Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA): Benefits, Side Effects & Dosage

What is Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (PABA)?

Para-aminobenzoic acid, or PABA, is a chemical that assists bacteria and plants in making folate.  It’s a structural component of folic acid, which human bodies need to make DNA (and other genetic material). Cells need it to divide correctly as well. Supplementing with PABA can help your body produce more folic acid, which has health benefits. (x)

PABA occurs naturally as a member of the B-complex group of vitamins. (x) Plants make it, and humans also produce some in the colon. Molasses, kidneys, whole grains, liver, fruit, nuts and brewer’s yeast are excellent food sources of folate.

Most Americans can get enough folate from food. However, folic acid absorbs better through supplementation than from foods.

Specific demographics are at higher risk for folate deficiency, such as younger women, those with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and celiac disease. Both IBD and celiac disease make it harder for the body to absorb nutrients. If you are deficient in folate, you may also be anemic.

History of PABA

PABA was a favorite sunscreen during WWII, and dermatologists slowly became aware of the chemical as an oral supplement and topical skin treatment. More studies occurred on patients with health concerns that had positive results, such as rickettsial infections, constipation, leukemia, lupus and other diseases. (x)

Today, PABA is safe for most adults to take orally and on the skin in small doses for a short time. You will find PABA in most sunscreen products. Talk with your doctor about taking PABA orally. (x)

PABA Benefits

Understanding the advantages of taking PABA will help you decide whether or not you should take the supplement. Of course, talk with your healthcare provider before starting any new nutritional supplementation. Benefits include: 

  1. Skin Benefits

PABA protects skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, so it’s often useful as a sunscreen or along with other ingredients in sunscreens. Ultraviolet rays cause photo-oxidation, which causes damage to our cells — skin cells in particular. (x)

Why block UV rays? Excessive exposure to these wavelengths can damage the eye’s cornea and retina. Ultraviolet light damages the collagen in the skin and harms the cells. UVA (ultraviolet radiation of relatively long wavelengths) and UVB (ultraviolet radiation of relatively short wavelengths) rays destroy the vitamin A in the skin, which is necessary for a healthy body.

Getting too much UVB can result in painful sunburn and cause some types of skin cancer. Skin cancer is often fatal. (x) UVB rays harm DNA directly, whereas UVA causes damage indirectly by promoting the release of free radicals.

Utilizing PABA to manipulate color in the body is reasonably common. PABA has been used to treat vitiligo, which is a disease that affects skin pigmentation. In addition, anyone who would like to darken their gray hair might be interested in PABA as studies demonstrate that taking a supplement can cause hair color changes. (x)

  1. Fights Against Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune conditions occur when your body’s immune system essentially turns against itself and begins to see your body’s own tissues as a threat. A healthy and functioning immune system will target only foreign invaders.

PABA has also been used to treat scleroderma, which is an autoimmune disorder. Scleroderma results in collagen deposits in the skin and other organs such as the heart and lungs. PABA can also decrease the progression of skin fibrosis and improve survival. (x)

In combination with acetylsalicylic acid (better known as aspirin), PABA has beneficial effects for those who have rheumatoid arthritis. (x) This type of arthritis happens when the immune system attacks the body’s own joints. It differs from the more well-known type of arthritis — osteoarthritis — mainly through overuse and age because of the breakdown of joint tissue.

  1. Antioxidant Benefits

Antioxidants help slow down the destructive effects of free radicals. They can provide an electron to the free radical without becoming free radicals themselves.

As an antioxidant, (x) PABA protects your body against cigarette smoke and other air pollutants. It also helps protect collagen from free radicals, which otherwise may cause fibrotic diseases.

Fibrosis occurs when there’s an excess of connective tissue. Scars that form over wounds are a pretty benign example of this. However, inside your body, scar tissue formation can damage the underlying organ or tissue and prevent it from functioning correctly.

  1. Central Nervous System Health

Folate is a crucial nutrient for the central nervous system at all ages. People who have issues with absorbing enough folate have a higher rate of mental health issues and behavioral problems in childhood and adulthood. (x)

Teenagers dealing with depression resistant to treatment rarely have enough folic acid in their bodies. (x)

The lack of folic acid, or inadequate amounts of it, causes some cognitive disorders in aging, such as dementia. Derivatives of PABA are promising methods of slowing Alzheimer’s disease. (x)

Adequate folate is also necessary for mood regulation. It’s an essential component in the process of helping the endocrine system function in your body. Depression is often a result of personal stress, environmental toxins, poor diet and lack of exercise — unhealthy lifestyle habits. A common one is an endocrine system malfunction. (x)

  1. Lowering Homocysteine

Higher levels of folic acid in the body stems from lower levels of homocysteine. (x) This is good because high levels of the amino acid homocysteine, found mainly in meat, links to increased risk of artery damage (x) as well as neural tube defects. It causes oxidative stress as well as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

There are strong links (x) between high levels of homocysteine and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and migraine headaches. AMD is one of the leading causes of blindness in older people. (x)

The macula in the human eye helps us to see straight ahead in our central vision. AMD damages this part of your eye. It happens quickly for some people and more slowly for others. It doesn’t result in total blindness, however. Instead, it causes limited ability to see straight ahead, which in turn makes seeing in general difficult. In addition to protecting the eye, lowering the amount of homocysteine in the blood could reduce the risk of stroke. (x) Typically, the amount of this amino acid rises with age, and men tend to have elevated levels more than women do.

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PABA Benefits

PABA Side Effects

Usually, when applied topically, para-aminobenzoic acid has relatively few side effects beyond skin irritation. For some people, it increases their sensitivity to allergies.

  1. Gastric Distress

PABA can have some possible complications when taken as a pill. It can cause diarrheanausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.

  1. Liver Damage

High doses of PABA (more than 12 g a day) can cause more severe damage to the liver, blood and kidneys. If you have kidney problems, you should not take PABA. 

  1. Drug Interactions of PABA

When taken with some antibiotics, PABA can reduce their effectiveness. It may also increase the adverse side effects of cortisone (steroid hormone) by causing the body to break it down more slowly.

Where to Buy Para-aminobenzoic Acid Supplements?

You can purchase para-aminobenzoic acid at The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor of pure dietary supplements. is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other food and supplement brands to make their products. All products at are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.

Are you interested in trying para-aminobenzoic acid supplements for your health, as described in this article? Contact to place an order today.

PABA Dosage and Instructions

Between 100 and 500 mg of PABA powder taken daily, approximately the same as 1/16 to 1/4 of a teaspoon.

Because of its solubility in water, PABA moves quickly through the body and out as urine. Spread the dosage out over a day.

Warnings About Taking PABA

No one should take PABA with kidney issues, liver conditions or those allergic to aspirin. 

The Bottom Line

Para-aminobenzoic acid has FDA approval as a sunscreen when used topically. Because skin cancer can be deadly, it’s crucial to protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun.

It’s also essential to shield the body from free radical damage and autoimmune disease, or at least slow down these processes where possible. PABA is helpful in both of these situations when taken orally.

It’s a key component of folate/folic acid, which you should take for a healthy body and mind. Folic acid is necessary for many functions — DNA regeneration, red blood cell formation, proper neural tube synthesis and others. Ensuring there’s enough PABA in your system can support having enough folic acid.

Though the risks of taking para-aminobenzoic acid are generally minor, those with existing liver and kidney conditions, aspirin allergies or who are taking cortisone should not take PABA. 

Always discuss new supplements with a doctor before beginning the regimen and stop if you experience side effects.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Author: Kevin Baronowsky