Niacin has a rich and intriguing history. Its discovery dates to the identification by a Spanish physician named Casals in 1735 of pellagra, the disease now known to be caused by niacin deficiency. Pellagra was widespread for the next two centuries in populations with high consumption of corn. It was rampant throughout rural areas of the southern United States, where a physician named Joseph Goldberger was sent by the U.S. Public Health Service in the 1920s to investigate what they thought was an infectious disease. Goldberger, who recognized that changes in the diet to include milk, meat and fresh vegetables resulted in a substantial decrease in the symptoms of pellagra, was convinced that the disease could be cured by changes in diet. In 1937, Elvehjem demonstrated that nicotinic acid (the acid form of niacin synthesized roughly 50 years before) could treat lesions caused by pellagra in dogs, and within the year, it was reported to cure pellagra in humans. 1–3