The Historical Significance of 1940s Mandatory Niacin Enrichment

by W. Todd Penberthy, PhD

(OMNS, Feb, 2017) In a newly published research study, Tissier and colleagues at the Universite ‘ de Strasbourg, France, identified wild hamsters that were eating primarily corn monoculture diets and exhibiting siblicide and maternal infanticide. Cannibalism was one of the theories for the decline of their population. Mother hamsters fed exclusively corn would take their pups, place them together with the stashes of corn they had stored in the cage, and start eating their young. Siblicide was also observed. Only 5 percent of the offspring of the females fed corn survived. The rest were eaten. For the other group fed a varied diet, 80 percent of the babies survived. However, supplementation of corn diets with just vitamin B3 (niacin) prevented the aggressive cannibalistic behavior.[1]

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