Health Benefits Of PABA ( Para-aminobenzoic Acid )
What is PABA ( Para-aminobenzoic Acid )
An abbreviation for para-aminobenzoic acid, PABA appears to be a component of folic acid, a member of the B family of vitamins. It plays a role in breaking down and using proteins, and in forming red blood cells.
PABA is synthesized naturally in the intestines from friendly bacteria, and can also be obtained through grains and animal products. Supplements are available as well. While PABA is not considered an essential nutrient–no RDA has been established and deficiencies in humans have not been reported–these supplements may have certain therapeutic effects in the body.
PABA is important for healthy hair and skin, and taking it in supplement form may prevent hair loss by protecting hair follicles. Interestingly, people who have gone gray may experience a return of their natural hair color by taking PABA, but only if they are deficient in B vitamins. Not all studies have shown that this is effective, however.
Research indicates a possible role for PABA in treating Peyronie’s disease (a disorder of the penis that affects erections). It has also been examined–though not always with success–for aiding skin changes associated with scleroderma (an autoimmune disorder), pemphigus (a severe blistering of the skin), and vitiligo (a disorder that causes discoloration of the skin).
Most people will also recognize PABA as an ingredient in sunscreen lotions, where it has been shown to protect the skin by blocking damaging ultraviolet rays. However, in recent years PABA’s popularity as a sunscreen has declined due to reports that it can irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions in some people.
PABA is the chemical foundation for a group of local anaesthetic agents. These include butethamide, benzocaine, procaine, tetracaine, propoxycaine, and butacaine. Allergic contact dermatitis reactions may occur when these agents are used in PABA sensitive individuals. Benzocaine is the most notorious sensitizer.
Health Benefits Of PABA ( Para-aminobenzoic Acid )
The compound called PABA, or para-aminobenzoic acid, has not been recognized as a vitamin, and has the same status as the compounds choline and inositol - which are also not considered vitamins even if they play many important roles in the human body.
PABA is taken by mouth for skin conditions including vitiligo, pemphigus, dermatomyositis, morphea, lymphoblastoma cutis, Peyronie’s disease, and scleroderma. PABA is also used to treat infertility in women, arthritis, “tired blood” (anemia), rheumatic fever, constipation, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and headaches. It is also used to darken gray hair, prevent hair loss, make skin look younger, and prevent sunburn.
PABA is best known as a sunscreen that is applied to the skin (used topically). PABA ointment is used commonly to prevent and treat sunburns and, with vitamin E, is often applied to other burns.
The compound PABA also displays a strong protective effect against the effects of ozone in the body. In experiments, tested rats that were injected with PABA had a much better chance of surviving the deleterious effects of exposure to ozone. PABA also strongly protects human red blood cells against the damaging effects of ozone. The antioxidant properties of PABA are responsible for these beneficial and protective effects against the action of ozone. The toxic effects induced by metals like arsenic and antimony in the body of patients is reduced by oral doses of PABA.
In experiments, the skin of most animals was found to be completely protected from the strong ultraviolet light that can induce cancer states in the skin by application of PABA as a sunscreen - this was still true even if these animals were treated using substances that turn strongly carcinogenic on being exposed to ultraviolet light at any wavelength.
The single most common form of cancer is skin cancer. Each year, there are more than 300,000 cases of skin cancer; at least 5000 of these eventually turn fatal for the individual. Long periods of exposure to strong sunlight also increase the process of aging in many individuals, and for this reason many doctors advise their patients to avoid the sun as much as possible to avoid this problem. The use of PABA is vital for all people who may not be able to avoid or stay for long periods of time in the sun.
Good food sources of PABA ( Para-aminobenzoic Acid )
PABA does not have a definite or set RDA. However, good natural sources of this compound include sources such as yeast, organ meats like liver - it is also found in all food sources that contain the other vitamins in the B vitamin group. There is a wide dosage range for the supplements of PABA, these range from single doses of just a few milligrams to doses that are several hundred milligrams. There is generally no toxicity associated with PABA. As PABA can deactivate the potency of the medications, the vitamin must never be used in supplemental form at the same time of using sulfa medications. Taking extremely large doses of PABA for very long periods of time has caused fatty changes in organs like the liver, the kidneys and the heart at least in a small number of individuals.
Foods of animal origin, yeast and all kinds of grains contain high amounts of PABA. Human deficiencies of PABA have not been reported though they may well exists, and the majority of nutritionists do not normally consider PABA to be essential as a nutrient on par with the other vitamins and minerals.
Allergy to PABA ( Para-aminobenzoic Acid )
What are the reactions to PABA ( Para-aminobenzoic Acid ) allergy?
PABA sensitivity produces classic allergic contact dermatitis as well as photocontact dermatitis. In PABA allergic individuals, sunscreens containing PABA or its esters can cause a burning or stinging sensation particularly if the product is alcohol-based. However, burning and stinging may also sometimes occur as an irritant reaction in people with sensitive skin, even when not actually allergic to PABA.
Occasionally injection of PABA-derived local anaesthetics to allergic individuals may cause swelling of the oral mucosa (stomatitis) at the site of the injection. Rarely, more severe reactions such as generalised urticaria or anaphylaxis may result.
What should I do to avoid PABA ( Para-aminobenzoic Acid ) allergy?
Read product labels and avoid products that contain PABA or any of its alternative names. Avoid related substances that you may also be allergic to. This includes sunscreen products containing PABA esters, paraphenylenediamine (PPD) commonly found in permanent hair dyes, sulfonamides, and azo dyes. Ask your pharmacist for advice and a suitable alternative. Alert your doctor and dentist to the fact that you have an allergy to PABA. Your dermatologist may have further specific advice, particularly if you are highly sensitive.
PABA ( Para-aminobenzoic Acid ) Deficiency
It is possible that high doses of PABA can be somewhat irritating to the liver; in addition, nausea and vomiting have occurred, as have anorexia, fever, skin rash, and even vitiligo. Deficiency problems are not very common; they occur more frequently with the use of sulfa or other antibiotics that alter the functioning of intestinal bacteria and, therefore, the production of PABA. General fatigue, irritability, depression, nervousness, graying hair, headache, and constipation or other digestive symptoms may occur. Several patients have told me that they are "sensitive" to PABA in vitamin formulae and, thus, cannot take them (most vitamin combinations contain PABA).
PABA ( Para-aminobenzoic Acid ) Side effects and cautions
Dosages of 300 to 400 mg daily have not been associated with any adverse side effects. Dosages in higher amounts - for example at 8 grams daily or more of the vitamin - poses a different problem - it can lower the blood sugar levels, it can induce a persistent rash, it can cause fever, and in some rare cases can be the causative factor for liver damage. PABA ingested in large amounts reportedly induced vitiligo in a patient, in addition, using doses that exceed twenty grams daily on small children can cause fatalities.
There are not reported interactions between other nutrients and PABA. As mentioned above, the PABA can interfere with the activity of all sulfa medications - these are a class of compound related to antibiotics. PABA must not be used in any form when these medications are being used by a person.
Most people find that using para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) is harmless, especially when it is applied topically to the skin. Thus far, no one using PABA has complained of any major damage due to this remedy. However, there have been a few reports about PABA augmenting the chances of having sunburn in a number of individuals. This is despite the fact that PABA partially works in the form of a sun block.
Oral ingestion of PABA is also safe, provided it is taken in appropriate manner and dosage. Para-aminobenzoic acid may, however, result in skin irritation and may possibly blemish your clothes, making them appear yellowish. In addition, this substance may also cause side effects like vomiting, nausea, stomach disorder, diarrhea and sometimes even lack of appetite. If taken more than 12 grams a day, PABA may result in severe side effects like problems related to the blood, kidney and liver.
PABA also seems to be safe for use by children, when applied straight-away to the skin. While PABA is also safe for children taken orally, it may sometimes cause severe side effects. It is very important to ensure that PABA is given in the appropriate dosage. It was found that a number of children who took PABA in dosage of more than 220 mg/ kg of their body weight in a single day died untimely.
Pregnant women as well as nursing mothers may also apply PABA to their skin, as it does not seem to have any negative effect on them. However, it is advisable that they should not take PABA orally till more information is available regarding the safety of this substance when used orally during pregnancy and by nursing mothers.
There is a possibility that taking PABA orally may result in its accumulation inside the kidneys, resulting in further deterioration in the condition of people with kidney problems. Therefore, it is advisable that people with kidney disorders should avoid taking PABA.
It may be noted here that antibiotics, especially sulfonamide antibiotics, may interact with PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid). In fact, this substance possesses the aptitude to lessen the efficacy of specific antibiotics known as sulfonamides. Some of the antibiotics that may interact with PABA include sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), sulfamethoxazole (Gantanol), sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin), and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra, Bactrim).
Another drug dapsone (Avlosulfon) may also interact with PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid). This medication is also used in the form of an antibiotic and used to treat infections. In fact, dapsone (Avlosulfon) interacts with PABA, thereby itself becoming less effective.