Monday, May 1, 2017

Vitamin B3 and pellagra mnemonics


This post is all about niacin aka vitamin B3 and it's deficiency with loads of mnemonics. Who is excited?

1. How to remember Niacin is vitamin B3:

- You can remember the three vowels in nIAcIn, so it's vitamin B three.
- N has 3 strokes, so Niacin is B3
- NIA - B3

2. Vitamin B3 deficiency, Pellagra, is clinically manifested by photosensitive dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia.

Pellagra mnemonic:
"B3 causes D3"
Diarrhea, Dermatitis, Dementia.

3. Pellagra tends to occur in areas where people eat maize (or corn, the only grain low in digestible niacin) as a staple food.

Mnemonic: Corny people can't be nice. (Corn can't have niacin)

People - Pellagra. PP!

Corny people can't be nice and amazing! Get it? A-maize-ing! Hahahahha! I'm so pun-ny and funny!

4. The amino acid tryptophan is needed to make niacin, serotonin and melatonin.
Mnemonic: Have a nice trip to serotonin land (Serotonin rhymes with Melatonin).

Why is this fact clinically significant?
Carcinoid syndrome leads to excess production of serotonin, which depletes  tryptophan. There's not enough tryptophan to produce niacin, resulting in pellagra.

5. Isoniazid (INH) use can cause vitamin B3.

Mnemonic: INH has 3 letters. B3 deficiency!
Also, isoNIAzid. For NIAcin deficiency.

6. Lastly, you should know about Hartnups disease which is due to defective neutral amino acid transporter on renal and intestinal epithelial cells 

Here's a mnemonic by usmle1mikmonics:
Renal (also intestinal) / Recessive
Transporter defect / Tryptophan deficiency
Neutral amino acids / Niacin deficiency / Nicotinamide supplements (Treatment)
Urine (Tryptophan lost in urine)
Pellagra / high Protein diet (Treatment)
D’s - Dermatitis, Dementia, Diarrhea

That's all!


  1. Honestly, this was gold! Thanks so much for sharing and making our lives easier. God bless you

    1. Thank you for your blessings. I am glad it was helpful!


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