June 9, 1923


Author Affiliations

Director, Danish State Laboratory for Nutrition Researches COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

JAMA. 1923;80(23):1685-1689. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02640500027011

I have followed the discussion on pellagra and its causes in the American scientific periodicals with great interest. Here I shall simply discuss the question: Is the cause of pellagra the lack of animal food? Goldberger and Tanner,1 from their observations, conclude that "the dominating rôle of diet in the prevention and causation of pellagra must be referred primarily to the character of the protein (animo-acid) supply, this being the only other dietary factor at present known to be necessary to physiological wellbeing."

Is this conclusion correct? In my opinion, it is not. While I have not experimented with pellagra, the question of protein has been, in a way, my specialty. I was born and brought up in the country among farmers in the western part of Jutland. In my childhood—fifty years ago—the food consisted chiefly of bread, porridge, potatoes and milk, to which was added a little fat

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