Aetiological doctrines and prevalence of pellagra : 18th century to middle 20th century

Show simple item record Viljoen, Margaretha Bipath, Priyesh Roos, J.L. (Johannes Louw) 2018-12-04T05:32:11Z 2018-12-04T05:32:11Z 2018-09-11
dc.description.abstract Pellagra is characterised by dermatological, gastrointestinal and neuropsychiatric manifestations. Millions contracted the disease and hundreds of thousands died between the time it was first recorded until pellagra was finally recognised as a niacin-deficiency disease. Pellagra became epidemic when maize, with its limited bio-availability of nutrients such as niacin and tryptophan, became the staple food in the near-monophagic diets of the impoverished and institutionalised. By the mid-20th century, pellagra was all but eradicated in large parts. The decline in prevalence can largely be ascribed to a better understanding of the link between nutrition and disease, improvements in socio-economic conditions of workers and food enrichment. We briefly review aetiological doctrines on pellagra and the global spread of the disease from the early 18th century until the middle of the 20th century. In the final analysis, we examine the reasons for, and the legitimacy of, the persistent association between pellagra and the consumption of maize. SIGNIFICANCE : • Almost two centuries have elapsed since the first description of pellagra and its general acceptance as a nutritional-deficiency disease. • The link between maize and pellagra is primarily a reflection of the nutritional inadequacies of a near monophagic diet over-dependent on a grain deficient in bioavailable niacin and tryptophan. • We refute the concept of nixtamalisation as the main reason for the apparent absence of pellagra in early pre-Columbian North American, Mesoamerican and South American cultures. en_ZA
dc.description.department Physiology en_ZA
dc.description.department Psychiatry en_ZA
dc.description.librarian am2018 en_ZA
dc.description.uri en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Viljoen M, Bipath P, Roos JL. Aetiological doctrines and prevalence of pellagra: 18th century to middle 20th century. South African Journal of Science. 2018;114(9/10), Art. #4597, 7 pages. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 0038-2353 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1996-7489 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.17159/sajs.2018/4597
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher AOSIS en_ZA
dc.rights © 2018. The Author(s). Published under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence. en_ZA
dc.subject Maize en_ZA
dc.subject Niacin en_ZA
dc.subject Tryptophan en_ZA
dc.subject Nutritional-deficiency disease en_ZA
dc.subject Lysine en_ZA
dc.subject Leucine en_ZA
dc.subject Epidemic en_ZA
dc.subject Nutrition en_ZA
dc.subject Nicotinic acid en_ZA
dc.subject Zea mays en_ZA
dc.title Aetiological doctrines and prevalence of pellagra : 18th century to middle 20th century en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record