Para-Aminobenzoic acid (Vitamin Bx, PABA)
Para-Aminobenzoic acid (PABA) is a chemical used in sunscreen that is an essential nutrient for some bacteria. It is sometimes called Vitamin B-x, although PABA is not essential for humans and it varies in its activity from other B vitamins.
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, 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; thus sulfonamides do not affect human cells. PABA is also known as 4-aminobenzoic acid.
Para-aminobenzoic Acid (PABA)is often thought of as a member of the B complex but is not a true vitamin. PABA is part of the structure of Folic Acid. PABA itself is readily available in food and is made by our intestinal bacteria. It is known specifically for its nourishment to hair and its usefulness as a sunscreen. Para-aminobenzoic acid, as part of the coenzyme tetrahydrofolic acid, aids in the metabolism and utilization of amino acids and is also supportive of blood cells, particularly the red blood cells. PABA supports folic acid production by the intestinal bacteria. PABA is important to skin, hair pigment, and intestinal health. Used as a sunscreen, it also can protect against the development of sunburn and skin cancer from excess ultraviolet light exposure.
Although PABA has been much used in attempts to stimulate hair growth and to turn gray hair back to its natural color, it has not had wide success in such uses. It may work in some cases that are related to a PABA deficiency. If graying of hair is caused by vitamin deficiency, it is likely a deficiency of a combination of vitamins, mostly the various Bs. PABA is usually used along with biotin, pantothenic acid, and folic acid in the restoration of hair, often with vitamin E as well. PABA is also used to reduce aging of the skin and lessen wrinkles. Vitiligo, a skin depigmenting condition, which could result from deficient hydrochloric acid, vitamin C, or pantothenic acid, may be helped somewhat by PABA, both orally and as a cream. PABA ointment is used commonly to prevent and treat sunburns and, with vitamin E, is often applied to other burns.
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.
Generally known as an ingredient used in sunscreens, Para-aminobenzoic Acid has been used as a treatment to a variety of other health concerns. It has been used to treat: vitiligo, a condition that can cause discoloration of the skin; dermatitis herptiformis (DH), a chronic skin disease which is characterized by intensively itchy hives that generally effects the elbows, knees, and buttocks; dermatomyositis, a muscle disease that is part of the inflammatory myopathies group, which is characterized by a rash that accompanies or precedes muscle weakness; infertility in women; pemphigus, a group of autoimmune blistering diseases of the skin that are rare; Peyronie’s disease, a condition which is characterized by the formation of hardened tissue in the penis that causes discomfort; and Scleroderma which is classified as a rheumatic disease.
Para-aminobenzoic Acid has also been linked to red blood cell formation and also the absorption of vitamin B5 and folic acid in the body. Additionally, studies have theorized that Para-aminobenzoic Acid is important in maintaining healthy skin and hair. Other benefits of Para-aminobenzoic Acid are: its role in breaking down and utilizing protein in the body, delays breakdown in the liver thus enhancing the effects of many hormones; and reducing the accumulation rate of abnormal fibrous tissue in the body.
Dietary sources of Para-aminobenzoic acid include bran, kidney, liver, brewer’s yeast, molasses, whole grains, wheat germ, yogurt, mushrooms, blackstrap molasses, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, and spinach. It can additionally be made by intestinal bacteria. In instances of Para-aminobenzoic Acid deficiency, it is available as a nutritional supplement and also can be prescribed in the potassium salt form called Potaba. It is recommended that Para-aminobenzoic Acid supplements be taken with Vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and folic acid. Para-aminobenzoic Acid can also be found in small amounts in some B-complex vitamins and multivitamin formulas.
Synonyms: p-aminobenzoic acid, PABA, vitamin BX, anticanitic vitamin
Molecular formula: C7H7NO2
CAS No: 150-13-0
EC No: 205-753-0