This is vitamin B5 and the best natural supplement for acne you can take. If you're serious about getting rid of acne, this is a vitamin you must take. Ever since the summer of 2000 people have been posting frequently on the acne message boards of the successes using this vitamin. I have read literally thousands of testimonials from people who said that pantothenic acid has worked miracles for them. Many people have been using prescription drugs for years that have failed to work and then tried B5 and had their acne significantly reduced. I've read many postings from people who've said it's worked better than Accutane. This natural therapy for acne is spreading like wildfire around the Internet, it's the thing most people are trying. From my estimation, it works for over 90% of people, which tops Accutane, which works for 70% to 80% of people. And Accutane is very expensive and can have many bad side effects, so much so that you must have regular blood tests to make sure your liver isn't being damaged. Pantothenic acid is safe even in the large doses needed for it to work against acne. Pantothenic acid is found in small amounts in most foods. The best sources are fish, beef, whole-wheat flour, royal jelly, eggs, liver, yeast, mushrooms, peanuts, cashews, broccoli, soybeans, avocodoes, and whole-grain cereals. But the amount of B5 in food is so small that even if you ate them all day you wouldn't get enough to help against acne. You need to take pantothenic acid supplements. From my research on vitamin information sites, there has never been any toxicities reported in using high amounts of vitamin B5. It's a water soluble vitamin, which means excess amounts are flushed out of the body (in urine). Vitamin B5 also worked for me, and I had very persistent moderate acne on my face for about 5 years. I had tried over-the-counter drugs, other vitamins, minerals, herbs, and some prescription drugs. None of these helped improve my skin. Pantothenic acid was the first thing I got significant results from.
Three or four years ago I came across a short summary of a study done using 10 grams of pantothenic acid a day to treat acne patients. It was on the GNC (www.gnc.com) web site. GNC changed the layout and design of its web site at the end of 2001. On the Homepage scroll down and you'll see a heading in bold entiltled Health Notes. Click on the Health Concerns link below this heading. This will take you to a page of alphabetized links to many health conditions. The URL for this page is www.gnc.com/health_notes/concerns.asp. Then click on the Acne Vulgaris link. This will take you to a page of natural remedies for acne, which has been recently updated to include information of hypnosis, acupuncture, and the study using gugulipid. You'll also find a short summary of the pantothenic acid study. I didn't pay too much attention to it at the time. I had never heard of pantothenic acid and didn't know it was a vitamin. I thought it might have been a drug, so I made the mistake of ignoring it. Later, on a message board, a link was posted to the complete study www.pantothenic-acid.com/acne_vulgaris.html . A link to the study can also be found at http://acneinfo.cjb.net. This study was done by Lit-Hung Leung, M.D. and published in the Journal of Orthromolecuar Medicine. 100 patients of Chinese descent were used and all of them had success using vitamin B5. It's very important that you read the entire study to get an understanding of how a lack of pantothenic acid can lead to acne. Some of the words are technical and medical and might be hard to understand, but it is worth it to read through it to get the basic ideas behind this theory. I will try to summarize the premise of the study.
Basically the cause of acne is a defect or deficiency in a person's metabolism of lipids (fats) which occurs due to a lack of coenzyme-A in the body. Coenzyme-A is made of ATP (energy), cysteine, and pantothenic acid. Of these 3, pantothenic acid is the only one which is a vitamin and must be supplied through the diet. The other 2 are produced by the body. So if you supplement with pantothenic acid you create more Coenzyme-A in your body and your fats get metabolized. A lack of Coenzyme-A in the body means that fats don't get broken down. Instead, they get deposited in your sebaceous (oil) glands and get secreted as sebum (oil). Oil is a fat in liquid form. You get acne because the acne bacteria (Propionibacterium acne) in your pores feeds on this excess oil. But if you had no oil or very little oil in your pores, you would have no acne or very little acne. Taking large doses of pantothenic acid shuts down your oil production, drying up your pores, and reducing your acne. Accutane also shuts down oil production, but does it by actually shrinking your oil glands. Pantothenic acid doesn't shrink your oil glands, but creates enough coenyme-A so that fats don't get deposited in your oil glands in the first place. This theory explains why acne starts around puberty. At puberty, most coenzyme-A gets used to make the sex hormones. Since formation of the sex hormones and reproductive organs of the body is the more important reaction, fat metabolism gets put on hold, oil production increases which causes acne to develop. But if you supplement with enough pantothenic acid, you will create enough coenzyme-A in the body and both sex hormone synthesis and fatty acid metabolism will be taken care of. This theory also explains why acne tends to subside after puberty when a person is in his/her 20s. When the sexual characteristics are fully developed, there is much more coenzyme-A available for lipid metabolism. The study also says that stress, a woman's cycle, and lack of sleep lower the levels of pantothenic acid available for lipid metabolism. The other major benefit from taking large amounts of vitamin B5 is that the pores on your skin actually shrink in size and become visibly smaller. The skin becomes very fine and smooth looking. Once pantothenic acid therapy has worked, a maintenance dose is usually needed to keep the acne away. This is a lower dose in the range of 1 to 5 grams a day. The site www.b5supplements.com has a lot of information on vitamin B5 for treating acne. I will now detail my experience with B5.
I had very bad moderate acne on my face. I started off with a lower dose of 5 grams a day. After a few weeks it didn't help me, so I increased it to the recommended 10 grams a day. I took the vitamin in 4 divided doses of 2.5 grams, just as described in the study. After just a day or two, my acne started to quickly subside. And after a few weeks, my oil production really decreased. Normally I had really oily skin. My forehead was the oilest part of my face, as it would be oily in 1 or 2 hours after washing it. But on 10 grams of B5 a day, it took all day for my forehead to get oily and face would have hardly no oil on it by the day's end. And best of all my skin pores were getting smaller and smaller. This is an amazing thing to witness. You wouldn't think a simple vitamin could actually shrink your pores, but it works. My skin now appears very smooth and "tight". I kept taking 10 grams a day for 2 months as recommended for people with moderate acne. Then I lowered it to 5 grams a day for about a month. Now I take 3 to 3.5 grams a day. This lower amount works as a maintenance dose. Although my skin has a little more oil, the breakouts are still kept to a minimum. If I stop taking it altogether, the acne does come back. If I eat a lot of oily, fatty foods I get a little more acne, so I do have to watch my diet. The one side effect from taking large doses of pantothenic acid is gas and diarreha. To minimize this, take the vitamin with food as well as water. It's a good idea anyways to take most supplements with food, even the water soluble ones. When you eat food, the digestive enzymes and gastric juices in the stomach will help to break the supplement down better, so it can be absorbed in the water (in the case of B5).
You may have a hard time trying to find vitamin B5 in stores. It's not commonly sold as a separate supplement. You'll see a lot of B1, B2, B6, and B12. Don't look for B5 on the bottle. Usually it's sold under the name pantothenic acid. Twinlab is one exception, having both the name and B5 on the label. The vitamin is white and sold in capsule form, tablet form, and even as a powder you can mix into water or put on food. The GNC and Wal-Mart and most retail stores in my city don't sell pantothenic acid. Two suermarkets in my town carry it. I first tried a brand of B5 made by Sundown. It was 60 500 mg tablets, and more expensive. I tried only 4 grams a day and that lower amount didn't work. Then my supermarket switched to the Rugby brand which I use currently. It comes in 500mg tables, 100 in a bottle, for a price of $5.62. That is a low price compared to several other brands, and I get good results using it. Twinlab sells it in capsule form and I've ordered it off the web at a lower price. Their B5 is also good quality. One site that sells Twinlab B5 is www.swansonvitamins.com. Swanson vitamins also has their own brand of B5 which I've tried and found to be above average. This site has a ton of different supplements often at much lower prices than you'll find in stores. I mention them on many of my web pages. The ingredient label on bottles of pantothenic acid will say d-calcium pantothenate or calcium pantothenate. The web site www.puritan.com also sells B5 in 100mg and 200mg tablets. These amounts are so low that you'd have to take so many each day. They also sell time-released B5 in 500mg tablets. I tried these but they didn't work to well. I recommend taking regular pantothenic acid. I've seen many people post online, including one pharmacist, that the GNC brand of B5 is not good quality, not to mention more expensive. That pharmacist I mentioned said Solaray and Solgar are the best brands. I haven't tried those brands of B5.
The most common amount in a B5 capsule or tablet is 500 mg. So to take 10 grams a day, that would be 20 of these capsules/tablets a day. Now that does seem like a lot, and I spread it out as 5 pills 4 times a day. It's best to spread out your amount no matter how much you take. This way your body gets a more continuous supply of pantothenic acid. If you want to take less pills, there are companies that sell B5 in 1,000 mg pills. I believe the brands Country Life, Kaz, and Nature's Plus do this. Another popular brand of B5 that people take is NOW. So you'll have to spend money for a few months to take these large doses of B5. But it's definitely worth it if it works. Compared to all the money you may have spent on prescription drugs that don't work, pantothenic acid is safe and has a very high success rate. If you can't find B5 in any stores, in sold in tons of online supplement sites. Do a search for vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc. and you'll get many links to supplement sites. Some of the sites that people use a lot are www.vitaminshoppe.com, www.discountblvd.com, www.discountvitamins.com, www.drugstore.com, www.vitamins.com, and www.drugstore.com. Some companies sell B5 in powder form. One such site is www.lef.org. Other sites are www.vitaglo.com and www.beyond-a-century.com.
The study also mentions that people used a 20% pantothenic acid cream along with the oral form of the vitamin. 20% pantothenic acid creams are not sold in stores or on the Internet as far as I know. You might ask a pharmacy if they could compound it for you. But don't worry, all the people who've posted success stories about B5 (including myself) have just been using B5 in oral form. So the oral form is responsible for almost all the benefits. There is a 2% pantothenic acid cream sold through some online sites. It's called panthoderm or dexpanthenol. I ordered it from www.medichest.com. It's a white, crystalline, reflective cream. I don't find it particularly effective for acne but it works great as a skin moisturizer and skin healer. I think it's sold cheaper at www.americarx.com. You may wish to order this.
Like I mentioned earlier, many people who post to message boards are using this vitamin therapy for acne. The site www.absoluteacneinfo.com has an acne message board (click on community) and there are always peple posting about B5. They also archive the posts so you can check back through many of them. This site also has a lot of B5 progress reports from people and a lot of info on B5. You'll definitely want to check this one out. Another site with an acne message board is www.healthboards.com. You'll usually find posts about B5 here too. Another site is www.acne-site.com. The creator of this site had temporarily shut it down as I understand to make some changes. The message board has recently come back, so you can check it out. Another site with an acne message board is http://acnehelp.tripod.com. There aren't a lot of posts here and many of the people that post are from England. But there are B5 posts here. And www.pureremedies.com has a Skin Remedies section where messages are posted. There is also a Skin Archives section in the Archives section where you can find links to the studies using niacinamide gel and gugulipid for acne. I have web pages for these items. The site http://communities.msn.com/SkinCareForumAcneHelp has some message boards and a B5 board. It must be fairly new because there aren't many posts on them. The newsgroup news:alt.skincare.acne also has many posts about B5.
Many people usually start out with lower amounts of B5 hoping it will work so they don't have to take so many pills a day and spend as much. Some of these people report having an initial breakout before the acne starts to fade away. This is because they're not taking enough. Everyone's exact need for B5 is different. If you want to start at a lower amount I would recommend about 5 grams a day. If it doesn't work at first, don't give up, but gradually increase the amount you take, maybe by a gram a week. Keep increasing until you find the amount that works. Then stay on that amount for 2 months. If you have severe acne you may want to stay on that amount for 6 months. If it's going to work for you, and it likely will, 10 grams a day will probably be enough for most people. Then you can lower it to the range of 1 to 5 grams a day. The most important thing I can stress is that since you've never tried this before, you're going to need a lot of B5 in the beginning. Depending on how long you've had acne, your body may have a severe deficiency in pantothenic acid for lipid metabolism. If you don't get results with lower amounts of B5 don't stop. You may miss out on getting great results with higher amounts, like I did at 10 grams a day. Generally speaking, the more severe your acne is the more B5 you will need. Either way, you have to experiment to find the right amount for treatment and maintenance. Good luck!
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