Using vitamin supplements to treat common appearance problems is quite common. Vitamin B5 has become a popular home treatment for acne and is claimed by many to be very effective. According to a doctor named Lit-Hung Leung, mega dosing (taking extremely high doses) with vitamin B5 can help to cure acne because he claims acne itself is caused by a vitamin B5 deficiency. From Wikipedia:
“According to a study published in 1995 by Dr. Lit-Hung Leung, high doses of vitamin B5 resolved acne and decreased pore size. Dr. Leung also proposed a mechanism, stating that CoA regulates both hormones and fatty acids, and without sufficient quantities of pantothenic acid, CoA will preferentially produce androgens. This causes fatty acids to build up and be excreted through sebaceous glands, causing acne. Leung’s study gave 45 Asian males and 55 Asian females varying doses of 10-20g of pantothenic acid (100000% of the US Daily Value), 80% orally and 20% through topical cream. Leung noted improvement of acne within one week to one month of the start of the treatment.”
However, others say that taking such high doses is dangerous as it throws the body’s natural chemical makeup out of balance.
Having not tried this treatment myself, it’s difficult to comment on its effectiveness or its dangers. In researching this post it was very difficult to find hard facts which didn’t come from people praising vitamin B5 and trying to sell supplements and people crying ‘scam!’ and trying to sell alternatives. On forums opinion was similarly split between those who had good results and those who had seen little effect.
It seems that megadosing vitamin B5 can be very effective in treating acne, but unlike with some treatments, it looks like once the patient stops taking the supplement, the acne often returns. I’m undecided on the long term effects of taking vitamin B5 in such large doses.
I’m going to have a chat with my doctor and do more research on this before commenting further.