Vitamins For Acne New York | Acne Face Map New York | Diet For Acne
Is Pantothenic Acid a Magic Cure for Acne?
Could there really be a magic pill for acne? It seemed too good to be true. After digging into the study, trying the protocol with my patients and investigating pantothenic acid a bit more I decided to drop pantothenic acid from my acne protocol. Here’s why.
The study was conducted with 40 patients (mostly women) over the course of 12 weeks. Patients were given 2.2 grams of pantothenic acid daily, and at the end of 12 weeks the number of blemishes on the skin was compared with their baseline (the number of blemishes on their face at the beginning of the study).
The chart of results is shown below:
As you can see, even though there are some significant results with pantothenic acid, there is also a tremendous result with the placebo – when the study subjects just THINK that they are taking a remedy. This is called the placebo effect, and it demonstrates that our mind is incredibly powerful – when we think we are taking a remedy we will experience healing.
My question is – even though the study claims that pantothenic acid reduces acne lesions by 67% – how much of that improvement is actually attributed to the placebo effect?
The other interesting thing about the study is that almost all the improvement in acne was seen in non-inflammatory acne, which is blackheads and small whiteheads.
Acne that was more inflamed, red and cystic did not see the same improvement as milder acne. This suggests that pantothenic acid is more effective against mild acne.
What is Pantothenic Acid?
These functions are especially important in acne pathogenesis because pantothenic acid can affect fat and oil production in the skin, regulate keratinocyte proliferation, and moderate our stress response – all factors in acne pathogenesis.
For years we thought that pantothenic acid was delivered to our body solely through our diet. Many food sources contain pantothenic acid, and it is highly bioavailable and absorbable. It is found in eggs, meat, poultry, lentils, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, while grains, nuts, and beans – basically most of the foods that are included in a healthy diet!
Why does pantothenic acid help some mild cases of acne?
But it turns out that a pantothenic acid deficiency has less to do with diet, and more to do with the microbiome.
More recent research has revealed that B vitamins are not only acquired through our food but also produced by our microbiome. In fact, studies are suggesting our most important source of pantothenic acid and other B vitamins is actually from our intestinal microbiome.
This means that if your gut is not healthy and balanced you could be experiencing a deficiency in pantothenic acid, regardless of how much you eat in your diet. And this is why high-dose supplementation of pantothenic acid is able to positively affect mild acne in some people. It is thought that a high dose is able to flood the pantothenic acid receptors temporarily to produce CoA in the body. As discussed before, CoA helps regulate lipid metabolism, keratinocyte turnover and the stress response.
But think about it – in our diet we need approximately 5mg of pantothenic acid per day. It takes 2.2 grams of synthetic pantothenic acid daily to trigger the response that should be happening naturally in our body. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I want deeper healing for my patients.