PABA Vitamin and Health Benefits

Para-aminobenzoic acid or PABA is a non-protein amino acid that is widely distributed in nature. It is sometimes referred to as vitamin Bx (Vitamin B Complex), but it is neither a vitamin nor an essential nutrient for humans. PABA is an intermediate in the synthesis of folic acid in bacteria. The sulfonamide antibiotics are structurally similar to PABA and interfere with the synthesis of nucleic acids in sensitive micro-organisms by blocking the conversion of PABA to the co-enzyme dihydrofolic acid, a reduced form of folic acid. In humans, dihydrofolic acid is obtained from dietary folic acid.

Suggested Benefits of PABA

PABA is most commonly known for its ability to protect the skin from the harmful rays of the sun when used topically. It has also been suggested that PABA may prevent or even reverse the accumulation of abnormal fibrous tissue in the body.

Pharmaceutical doses of PABA are indicated for Peyronie's disease, scleroderma, morphea, and linear scleroderma. There is less evidence to indicate its use for pemphigus and dermatomyositis. Claims that it can halt hair loss and restore color to graying hair are entirely anecdotal.

While other effects of PABA supplementation have been reported, they have not been substantiated by any compelling evidence.

Recommended Dosage

In addition to PABA, the potassium salt of PABA called POTABA is available on prescription. POTABA is indicated for Peyronie's Disease and scleroderma.

The recommended dose for use in connection with Peyronie's disease and scleroderma is high and should only be used under the supervision of a doctor. A dose that has been used for these disorders is 12 grams daily taken in four to six divided doses with meals. The tablets must be dissolved in plenty of liquid to prevent gastrointestinal upset.