WHAT IS PARA-AMINOBENZOIC ACID?
Para-aminobenzoic acid (also known as PABA or vitamin Bx) is an unofficial water soluble, B complex vitamin. Para-aminobenzoic acid is not considered a true vitamin because it is part of vitamin B9 and can be produced in the body by intestinal bacteria. However, it is a powerful antioxidant (substances that protect the body from oxygen related damage) and also keeps the skin and hair healthy. In this article I will be looking at para-aminobenzoic acid in greater detail.
WHEN WAS PARA-AMINOBENZOIC ACID DISCOVERED?
Para-aminobenzoic acid was discovered in 1943 by E. T. Krebs.
HOW DOES YOUR BODY USE PARA-AMINOBENZOIC ACID?
As discussed above, para-aminobenzoic acid is a powerful antioxidant and is crucial to the health of the hair and skin. The list below outlines the functions of para-aminobenzoic acid in the human body:
– Assisting in the metabolism and utilisation of protein (as a coenzyme).
– Assisting in the formation of red blood cells.
– Assisting with the utilisation of vitamin B5.
– Maintaining intestinal flora (microorganisms that support intestinal health).
– Promoting healthy hair and skin.
– Protecting the body’s cells from damaging free radicals (harmful by-products of oxygen based reactions) (as an antioxidant).
Other research has been conducted which suggests para-aminobenzoic has further benefits. The list below outlines these potential health benefits:
– Possibly restoring grey hair to its original colour when used in combination with inositol, vitamin B5 and vitamin B9.
– Possibly increasing fertility amongst women.
– Possibly preventing the accumulation of abnormal fibrous tissue in the body.
– Possibly restoring hair when used in conjunction with vitamin B5, vitamin B7, vitamin B9 and vitamin E.
– Possibly treating peyronie’s disease (a penis disorder that can cause pain and change the shape of the penis).
– Possibly treating vitiligo (loss of colour or pigmentation in some areas of skin).
HOW MUCH PARA-AMINOBENZOIC ACID DO YOU NEED?
Since para-aminobenzoic acid is not an official vitamin no recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been established. The body can produce some para-aminobenzoic acid but most sources suggest taking a daily dose of between 30 milligrams (mg) and 100mg for optimal health. Therapeutic doses can be as high as 200mg in children and 400mg in men but you should consult your doctor before ingesting this much para-aminobenzoic acid.
WHICH FOODS CONTAIN PARA-AMINOBENZOIC ACID?
Little information is available on the amounts of para-aminobenzoic acid in foods. However, the following are considered as good food sources of this nutrient:
– Green leafy vegetables.
– Organ meats (such as the liver and kidneys).
– Whole grain products (such as whole grain bread and whole grain rice).
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GETTING TOO MUCH PARA-AMINOBENZOIC ACID?
Unlike other water soluble vitamins, excess para-aminobenzoic acid is stored in the body and toxic levels can build up. No official tolerable upper limit (TUL) has been set for para-aminobenzoic acid but most sources consider up to 400mg per day as safe. Exceeding this limit has been linked with mild overdose symptoms. Taking more than 8 grams (g) per day has been linked with more serious symptoms and doses of over 20g can be fatal in small children. The symptoms of para-aminobenzoic acid overdose include:
– Liver damage.
– Skin rashes.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF NOT GETTING ENOUGH PARA-AMINOBENZOIC ACID?
Para-aminobenzoic acid deficiency is rare as the body can produce this nutrient and most foods contain some level of para-aminobenzoic acid. However, certain antibiotics can inhibit the production of para-aminobenzoic acid and contribute to a deficiency. The symptoms of para-aminobenzoic acid deficiency include:
– Gastro-intestinal disorders.
– Premature grey hair.
– Premature wrinkling of the skin.
PARA-AMINOBENZOIC ACID SUMMARY
I hope this article has given you a good overview of para-aminobenzoic acid. Whilst it is not officially a vitamin it has much to offer in terms of cellular health. So make sure you fill up on green, leafy salads regularly to enjoy all the benefits of para-aminobenzoic acid.