Pangamic acid is a water-soluble nutrient that was originally isolated in extracted apricot kernels and later was obtained in crystalline form from rice bran, rice polish, whole-grain cereals, brewer's yeast, steer blood, and horse liver. Pangamic acid promotes oxidation processes and cell respiration and stimulates glucose oxidation. The chief merit of pangamic acid is its ability to eliminate the phenomenon of hypoxia, an insufficient supply of oxygen in living tissue. This is especially true in the cardiac and other muscles.
Pangamic acid is essential in promoting protein metabolism, particularly in the muscles of the heart. It regulates fat and sugar metabolism, which partly accounts for its effects on atherosclerosis and diabetes. In some treatments, the action of pangamic acid is improved by the addition of vitamins A and E.
Pangamic acid is helpful in stimulating the glandular and nervous system and is helpful in treating high blood cholesterol levels, impaired circulation, and premature aging. It can help protect against the damaging effect of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Little is actually known about pangamic acid, and only small quantities are used in the United States although it is used widely in Russia and other European countries. Pharmaceutical pangamic acid is derived from ground apricot pits. Good natural sources of pangamic acid are brewer's yeast, whole brown rice, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
Little is known about the absorption and storage of pangamic acid, but excessive amounts are excreted through the kidneys and bowels and in perspiration.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance has not been established. According to Dr. Ernest T. Krebs, Jr., pangamic acid has no undesirable effects and its toxic level for man is 100,000 times the therapeutic dose.16 Clinical tests in which intramuscular injections of pangamic acid were given in doses of 2.5 to 10 milligrams daily proved completely nontoxic. After injections, some patients experienced a flushing of the skin. Similar effects were noted with niacin, but no laboratory changes were reported. The valuable quality of the substance is its nontoxicity.
Deficiency Effects and Symptoms
A deficiency of pangamic acid may cause diminished oxygenation of cells, heart disease, and glandular and nervous disorders.
Beneficial Effect on Ailments
Many claims have been made concerning the therapeutic value of pangamic acid. In widespread Soviet clinical tests, over one-half of hospitalized sclerosis patients responded to pangamic acid therapy. Even patients who have had serious heart attacks have been restored to good health with treatments of pangamic acid. Most tests on pangamic acid have been conducted in the USSR.
People complaining of headaches, chest pains, shortness of breath, tension, insomnia, and other common symptoms of advancing atherosclerosis have benefited from additional pangamic acid. Pangamic acid has been found to alleviate hypoxia and has been used in cases of coronary artery insufficiency. It has been shown to relieve symptoms of angina, cyanosis (a discoloration of skin due to poor oxidation), and asthma. Good results have been obtained in the treatment of rheumatism, rheumatic heart disease, and acute and chronic cases of alcoholism. Some alcoholics have lost their craving for alcohol when treated with pangamic acid. Pangamic acid has been helpful in treating chronic hepatitis and early stages of liver cirrhosis. Betty Lee Morales, a pangamic acid researcher, has had success using pangamic acid in treating conditions such as circulatory problems, emphysema, and premature aging. Dr. Ya. Yu. Shpirt, a Russian, developed a combination of vitamins A and E (AEVIT) which has proved to be therapeutically successful in treating severe cases of atherosclerosis of the lower limbs.
There are indications that pangamic acid may be a preventive substance in the treatment of cancer.
Dr. Felix Warburg states: "The primary cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar. All normal body cells meet their energy needs by respiration of oxygen, whereas cancer cells meet their energy needs in great part by fermentation, an oxidative decomposition of complex substances through the action of enzymes. All normal cells require oxygen and cancer cells can thrive without oxygen."23 According to Warburg's theory, because of the lack of oxygen the cell is faced with death. The cells without oxygen are able to change their metabolism and to derive their energy from glucose fermentation. These cells may become malignant. Thus a preventive treatment against deoxidation of cells is inclusion of sufficient pangamic acid in the diet.
Russian investigators have used pangamic acid on retarded children with considerable success. After treatment of 20 milligrams three times daily, the patients showed improvement in speech development, increased vocabulary, and improved mental states, intellectual activity, concentration, and interest in extracurricular activities.
and continued over the following period. Ten days after the end of treatment with pangamic acid, the general level of cholesterol was greatly reduced. (Clark, Know Your Nutrition, p. 128.)
milligrams per day.