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PABA
Overview
PABA, or para-aminobenzoic acid, is another nutritional supplement that you seldom hear of. However, PABA offers several benefits seldom found in other nutrients. In addition to its classification as an antioxidant (antioxidants, of course, mop up free-radicals, or "loose electrons", which cause cumulative cellular damage and are implicated in theories of aging), PABA may play a role in reducing fatigue, limiting the effects of depression (which can be brought on by a PABA deficiency) and reducing the inflammatory effects associated with osteoarthritis, a condition that can be quite painful and debilitating.

PABA also assists in the formation of erythrocytes. Erythrocytes are otherwise known as red blood cells, which, as everyone knows, are vital for carrying oxygen throughout the body. However, the benefits that set PABA apart from other micronutrients and antioxidants involve external appearance. In this regard, PABA has been found to do the following: reduce the onset of wrinkles, keep skin smooth, and even restore graying hair to its original color.

In the case of graying hair, supplemental PABA may correct a deficiency state. With regard to skin and wrinkles, PABA is thought to protect against UVB solar radiation (though PABA does not offer protection against UVA rays and, for this reason, is no longer included in topical sunscreens).

PABA has no known toxic effects. However, since an RDI/RDA has not been set for this micronutrient, mega-dosing with para-aminobenzoic acid is not recommended and long-term, low dosage use should probably entail some consultation with a personal physician beforehand.


What is PABA ?
PABA is the short form for Para-AminoBenzoic Acid. It is an antioxidant that is considered by some as a B complex vitamin, and sometimes called vitamin Bx. However it is not really a vitamin, but actually an amino acid that is part of folic acid. It can be made in the body by friendly intestinal bacteria.

Deficiency Symptoms
Outright deficiency of PABA is not common as it is readily available in food and can be made in the body by intestinal bacteria. However deficiency may occur with long term use of antibiotics, including sulfa drugs that affect intestinal bacteria and with it, production of PABA. PABA may itself reduce the effectiveness of sulfa antibiotics if taken at the same time.

PABA DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

arw constipation and other chronic gastro-intestinal disorders
arw nervousness
arw frequent headaches
arw general fatigue
arw depression
arw irritability
arw weeping or moist eczema
arw premature wrinkling of skin
arw premature grey hair

Where it is found
Main PABA sources -> brewer's yeast -> molasses -> organ meats like animal liver and kidney -> wheat germ.
Other PABA sources -> bran -> mushrooms -> spinach -> whole grains (such as brown rice and whole wheat).


Benefits / uses
PABA is not considered an essential nutrient. Nevertheless it is found in foods such as liver and grains, and offers benefits rarely obtainable from other nutrients.Some women who have problems conceiving have reported falling pregnant after increasing intake of PABA in their diet.
PABA, in the form of Potaba (potassium aminobenzoate) was used to treat Peyronie's disease, in research conducted in the mid-1900's. This involved medium to large doses administered under professional advice. The results were encouraging, but more studies are needed to confirm the findings.


PABA BENEFITS & FUNCTIONS
Helps in the utilization of pantothenic acid
Important for healthy skin and hair pigment
arw May restore grey hair to original color when used with inositol, folic acid and pantothenic acid (vitamin b5), if greying was due to stress or deficiency in the b vitamins . Has been used, together with biotin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and sometimes vitamin e, to restore hair


arw Early studies show may help treat vitiligo (loss of color or pigmentation in some areas of skin)


arw Dermatitis herpetiformis (Charactererized by intensely itchy hives or blister-like patches of skin.


arw Dermatomyositis (characterized by a rash accompanying, or more often, preceding muscle weakness.


arw Pemphigus (a severe blistering disease)


arw Scleroderma (An immune disease characterized by stiff skin from swelling and thickening of connective tissue.


arw Morphea (localized scleroderma)

May prevent accumulation of abnormal fibrous tissue

Assists formation of red blood cells
Acts as a coenzyme in the metabolism and utilization of protein
Helps maintain intestinal flora
May act synergistically with cortisone in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Doses
There is no official RDA for PABA, which is not recognized as a vitamin. It is also difficult to list recommended daily intakes as it is made by the body. However, an allowance of between 30 mg to 100 mg a day is considered reasonable for a healthy person. A typical therapeutic dose may be in the region of 200 milligrams (mg) for children to 400 mg for adults. Do not take more than 400 mg daily except under medical advice, to avoid PABA toxicity.

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
No RDA has been set for PABA, but mega-dosing is not recommended as excess PABA is stored in the body. High doses, such as those over 8 grams per day, may cause skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, fever, and in one case, even vitiligo (patchy color loss in skin), which small dosages of PABA have been known to cure.

Excessively high doses may lead to PABA toxicity and liver damage. There have been cases of deaths in small children using over 20 grams per day. Usage of up to 400 mg per day is considered safe however, with only some cases of PABA side effects like skin rashes and loss of appetite. Do not take more than 400 mg per day unless under medical supervision.

Actually, more PABA side effects arise from allergic reactions rather than from overdosing. Signs of allergy include coma, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, liver damage, nausea, skin rashes, shortness of breath, slowed breathing, stupor, and vomiting. These require immediate medical attention.
PABA interferes with sulfa drugs (a class of antibiotics) and therefore should not be taken when these medications are being used.

When To Take/Types To Take
PABA supplements are best taken with a meal.

Research studies / References