March 2, 2010

Diet For Pellagra Treatment And Prevention

Posted in Category : Foods that Heal

Pellagra is a rather rare condition and is essentially the result of a lack of vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) in the diet. The condition is also very commonly referred to as the disease of the four D’s – dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia and death. This progression is a simplified explanation of the illnesses that a person has to face when affected by pellagra. It is also important to point out that a number of other factors can also play a significant role in creating a lack of niacin in the body. For example, a deficiency of the amino acid known as lysine can also lead to a deficiency of niacin – thereby being an indirect cause of the development of pellagra. The earliest signs of the condition will show up as a substantial loss of weight, fatigue, muscle weakness, joint and muscular pains as well as anxiety and depression. The patient may also experience the development of skin lesions and rashes with no obvious causes. One of the most typical symptoms of the condition is photodermatitis – where any skin that is exposed to the sun becomes red and inflamed – causing it to appear significantly sun burnt. When the condition continues to develop, hair loss, also known as alopecia, takes place while in the most severe cases of the condition, the patient will also experience a significant stiffness in the arms and legs which may progress into a complete inability to move these limbs.

Because of the root cause of pellagra condition, it is most commonly found in the underdeveloped countries of the world where the staple diet happens to be corn, which is not a good source of niacin. As a result, even though pellagra seems to be a very easy condition to deal with, where one would only need to boost their intake of vitamin B3 foods, most of the affected population is either unaware of the cure or do not have the financial position to change their diet.

In order to treat pellagra, the patient’s diet will almost always require being adapted. Some foods that are known to be high in niacin content include yeast, all kinds of meat – especially fish and liver, and any types of beans. It is also very important that you approach your doctor for some advice and to identify the correct niacin for your current condition as an overdose of niacin could have very dangerous results.