Pantothenic acid is an essential B vitamin that is acquired through your diet. It is a structural component of coenzyme A (CoA), which enables your body to breakdown nutrients from food and convert them into energy. It is also a part of an acyl-carrier protein that is involved in the production of your hormones. Understanding its roles in these biochemical pathways allows people to use this vitamin as supplementary treatment for certain health conditions. One of the more practical discoveries is that pantothenic acid can help prevent and treat acne.
Causes of Acne
There are three main factors that contribute to an acne breakout: hormones, sebum oil and bacteria.
The impact of hormones on acne is evident in the fact that most acne problems occur during puberty. At adolescence, your adrenal gland starts to produce massive amounts of the male hormone, androgen, which can stimulate the sebaceous glands on your skin to enlarge. With this enlargement, production and secretion of sebum oil also increase dramatically. Excessive amounts of oil secretion can block your pores and appear as acne.
Acne can also occur when the bacteria that normally inhabit the skin’s surface become trapped underneath the sebum oil. In severe cases, the trapped pores can become infected and inflammation can occur.
Actions of Pantothenic Acid
You can understand the effects that pantothenic acid has on acne by looking at its biochemical functions. You need pantothenic acid to make the CoA, which enables the body to break fats down into fatty acids, and reassemble them into hormones. Not having enough pantothenic acid in your system reduces the amount of CoA in your body, which decreases its ability to breakdown fat. Fat that is not used is either stored or released through your sebaceous glands as sebum oil. This will in turn catalyze the onset of acne.
In addition, pantothenic acid also affects the hormonal regulation of the body. When pantothenic acid levels are low, your CoA will increase the production of androgen which will lead to sebaceous glands enlargement, doubling oil secretion.
Pantothenic acid is also involved in making of your anti-stress hormones. It helps with your body’s ability to control the cortisol level in your blood. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to high stress can weaken your immune system, making it more susceptible to bacterial infections. Increasing the amount of pantothenic acid in your blood can increase the production of the anti-stress hormones and strengthen your immunity, effectively controlling bacterial growth and the spread of acne.
Furthermore, some studies have shown that pantothenic acid has anti-inflammatory functions that can reduce the redness and swelling of acne and speed up the healing process.
Acne Treatment with Pantothenic Acid
The recommended daily intake of pantothenic acid through your regular diet is 10 milligrams for an average adult. But in order to treat acne, additional pantothenic acid is required through dietary supplements. Studies have shown that an extra intake of 10 milligrams of pantothenic acid can effectively help reduce the severity of this condition.