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PABA (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.
The functions of PABA in humans are as yet not fully understood, but it appears to be involved in the metabolism of Amino Acids and red blood cells.
There is no established RDA. It is recommended that maximum intakes in a supplement are between 30-100mg daily.
Apart from its inclusion at low levels in multivitamin supplements, the major accepted use of PABA is as a remedy for Vitiligo (a condition characterised by de-pigmentation of the skin) (1).
PABA has been used in sclerodoma (thickening of the skin) (2,3) and in Lupus erythematosus - another severe skin disorder. However, the dosages used in clinical trials for these conditions were extremely high and should not be self-administered.
PABA is also used topically as a sun screen agent (4), but there is no evidence to say that it works internally for this purpose.
PABA appears quite safe at most dosage levels, but recent studies show 8g or more daily may cause malaise, fever and liver complaints.
Food Sources - PABA:
1. Pozo Carballido JL. A new treatment for Vitiligo: topical Kandil therapy combined with oral PABA. Actas Dermosifiliogr, Nov, 69:11-12, 369-74, 1978.