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Hi. I haven't visited this site in a few months, so please don't get me mixed up with some other cd's that I see have posted some inflammatory messages. There is something I feel I should let this community know about.

I finally got myself off pantothenic acid and I feel SO much better. Perhaps I should give some background information.

It all started about 5 months ago when I was searching for some relief from my acne. I was so tired of it, and I was extremely desperate at this point. I came across the suggestion of using pantothenic acid(vitamin b5) in an old archived message on this site to cure acne. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I gave it a shot. As the message suggested, I started off with 8 grams of pantothenic acid daily. The results came quickly and very impressively. I was extremely happy with what I had discovered, and I was very willing to sacrifice the money to pay for this "wonder vitamin" every month.

I continued this dosage for about 2 and a half months with consistent positive results, then--also according to the original message's suggestions--I attempted to cut myself down to 2 grams per day. Within a week my acne had come back, so I went back up to 8 grams, thinking that it would be okay to stay on this dosage. I maintained this dosage up until 3 days ago, which gives a total of about 5 months of pantothenic acid usage.

A few days ago I was in the doctor's office due to some severe cuts on both sides of my mouth(the left and right part where both lips meet). I had had these irritating cuts for almost a month, and they refused to heal. It seemed as though they would slowly get better over the course of a few days, and then I would wake up the next morning to find the wounds reopened and bleeding again. I finally gave in and made a doctor's appointment because of these things(They were more than just a nuisance. It was very painful to talk, laugh, eat, etc., and they were VERY noticeable and unattractive. They were actually quite large gashes).

The doctor told me they were due to one of two things: a food allergy, or a vitamin deficiency. As soon as he mentioned the second possible cause I finally realized what was going on. By megadosing on pantothenic acid, I had given myself a deficiency in several other vitamins. I stopped taking the b5 3 days ago. Right now my cuts are almost completely healed.

This may not seem like a big deal, but the cuts were really only the surface of what the pantothenic acid was doing to me. I had slowly become increasingly frail, fragile, and diseased over the past five months. I was always very tired and very nauseous. I had developed severe gastrointestinal problems whenever I ate anything at all. My skin had become extremely dry and rough. I would get dizzy after walking even the shortest distances. I had developed a case of insomnia. I was always angry and irritable. Most importantly, I had developed a prostate problem. I was constantly urinating(this is probably why my skin was dry. I think the pantothenic acid was dehydrating me). I had extreme muscle tension in my groin area making it very hard to sleep or exercise(as if I had the strength in the first place). I was just incredibly sick in too many ways to describe. I felt plain awful.

Every single one of these symptoms has either completely vanished or vastly improved over the past three days. I am confident that in a week or two I will finally be back to my normal, healthy self.

You may wonder why I didn't notice any of this was happening over the past five months. I also wonder. I suppose I was so hypnotized by the results of my complexion that I completely ignored what I was doing to the rest of my body. The idea that thse things were happening to me because of the vitamin b5 never occured to me, or--if it did--I had completely ignored that terrifying notion.

It's not easy to get off of this vitamin. Sometimes I feel that my looks are all I have going for me, and now I won't even have that.

The reason I'm writing this message is not to scare anyone off of pantothenic acid. However, in case you're going through what I was going through, you need to open your eyes. Anyone who is meticulous enough to eat a whole foods diet, and then megadose on a B vitamin is severely missing the point. Even if you supplement with other B vitamins to make up for the potential deficiency I believe you are harming yourself. I still, more now than ever before, stick by my original theory that b5 cures acne not by metabolizing fats as the scientific report states, but because of its drying side-effects1.

If you are thinking about starting to supplement with pantothenic acid, please be aware of my warning. Take special care to keep track of what is going on with your body so that you can stop usage if things get too serious.

Now I see people who, while never having supplemented with pantothenic acid, are recommending it to newcomers asking about accutane. Similarly, these same people warn against accutane without ever having used it themselves(I know this argument has been done to death, and I guess I'm jumping on the bandwagon). I have taken both of these, and pantothenic acid made me far sicker than accutane did. I'm not suggesting that this is the case for everyone, or even for ANYONE else, but I think we should think twice before blindly recommending a treatment. Then there is always the added comfort that accutane is meant to be taken under the supervision of a doctor.

Man, this message came out to be a lot longer than I meant it to be. Again, just to repeat myself, I'm not telling anyone what to do. It's your body, and you may not even see any of these side-effects. However, I think this information needs to be put out there so that people know about the potential side effects when they make their decision about how to attack their acne.

Thank you for reading,
cd.

1 I believe I've already stated why I didn't think pantothenic acid worked the way Lit-Hung Leung claims it does. Just in case I didn't, I'll state it again here. The doctor's entire argument is based on the belief that the "patient" is giving himself extra pantothenic acid, thus allowing himself to produce more coenzyme-A than he normally could. This extra coenzyme-A then aids in the metabolization of the fats which clog pores, thus reducing acne. The main flaw in this argument is that coenzyme-A is just that, an enzyme. Enzymes are NEVER used up in their designated processes. This is the definition of an enzyme. In other words, a few doses of extra pantothenic acid should create enough coenzyme-A to last us indefinitely. The notion that one should continue to supplement with a building block of an enzyme for months is, to me at least, ludicrous. This is the reason that the RDA of vitamin B-5 is only 10 mg(1/1000th of what Lit-Hung Leung's experimental patients were taking). Lit-Hung Leung confronts this inconsistency here udner the heading "Conclusion." In my opinion, he basically dodges the issue and gives a shady explanation.
This was cut and pasted from another board- I've read it in two other places now. It is not a scientific study, there is nothing to support it except one person's skepticism. If anyone chooses not to try b5, and misses an opportunity to clear their skin, based upon this one theoretical example... it will be very sad. I marvel that so many are eager to jump at the chance to take Accutane which is proven to cause hair-loss, kidney and liver damage, severe birth defects, depression... etc. Not to mention all the long-term horrors of antibiotics and even retin-A, yet people will shy away from something water soluble and non-toxic just because ONE person "thinks" they had some weird reaction from b5. The imagination and power of placebo reactions is very strong. ONE person can mention they "think" their hair fell out during a treatment and suddenly everyone thinks theirs is falling out too. I and so many others on b5 can swear that we not only feel great, but the side effects have been very positive ones- besides acne gone- more energy- thicker hair- etc etc etc etc... There are pharmiceutical companies at risk if b5 really works- they would have no one to sell their acne rememedies to- I have seen b5 bashing on several boards and I have to wonder where they are coming from. if you research what it is and what it is doing internally... the chances of the bizarre things people are claiming are impossible. I do not mean to bash this person or his/her post. I don't want to discredit his/her claims... but to read it and accept it as the ultimate truth is very naive. it is highly unlikely that the effects being described could be related to b5. Pantothenic Acid is excreted daily in the urine- it does not build up in your system. There are some wonderful scientific sites and personal testimonies on other boards- but of course I'm not allowed to post them here. Please do your research and don't accept one negative report as the bible.
quote:
Originally posted by vitamin_man:

If you are thinking about starting to supplement with pantothenic acid, please be aware of my warning. Take special care to keep track of what is going on with your body so that you can stop usage if things get too serious.



Dear CD,

Your admonition to "be aware" when using supplements in megadosages is good advice--no matter what the vitamins are being used, whenever one supplement is taken in excessive quantities of others, the risk of creating a deficiency is very real. This I have read several times over the years as I have long-used supplements for "treating" my own certain health conditions. We should all listen to our bodies and be guarded when we ingest anything that is presumed to be affecting changes in our systems.

I have also used Accutane in my lifetime and have had excellent results from it. Unfortunately, Accutane is not readily available in retail outlets and does require a doctor's prescription. Acne is not a disease that allows a patient a lot of choices for reliable treatment. So when a potentially exciting treatment, like B5, presents itself as having "curative" powers, its immediate availability to those of us who can't get Accutane is a great relief! For me, personally, I have a low threshold of frustration when dealing with the US health care system and the limitations of what health insurance will allow doctor's to prescribe. For me, patience is not a virtue and so being creative with supplements gives me a feeling of control with my health--this is why I read constantly about supplemental efficacy.

Even with all the rave reviews for B5 that I read about here, I do still make a conscious decision about whether I take the vitamin based on additional research. I'm not very scientific, but I'm knowledgeable about what I'm taking.

quote:
Now I see people who, while never having supplemented with pantothenic acid, are recommending it to newcomers asking about accutane. Similarly, these same people warn against accutane without ever having used it themselves



I would submit to you, that if someone were posting their inquiry about Accutane usage to a board like this, and took the recommendations of responders to use B5--with no further investigation into the use of either B5 or Accutane--then that says more about the willing ignorance of the one asking the question. Health care is not a one way dialogue with a patient. As a health care consumer--patient--I should ask questions and think about the answers. I should use the expertise and guidance of health care professionals and I can certainly consider the anecdotal evidence of treatments that other patients, like me, have to offer. I should NOT blindly accept one answer or answers as absolute. I should weigh the evidence and make informed decisions for myself, ultimately.

quote:
I think we should think twice before blindly recommending a treatment.



It's not the responsibility of anyone posting their experience with B5 to consider whether they should recommend its usage or to discourage the usage of Accutane. The responsibility lies with the persons reading the information to make their own decisions--and to be informed or ignorant about their decisions. Even your negative experience with megadoses of B5 proves to be valuable information. But if you had not tried B5, you would not be able to offer your insights that might help the next B5 user.

quote:
Then there is always the added comfort that accutane is meant to be taken under the supervision of a doctor.



I get no comfort from a doctor's supervision when prescribing one more oral antibiotic for treating acne.

quote:
Again, just to repeat myself, I'm not telling anyone what to do. It's your body, and you may not even see any of these side-effects. However, I think this information needs to be put out there so that people know about the potential side effects when they make their decision about how to attack their acne.



I appreciate your restressing why you posted your experience with the B5. You have valuable insight into a potential side effect of over-dosing with the vitamin and this is important for anyone to consider when we choose to use supplements in our health care.

Respectfully, Pat
quote:
Originally posted by vitamin_man:
You make good points Pat, and i appreciate you not bashing me for standing firm in my thoughts about b5.


What bothers me the most is that B5 had a negative impact on you and what you want is to be relieved from your acne. But you could be having a bad reaction to any number of drugs that a physician could prescribe to you. Which is why I urge you to reconsider giving the B5 another shot.

Oh, I don't have my own data in on the stuff, yet. I only started using 4 grams a day of the vitamin 10 days ago, so I can't confirm whether it has had any huge impact on my degree of acne.

What I did decide from reading posts about B5, and other sources, was that 10 grams was suggested for the severest acne, and 4 grams "seemed" like a good place to start if one had acne vulagaris (the all-purpose acne). Ten grams of B5 felt like trouble for me. But if I could tolerate the effects of 4 grams, I could consider upping the dosage. I had already experienced in the past the sickening feeling from doing too much of the B vitamins, so I was familiar with the potential side effects of megadosing the Bs.

To date, I have experienced lip dryness and my hands are very dry. I admit, I'm taking other supplements in addition to the 4 grams of B5, so it's hard to say absolutely, 4 grams is all my body can tolerate.

Vitamin Man, I feel strongly that acne is a bothersome, irritating, aggravating and often devastating condition that is grossly over-treated with oral antibiotics and under-treated with contempt and dismissiveness from the medical community. If nothing else, for every one of us who tries vitamin B5 can add to the body of evidence that it can work to alleviate the suffering from acne, then I'm willing to be a guinea pig, lab rat, or any other test subject. I'd rather be the testee than some poor, innocent animal anyway, so before B5 gets taken to the pharmaceutical companies for their profit margin, maybe I can save a few creatures from the tests I can conduct on myself. (Okay, I'm a tree-hugger...)

quote:
I will give one major suggestion to who ever suffers with oily skin..USE A PROPER CLEASNER THAT IS DESIGNED FOR OILY SKIN. A well made high quality cleanser with glycolic acid in it should be your best friend.



Oh, I do benefit from glycolic products! I'm a firm believer in putting sugar on my skin rather than in my body. Regards, pat





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