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PABA, or para-aminobenzoic acid, is another nutrional supplement that you seldom hear of. However, PABA offers several benefits seldom found in other nutrients.

In addition to its classification as an antioxidant (antioxidants, of course, mop up free-radicals, or "loose electrons", which cause cumulative cellular damage and are implicated in theories of aging), PABA may play a role in reducing fatigue, limiting the effects of depression (which can be brought on by a PABA deficiency) and reducing the inflammatory effects associated with osteoarthritis, a condition that can be quite painful and debilitating.

PABA also assists in the formation of erythrocytes. Erythrocytes are otherwise known as red blood cells, which, as everyone knows, are vital for carrying oxygen throughout the body.

However, the benefits that set PABA apart from other micronutrients and antioxidants involve external appearace.

In this regard, PABA has been found to do the following: reduce the onset of wrinkles, keep skin smooth, and even restore graying hair to its original color.

How does PABA accomplish the kinds of goals that the cosmetics industry would love to sell in a bottle?

In the case of graying hair, supplemental PABA may correct a deficiency state. With regard to skin and wrinkles, PABA is thought to protect against UVB solar radiation (though PABA does not offer protection against UVA rays and, for this reason, is no longer included in topical sunscreens).

According to Dr. Earl Mindell, PABA has no known toxic effects. However, since an RDI/RDA has not been set for this micronutrient, mega-dosing with para-aminobenzoic acid is not recommended and long-term, low dosage use should probably entail some consultation with a personal physician beforehand.

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