By Elson M. Haas MD – A Pioneer In Integrative Medicine
The former Soviet Union has been the most enthusiastic about pangamic acid, feeling that it is a very important nutrient with physiological actions that can treat a multitude of symptoms and diseases. Soviet scientists had shown that pangamic acid supplementation can reduce the buildup of lactic acid in athletes and thereby lessen muscle fatigue and increase endurance. It had been used regularly and commonly in the Soviet Union for many problems, including alcoholism and drug addiction; mental problems such as those of aging and senility, minimal brain damage in children, autism, and schizophrenia; heart disease and high blood pressure; diabetes; skin diseases; liver disease; and chemical poisonings.
As I said, the FDA has taken pangamic acid products off the market. Dimethyl glycine (DMG) has been used by some people as a substitute as it is thought to increase pangamic acid production in the body. Dimethyl glycine combines with gluconic acid to form pangamic acid. It is thought that the DMG is the active component of pangamic acid.
Sources: Pangamic acid was first isolated in 1951 by Drs. Ernest Krebs, Sr. and Jr., from apricot kernels, along with laetrile, termed vitamin B17. At that time, as today, they were not sure whether it was essential to life.
Pangamic acid is also found in whole grains such as brown rice, brewer’s yeast, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Water and direct sunlight may reduce the potency and availability of B15 in these foods.
Functions: Pangamic acid is mainly a methyl donor, which helps in the formation of certain amino acids such as methionine. It may play a role in the oxidation of glucose and in cell respiration. By this function, it may reduce hypoxia (deficient oxygen) in cardiac and other muscles. Like vitamin E, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to lengthen cell life through its protection from oxidation. Pangamic acid is also thought to offer mild stimulation to the endocrine and nervous systems, and by enhancing liver function, it may help in the detoxification process.
Uses: Although many of these uses are not proven, there have been reports of pangamic acid or DMG providing some benefits for a wide range of symptoms, diseases, and metabolic problems. It may be useful for such symptoms as headaches, angina and musculoskeletal chest pain, shortness of breath, insomnia, and general stress—to be used, of course, only after specific medical conditions are ruled out.
B15 has been shown to lower blood cholesterol, so it could provide some nutritional support for those with high serum cholesterol or cardiovascular problems or to reduce heart and blood vessel disease risks. It may also help improve circulation and general oxygenation of cells and tissues, so it may be used with any decreased cardiac or brain functions. Pangamic acid may be helpful in general for atherosclerosis and hypertension, America’s most common diseases.
In Europe vitamin B15 has been used to treat premature aging, because of both its circulatory stimulus and its antioxidant effect. It is felt to be a helpful protectant from pollutants, especially carbon monoxide. Pangamic acid (and possibly DMG) support for anyone living in a large polluted city or with a high-stress lifestyle could be a wave of the future.
In Russia, a big use of pangamic acid has been for treating those with alcohol problems, possibly reducing the craving. It has been reported to diminish hangover symptoms when alcohol has been abused. B15 has also been used to treat fatigue, as well as asthma and rheumatism, and it may even have some antiallergic properties. Some child psychiatrists have reported good results using pangamic acid in disturbed children; it may help by stimulating speaking ability and other mental functions. B15 may also be useful in problems of autism.
More studies regarding all claims of the benefits of pangamic acid must be done, of course, to see which ones may be valid. But as of now, it certainly is a “vitamin” or supplemental nutrient with potential health benefits and research interest.
There is limited information about deficiencies of pangamic acid. There are no clear problems when it is absent in the diet, though some diminished circulatory and oxygenation functions are possible. Decreased cell respiration—that is, decreased oxygen use by cells—may influence many other cellular functions which may lead to effects on the heart.
Natural Sources Of Vitamin B15
Pangamic acid or vitamin B15 has been, in history, used for detoxifying the body of free radicals and poisons; extends the cells’ lifespan in the human body; and, stimulates the oxygen flow from the lungs to the blood, which in turn, carries the oxygen to the muscles, besides the body’s vital organs. Humans can get vitamin B15 naturally from food like:
Whole Brown Rice
The antioxidants in whole brown rice assist prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, as well as reduce inflammation within the body. It’s highly nutritious and also provides fiber, a wide range of minerals and vitamins, such as folate, niacin, B15, and thiamine.
Aside from the fact that it’s tasty, inexpensive, and easy to prepare, buckwheat is a highly nutritional alternative for wheat. It’s gluten-free and a wholesome source of vegetarian protein, fiber, manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, antioxidants, various B vitamins, and plant mixtures, especially quercetin and rutin.
This is a kind of yeast typically growing on hops that are used to manufacture beer. It can provide vigor and help in maintaining healthy hair, skin, mouth, and eyes. This is because the B vitamins, such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folic acid, B15, and biotin, assist in the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
These seeds are good for the hair and skin. Back during the old Babylon days, sesame seeds existed used to preserve beauty. Perhaps, as early as that period, they already discovered that these seeds are packed with essential minerals, B vitamins, fiber, and protein that boost health.
Rich in vitamins E, C, and the B group that’s vital for a hale and hearty nervous system, sunflower seeds are also a good natural source of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium, and protein. In reality, eating a handful is enough to put a stop to your hunger pangs.
Containing large quantities of protein, eating 100 grams of pumpkin seed can cover around 54% of your protein daily allowance. It’s also a splendid source of B vitamins and can help prevent the growth of those painful kidney stones.
This is the velvety part in the apricot’s seed that’s rich in vitamin B15 and B17. In reality, they have been eaten for their healing and nutritional properties for millenniums, especially in arid, cool areas where the trees of apricot naturally grow.