficiency.
. Diets of chronic alcoholics.
. Occasionally seen in patients suffering from cirrhosis, chronic diarrhea, diabetes and cancerous growth.

Sign and symptoms of Pellagra

. Dermatitis - bilaterally symmetrical seen on parts exposed to sunlight such as back of hands and forearms, face and neck etc.
. Itching and burning on the affected parts.
. In chronic case patches turn reddish brown, rough, scaly and pigmented.
. There is a dull- red erythema (flushing of skin) on bridge of nose and around the cheeks with powdery scaling (butterfly erythema and pigmentation).
. Diarrhea with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain.
. Dementia (memory disorder, confusion, disorientation etc).
. Hallucination.
. Fatigue, dizziness.
. Insomnia (loss of sleep).
. Glossitis (inflammation of tongue).
. Stomatitis (inflammation of mucous lining of the mouth).
. Vaginitis (inflammation of mucous lining of the vagina) in females.
. Anemia.

Dietary management for Pellagra

Avoid:
. Avoid alcohol consumption.
. Avoid excess consumption of maize (corn) and sorghum (jowar), they hinder in absorption of niacin.
Consume:
. You can have a cup of coffee; it provides about 3 milligrams of niacin. But too much consumption of coffee is not advisable as coffee is high in caffeine.
. Take diet rich in niacin (vitamin B3) -
- Meat, fish liver, lean meat, rabbit and poultry.
- Cereals, pulses, whole grains, brown rice, legumes are rich source, nuts, peanuts, yeast and seeds, green leafy vegetables,
- Certain fruits like pomegranates are also good source of niacin.
. Consume diet rich in tryptophan: eggs and milk.
. Increase intake of vitamin C, helps in better absorption of niacin.
- Citrus fruits, green vegetables.
Consult physician
. People with diabetes, glaucoma, any liver disease or peptic ulcers should consult physician before taking niacin supplements.
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