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Vitamin :: PABA


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Other Terms:

Para-AminoBenzoic Acid | Vitamin Bx


Water soluble.  Excess can be stored in the body.

On this Page: What is PABA · Benefits · Deficiency Signs · Foods · Supplements · RDA · Toxicity | Overdose

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.

How PABA Benefits Health
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.

There has been little modern research on PABA ever since supplements containing single large doses were banned for sale over the counter due to potentially damaging effects of PABA overdose.  However, small doses are allowed and can be found in most multi-vitamins and B-complex vitamins.

:: PABA Benefits & Functions
1. helps in the utilization of pantothenic acid
2. important for healthy skin and hair pigment
3. 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
4. has been used, together with biotin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and sometimes vitamin E, to restore hair
5. early studies show may help treat vitiligo (loss of color or pigmentation in some areas of skin)
6. may prevent accumulation of abnormal fibrous tissue
7. assists formation of red blood cells
8. acts as a coenzyme in the metabolism and utilization of protein
9. helps maintain intestinal flora


PABA Deficiency Symptoms and Causes
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.

The main PABA deficiency symptoms are listed in this table.

:: PABA Deficiency Symptoms
1. constipation and other chronic gastro-intestinal disorders
2. nervousness
3. frequent headaches
4. general fatigue
5. depression
6. irritability
7. weeping or moist eczema
8. premature wrinkling of skin
9. premature grey hair


PABA Foods
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).


PABA Supplements
Taking vitamins and minerals in their correct balance is vital to the proper functioning of all vitamins.  They work synergistically, which means that the effectiveness of any one nutrient requires or is enhanced, sometimes dramatically, by the presence of certain other nutrients.

For this reason, if you are looking to take supplements for maintenance of optimal health, the recommended approach is to take a multi-vitamin that has the proper balance of all the necessary nutrients your body needs.

For a list of reputable top ranked vitamin and mineral supplements chosen in an independent supplement review, see Best Multivitamin Supplements. Many of these are manufactured to pharmaceutical or nutraceutical GMP compliance, which is the highest multivitamin standard possible.

Keep in mind, however, that while vitamin supplements are useful to plug nutritional gaps that are almost inevitable in modern diets, and to ensure we get optimal doses of nutrients, they are no substitute for a good diet. Instead, use them to complement a healthy diet and lifestyle.


PABA RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance)
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.


PABA Overdose Symptoms, Toxicity Level & Side Effects
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.

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1. U.S. National Libary of Medicine [NLM] & National Institutes of Health [NIH]: MedlinePlus. NLM-NIH home page. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus>. Use the built-in search function to find specific data. Accessed 2009 March – June.

2. Baptist Health Systems. PABA (Para-Aminobenzoic Acid). <http://www.mbmc.org/>. Accessed 2009 Jun 20.

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4. Sharon M. Nutrients A-Z: A user's guide to foods, herbs, vitamins, minerals & supplements. 3rd ed. London, UK: Carlton Books; 2005.

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