PABA – Para-Aminobenzoic Acid – for Peyronie's Disease Therapy
Para-aminobenzoic acid, or PABA, is a non-protein amino acid that is widely distributed in nature' it can be a wonderful addition to your Peyronie's disease treatment plan. Many years ago, when B-vitamins were first being researched, PABA was referred to as vitamin Bx.
We now know it is neither a vitamin nor an essential nutrient for humans, since it is made in the body by beneficial bacteria found normally in the small intestine. PABA is used in the body to incorporate protein into living tissue, as well as to reverse this process by breaking down protein. It is also used in formation of red blood cells, as well as an intermediary step in the manufacture of folic acid in the intestines.
PABA also assists in maintaining the health of your intestinal flora (the beneficial bacteria found in the intestine). It has been linked to hair growth as well as reversing the graying of hair, but these results tend to be inconclusive, except when there is significant B-vitamin deficiency. People suffering from vitiligo (over-pigmentation of skin) or without pigment in some spots, have reported an improvement of their skin coloration after taking PABA supplementation. Para-aminobenzoic acid is also used in sunscreen preparations since it can help protect the skin against ultraviolet radiation. Found in liver, kidney, brewer's yeast, molasses, whole grains, mushrooms and spinach, PABA is also made by intestinal bacteria (flora).
While most of the research done on Peyronie's treatment has been conducted with potassium para-aminobenzoate (POTABA), this particular form of PABA frequently causes severe gastric distress, and for this reason it is a prescription medication.(1) The more safe and less expensive PABA can be readily gotten without a prescription, and hence it is less expensive without sacrificing effectiveness of treatment.
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PABA toxicity symptoms
When higher than SPF 8 sunscreens are used, the manufacture of vitamin D in the body may be reduced in that area on which the sunscreen is applied. Fever, nausea, vomiting and skin rash might be indicative of oral PABA taken in large and prolonged doses. Excessive levels of PABA are stored in the body and may cause liver damage. These symptoms resolve when PABA intake is stopped.
When more PABA may be required
Prolonged antibiotic use will destroy the friendly bacteria, or intestinal flora, that make PABA for you. If you have to take antibiotics it would be appropriate to increase your PABA intake during the time you are on that medication and for a week or so after you have stopped.
Medical use of PABA in the potassium salt form, called POTABA, calls for a heavy dose of 12 grams to be taken daily in divided amounts so that you are taking it every three hours. However, if you are going to use PABA in your plan along with several other suggested therapies, it probably is not necessary to take such a large or frequent dose. For more on this, click synergy. Taking a total of 2000 mgs (2 grams) daily, equally divided during the day at each meal, would be adequate and far from the heavy dosage that can cause the hypersensitivity problems warned about in the paragraph below.
PABA should not be administered to anyone taking sulfonamides or to anyone who is hypersensitive to it. PABA should be stopped if hypersensitivity develops. PABA should be used with caution in those with renal disease. If anorexia or nausea occurs, PABA should be stopped until the person is eating normally again. Those taking pharmaceutical doses of PABA must be under medical supervision.
PABA is also known as 4-aminobenzoic acid. It is a solid substance with slight solubility in water. 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 microorganisms by blocking the conversion of PABA to the coenzyme 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. After ingestion, PABA is absorbed mainly through the small intestine wall and from there it goes into the portal circulation. Some metabolism of PABA occurs in the liver, with most metabolites excreted in the urine, and lesser amounts in the feces and bile.
Peyronie's disease treatment connection with PABA
PABA is reported to have an anti-fibrotic (anti-scar) effect in the body, and for this reason it is used to treat certain skin conditions in which fibrosis, inelasticity or thickening of the skin occurs. This is the reason PABA is such a great Peyronie's treatment.
The reputed anti-fibrotic action of PABA may be due to its stimulation of increased oxygen uptake at the tissue level, which enhances the oxygen-dependent monoamine oxidase activity that in turn prevents or causes regression of tissue fibrosis. Aminobenzoate potassium is used medically to treat fibrosis, a condition in which the skin and underlying tissues tighten and become less flexible. This condition occurs in such diseases as Peyronie's disease, dermatomyositis, morphea, scleroderma, and linear scleroderma. It is also used to treat non-suppurative inflammation that occurs in such diseases as dermatomyositis, pemphigus, and again, Peyronie's disease. It is likely because of the suspected anti-scar quality of PABA that it is reported by many to be effective in treatment of PD. Supporting this idea, from the world literature we find reports of 2,752 cases treated with Potaba by 1996 that have shown improvement in 60% of the cases studied, with a range of improvement from 10% to 82% depending on the study, and a reported median failure rate of 40%.(2) The wide variation of success (10% to 82%) in the review is a reflection of the wide variance of the PD process, once again confirming this is a very difficult condition to study and determine success rates.
There are other PD studies, using PABA alone or in combination with other therapies, all citing success in a similar range; one of the studies reported the success of 214 urologists who treated 2653 cases of PD with para-aminobenzoacidic potassium.(3-4) However, the 60% average success is a very good success rate and gives encouragement that PABA is a viable inclusion into a person’s PD treatment plan. In addition, as we have seen with vitamin E and carnitine, there are other conditions that have similar scar tissue responses as PD and these have been researched and studied to determine if PABA is an effective treatment.
Perhaps the condition most similar to PD on a cellular level that is also treated with PABA, is a condition called scleroderma. Now, scleroderma is a nasty chronic disease of unknown cause, characterized by diffuse fibrosis and vascular changes of the skin, and degenerative changes of internal organs. Because there is a common element of fibrous tissue infiltration, anything that is beneficial to scleroderma might also be of value to treating PD.(5-6) We recommend adding PABA to your treatment plan because there is good science to support its use in PD. PABA research is also good not only for Peyronie’s disease, but for other conditions that have similar tissue fibrosis components, such as scleroderma.
Again, in spite of favorable research and multiple studies showing favorable effect of PABA on PD, there is insufficient evidence to establish it as a proven PD treatment because there are researchers and studies that do not agree with these results. Therefore, once again, talk to your physician about adding PABA to your PD treatment plan.
Learn how easy it is to create an effective Alternative Medicine plan, click on Organize Peyronie's Disease Treatment.
Commentary: Standard medical "wait-and-see treatment" of Peyronie's disease, click Peyronie's Disease and Man Whose House is on Fire.
Commercial product information
This concludes the technical discussion concerning acupuncture. What follows next is the presentation of commercial information about a particular product that PDI endorses and sells in its Natural Complementary Medicine Products division. PDI does this so that you may easily identify what we think is the best therapy product of its kind, and then make it available for sale easily and at the best price we can. Please bear in mind that PDI cannot answer your questions or help you with your therapy plan if we do not have knowledge, experience or confidence with “foreign” therapies. On the PDI website we clearly state, “Sorry, but due to the volume of emails PDI receives and with limited hours available in a day, we can only answer questions from Peyronie's Disease Institute and Natural Complementary Medicine LLC customers. When you purchase your therapy products only from PDI you have full access to the vast experience and careful assistance available to our customers. If you purchase inferior grade or questionable bargain products elsewhere, you will have to rely upon that source for whatever help you might need later.” We take this position because after doing this work since 2002 we sincerely believe that you stand a better chance to reverse your PD if you only use products listed in the PDI and Natural Complementary Medicine websites.
PABA Product RecommendationPABA The PABA PDI recommends is from Douglas Laboratory. It comes in a 500 mg capsule simply called PABA. As we have written before, we value highly the reputation and quality for which Douglas Laboratory has been known for the last 50 years. It is a name you can trust, and we are happy to make it available for your one-source shopping. For ideas and suggestions to put it all together, click Create a Peyronie's Treatment Plan.
1. Ludwig G. Evaluation of conservative therapeutic approaches to Peyronie's disease (fibrotic induration of the penis). Urol Int. 1991;47(4):236-9. Urologische Klinik, Städtisches Krankenhaus, Frankfurt am Main-Höchst, BRD.
2. Wagenknecht LV. Differential therapies in various stages of penile induration. Arch Esp Urol. 1996 Apr;49(3):285-92.
3. Carson CC. Potassium para-aminobenzoate for the treatment of Peyronie's disease: is it effective? Tech Urol. 1997 Fall;3(3):135-9. Division of Urology, University of North Carolina, School of Medicine, Chapel Hill 27599-7235, USA.
4. Hasche-Klunder R. Treatment of peyronie's disease with para-aminobenzoacidic potassium (POTOBA) Urologe A. 1978 Jul;17(4):224-7. (author's transl) [Article in German]
5. Griffiths MR, Priestley GC. A comparison of morphoea and lichen sclerosus et atrophicus in vitro: the effects of para-aminobenzoate on skin fibroblasts. Acta Derm Venereol. 1992;72(1):15-8. Department of Dermatology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
6. Meyers D.Treatment of scleroderma. Med J Aust. 1977 Jun 11;1(24):887.
7. Priestley GC, Brown JC. Effects of potassium para-aminobenzoate on growth and macromolecule synthesis in fibroblasts cultured from normal and sclerodermatous human skin, and rheumatoid synovial cells. J Invest Dermatol. 1979 Apr;72(4):161-4.
8. Zarafonetis CJ, Dabich L, Devol EB, Skovronski JJ, Negri D, Yuan WY. Retrospective studies in scleroderma: pulmonary findings and effect of potassium p-aminobenzoate on vital capacity. Respiration. 1989;56(1-2):22-33. Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor.
9. Zarafonetis CJ, Dabich L, Negri D, Skovronski JJ, DeVol EB, Wolfe R. Retrospective studies in scleroderma: effect of potassium para-aminobenzoate on survival. J Clin Epidemiol. 1988;41(2):193-205. Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor