- Nicotinic acid
- Deficiency of nicotinic acid (also known as niacin), one of the B-complex vitamins, causes pellagra. Pellagra was known as the "disease of the four D's" — dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia and death. The disease is specifically characterized by: Dermatitis: A rash on areas of the skin exposed to light or trauma and ulcerations within the mouth Diarrhea Dementia: Mental disorientation, confusion, delusions and depression Death, if untreated. Pellagra, once a puzzle, was solved by Joseph Goldberger (1874-1929). Serving in the Public Health Service, Dr. Goldberger proposed that pellagra was due to a nutritional deficiency and in 1915 began experiments with Mississippi prison inmates (who "volunteered" in return for full pardons). Dr. Goldberger fed them a poor diet he believed caused pellagra and within months, many developed the disease. Their symptoms of pellagra were reversed when meat, fresh vegetables and milk were added to their diet. Niacin, Dr. Goldberger subsequently showed, was the principle that had this remarkable effect. A readily-available B vitamin, niacin cures pellagra and prevents it. The name "pellagra" comes from the Italian "pelle", skin + "agra", rough = rough skin, referring to the skin problems in pellagra.
* * *Pyridine-3-carboxylic acid; a part of the vitamin B complex; used in the prevention and treatment of pellagra, as a vasodilator, and in hyperlipidemia, where it lowers cholesterol and acts as an HDL-raising agent. SYN: anti–black-tongue factor, antipellagra factor, niacin, pellagra-preventing factor, vitamin PP.
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* * *a B vitamin. Nicotinic acid is a derivative of pyridine and is interchangeable with its amide, nicotinamide. Both forms of the vitamin are equally active. Nicotinamide is a component of the coenzymes NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and NADP, its phosphate. Nicotinic acid is required in the diet but can also be formed in small amounts in the body from the essential amino acid tryptophan. A deficiency of the vitamin leads to pellagra. Good sources of nicotinic acid are meat, yeast extracts, and some cereals. Nicotinic acid is present in some cereals (e.g. maize) in a bound unavailable form. The adult recommended intake is 18 mg equivalent per day (1 mg equivalent is equal to 1 mg of available nicotinic acid or 60 mg tryptophan).
* * *nic·o·tin·ic ac·id (nik″o-tinґik) niacin.
Medical dictionary. 2011.