Vitamin B10 Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention

Vitamin B10, also known as para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), is a compound that is often grouped with the B-vitamin complex. Though not a true vitamin for humans, it is significant for its role in the synthesis of folic acid in bacteria and has been used in the past in sunscreen products and as a treatment for certain medical conditions. Vitamin B10 deficiency is rare because it is not considered essential for human health as an isolated nutrient. However, it can be significant in the context of bacterial synthesis of folic acid, which is crucial for DNA synthesis and repair. In humans, PABA is synthesized in the gut by intestinal bacteria, making deficiency uncommon under normal circumstances.

Vitamin B10 Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention

Read also: Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention

What is Vitamin B10?

Vitamin B10, or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), is an organic compound that forms part of the folic acid molecule. It plays a role in the health of skin and hair, and historically, it was utilized as an ingredient in sunscreen due to its ability to absorb ultraviolet (UV) light. However, its use in sunscreens has declined because of concerns about allergic reactions and skin irritation.

Causes of Vitamin B10 Deficiency

  1. Inadequate Diet: Although not directly a concern for humans, diets lacking in the necessary precursors for gut bacteria to produce folic acid could theoretically lead to issues.
  2. Gastrointestinal Disorders: Conditions affecting the gut flora, such as Crohn’s disease or the use of antibiotics, could impair the synthesis of PABA and subsequent folic acid production.
  3. High Stress Levels: Chronic stress might indirectly affect the balance of gut bacteria, potentially impacting the production of PABA.
  4. Use of Certain Medications: Long-term use of antibiotics can disrupt gut flora and hinder the synthesis of PABA.

Symptoms of Vitamin B10 Deficiency

Since PABA itself is not essential, deficiency symptoms in humans are not well-documented. However, potential symptoms, largely extrapolated from its role in bacteria, could include:

  1. Skin Disorders: Dry skin, eczema, and dermatitis.
  2. Hair Problems: Premature graying and hair loss.
  3. Fatigue and Weakness: Generalized fatigue due to impaired folic acid synthesis.
  4. Gastrointestinal Issues: Disruptions in gut health, potentially leading to digestive problems.

Diseases Linked to Vitamin B10

Direct diseases related to PABA deficiency in humans are not documented. However, its role in bacterial folic acid synthesis links it indirectly to conditions affected by folate metabolism, such as certain types of anemia.

Foods Rich in Vitamin B10

PABA is not found directly in foods but is produced by gut bacteria. However, consuming a balanced diet that supports gut health can indirectly ensure adequate production. Foods rich in folic acid (since PABA is a part of folic acid synthesis) include:

  1. Leafy Green Vegetables: Spinach, kale, and broccoli.
  2. Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, and beans.
  3. Fruits: Oranges, bananas, and avocados.
  4. Whole Grains: Brown rice, oats, and barley.
  5. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds.

Prevention and Home Remedies

  1. Balanced Diet: Consume a diet rich in folic acid to support gut bacteria health.
  2. Probiotics: Foods like yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables can help maintain a healthy gut flora.
  3. Hydration: Drinking plenty of water supports overall bodily functions, including gut health.
  4. Stress Management: Practices like yoga, meditation, and adequate sleep can help reduce stress levels and support gut health.
  5. Avoid Excessive Antibiotics: Use antibiotics only when necessary to prevent disruption of gut bacteria.


Vitamin B10, or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), is an interesting compound with historical significance in sunscreens and a role in bacterial synthesis of folic acid. While not essential for human health, it highlights the complex interplay between diet, gut health, and overall well-being. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, stress management, and proper hydration can support the natural production of PABA and overall health.


1: Is Vitamin B10 the same as other B vitamins?

 A: No, Vitamin B10 (PABA) is different from other B vitamins like B1 (thiamine) or B12 (cobalamin). It is not an essential vitamin for humans but plays a role in bacterial synthesis of folic acid.

2: Can I get Vitamin B10 from supplements?

 A: PABA supplements are available, but they are generally not necessary for most people. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.

3: Are there any side effects of taking PABA supplements?

 A: PABA supplements can cause side effects in some individuals, including nausea, vomiting, and allergic reactions. Always use supplements under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

4: How can I ensure my body gets enough Vitamin B10? 

A: Maintaining a healthy gut flora through a balanced diet, rich in fiber and probiotics, can help ensure adequate production of PABA.

5: What role does PABA play in sunscreens? 

A: PABA was once commonly used in sunscreens due to its ability to absorb UV light. However, its use has declined due to potential skin irritation and allergic reactions.

6: Can a deficiency in Vitamin B10 cause hair loss? 

A: There is limited evidence directly linking PABA deficiency to hair loss. However, PABA is sometimes included in hair health supplements due to its potential benefits for hair pigmentation and overall health.

Read also: Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Deficiency : A Comprehensive Guide

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