Inositol and Paba: Nutrients Your Body Makes from Food You Eat - dummies

Inositol and Paba: Nutrients Your Body Makes from Food You Eat

By Christopher Hobbs, Elson Haas

Inositol and Paba are manufactured by your body from the nutrients you ingest when you chow down on a meal or a snack. Nutritionists usually lump them with the B vitamins.

Inositol is a lipotropic vitamin-like substance that is found in soy lecithin along with choline. Your body can create all the inositol it needs, so it’s unnecessary to get the substance straight from your diet. Not all the functions of inositol are known, but like choline, it is involved with the movement of fats from the liver to the cells.

Inositol’s main uses are listed here:

  • Helps fat metabolism.

  • Helps prevent cardiovascular disease and viral infections.

  • Supports healthy hair and skin.

In addition, some studies show a positive effect on mental alertness when patients with Alzheimer’s Disease are given doses of up to 6 grams a day.

Inositol is found in whole grains, molasses, wheat germ, and nuts. Inositol has no known requirements, however, 500 to 1,000 mg is a therapeutic range. No clear concerns about toxicity or deficiency of inositol exist, although deficiency may be relevant to hair and skin problems, elevated cholesterol, and eye health.

PABA, also known as para-aminobenzoic acid, is actually incorporated into the folic acid molecule and is also made by the intestinal bacteria. PABA functions with the folic acid co-factor tetrahydrofolic acid (THFA) in protein metabolism, blood cell formation, and is important to your hair, skin, and intestinal health.

PABA supports healthy hair and heals skin conditions, such as vitiligo, a depigmentation of the skin. It is commonly used in sunscreens, but concerns exist about its mutagenic (cancer-causing) effects, and some people are allergic to PABA.

PABA is found in eggs, molasses, rice, yeast, and liver. No specific requirement is known, but a wide range, about 50 to 1,000 mcg, is considered a therapeutic dose. PABA may cause some irritation in high amounts while deficiency may contribute to fatigue, irritability, and digestive upset.