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In 1915, researchers linked the disease pellagra with a corn-based diet.
One person who did notice was Dr. Joseph Goldberger. He proved the link between diet and disease by experimenting with the diets of children in a Mississippi orphanage who suffered from pellagra and 11 volunteers from a Mississippi prison farm. In both groups, when Goldberger added lean meat, milk, eggs, or yeast, their symptoms vanished.
This was in 1915, yet many physicians remained skeptical until 1937 when Conrad Elvehjem and his coworkers at the University of Wisconsin cured dogs with symptoms similar to pellagra by giving them nicotinic acid -- a form of niacin. Soon doctors were using nicotinic acid, a form of niacin, to cure pellagra in humans.
Functions of Vitamin B3
Like the other B vitamins -- thiamin and riboflavin -- niacin acts as a coenzyme, assisting other substances in the conversion of protein, carbohydrate, and fat into energy.
Niacin has a wide range of therapeutic uses -- it has been used to treat high cholesterol, insulin-dependent diabetes, arthritis, and even migraines. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of niacin.
Niacin is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to good nutrition. Visit these links to learn more about the vitamins your body needs.
- In How Biotin Works, learn how biotin acts as a coenzyme in several metabolic reactions, such as the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
- Read How Folate Works to learn about folacin, folic acid, and folate and how a folate deficiency can cause megaloblastic anemia.
- Vitamin B12, also called cyanocobalamin or cobalamin, is essential because it assists folate in making DNA and RNA. Read more in How Vitamin B12 Works.
- Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is good for more than just easing the common cold. Learn more in How Vitamin C Works.
- Vitamin D is necessary to hold of rickets, but if you get enough sunshine, your body can make its own vitamin D supply. Learn more in How Vitamin D Works.
- To learn about the many vitamins in our diet, how much you should be eating, and where to find them, go to our general Vitamins page.
- To find the best prices on B vitamin supplements, click here.