Tue 13 Nov 2007
Para-aminobenzoid Acid (PABA) as a Hair Loss Treatment
There are a number of herbal supplements out there that claim to work as a hair loss treatment. Whereas there is no question that marketing is over-reaching at best in order to sell a product, the real question for any hair loss sufferer is: will this product help combat hair loss or is there any chance that it will regrow hair? To date however, it is important to understand that there is no hair loss cure, therefore realistic expectations must be kept when considering any hair restoration product.
Below I decided to take a look at an herbal supplement that is said to combat hair loss. This product is an “active” ingredient in a number of hair loss remedies including Procerin and others and is also sold as a stand alone product in nutritional stores.
Para-aminobenzoid Acid (PABA):
PABA is typically known as the hair color vitamin. This is a non-protein amino acid, sometimes referred to as Vitamin Bx (depsite the fact that it is not really a vitamin), that is widely available in nature. This amino acid is not an essential nutrient for humans.
In clinical studies, 200mg of PABA have been given to humans with grey hair after each meal. Studies of hair afterwards resulted in a 70% result of the hair returning to its original color. In a few cases, hair that was not restored to its original color increased in strength and quality.
This product is typically taken orally.
There are anecdotal reports that PABA might halt hair loss and restore color to graying hair however; there are at least as many reports that contradict this.
Doses typically come in 100mg, 250mg, or 500mg as a stand alone product.
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 dose for Peyronie’s disease and scleroderma is very high (12 grams daily in 4 to 5 distributions) and must only be used under medical supervision. Because of the high doses needed to achieve clinical efficacy, patient compliance is typically poor.
Side Effects and Warnings:
The following side effects have been reported: Anorexia, vomiting, nausea, hypersensitivity, fever and rash (particularly with larger doses). These symptoms went away when PABA is stopped.
Children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should avoid PABA. For those with renal disease, PABA should be used with caution. PABA should be stopped if hypersensitivity develops. Those taking pharmaceutical doses of PABA must be under medical supervision.
Due to the fact that anecdotal studies are contradictory at this time and that no formal clinical studies have been performed on PABA as a hair loss treatment, nobody can say with any amount of certainty that it has any level of efficacy for hair restoration. I strongly recommend consulting a medical physician before consuming this product due to the potential of severe side effects noted with this herbal medication.