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Vitamin B4 (Adenine) Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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Vitamin B4

Vitamin B4, also known as Adenine, is one of the eight vitamins that belong to the B-Complex, alongside with Vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B9 (Folic Acid), and B12 (cobalamins).

Vitamin B4 is particularly important to DNA and RNA formation, being one of the two bases required for the formation of these nucleic acids. Adenine binds to Thymine, one of the four nucleobases in the DNA nucleic acid, and contributes to ensuring the equilibrium of the structure. On the other hand, Adenine binds to Uracil to stabilize RNA nucleic acid structure.

Additionally, the nutrient is a component part of Adenosine, which results from Vitamin B4 combined with ribose. One of the most popular forms of Adenosine is Adenosine Triphosphate, or ATP, a high energy molecule essential to vital human processes and functions. ATP also works as a neurotransmitter, facilitating neurological processes and the transportation of nervous impulses at the brain level. Numerous studies evaluate ATP’s benefits in such functions as sleep regulation; however, further research is required to confirm supplementation advantages in the area of blood vessel dilatation and stabilizing heartbeat. Adenosine is also known to exercise natural painkilling properties, blood vessel dilatation benefits, and regulating heartbeat.

Vitamin B4 Functions & Benefits

Very little is known about the structure, functioning mechanisms and health-enhancing properties of vitamin B4 or Adenine. Being a water-soluble vitamin as are all B vitamins, we can conclude that it is easily dissolvable into water hence no supplies can be made by the body for later use. Instead, constant supplies must be provided, so that replenishing and fulfilling body requirements are ensured and further imbalances are avoided.

Adenine’s most notable functions relate to its coenzyme role, meaning it binds and reacts to various other substances. It is important to various energy production processes. Particularly, Vitamin B4 is used to produce ATP or Adenosine Triphosphate, resulted from various processes that take place inside every cell, in the mitochondria part of the cell, also known as the cell’s “power plant.” Although a large part of the process through which ATP is produced remains unclear, it is without a doubt the fact that Vitamin b4 plays a vital role in this process.

Several research studies have explained how caffeine can bind to adenosine receptors, helping enhance nerve signaling and determining a release in adrenaline. This, in turn, is claimed to be responsible for the revitalizing effect of coffee, associated with increased heart rate and enhanced blood pressure that results from boosted levels of adrenaline. A downside of this adenosine binding mechanism would be the fact that caffeine consumption can trigger arrhythmias, abnormal beatings of the heart, and hence caution is advised to patients with a heart condition history.

Other important functions of Vitamin B4 include promotion of cell formation and ensuring healthy tissue development. Adenine helps boost the immune system function, hence increasing the body’s resistance to infections and illness in general. Additionally, the nutrient may possess antioxidant benefits at some level, therefore helping the body prevent and counteract the adverse effects associated with oxidative stress.

Vitamin B4 or adenine may help in alleviating some of the symptoms and even in preventing the on setting of certain health conditions including: anemia, arteriosclerosis, insomnia, headache, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s, diabetes, cataracts, high cholesterol, indigestion, duodenal, and peptic ulcer, gallstones, dandruff, alopecia, heart palpitation, gout, infection with bacteria and viruses, faster wound healing, phlebitis, hypertension, allergies, asthma, muscle cramps and atrophy, infertility, vaginitis, wrinkles, acne, cancer, fatigue, stress, psoriasis, sore gums, etc. Limited evidence seems to suggest that vitamin B4 may stimulate lactation for pregnant women. However, a healthcare provider should be consulted in this regard.


People who are deficient in Vitamin b4 may experience one or more of the following symptoms: skin disorders, blood disorders, nausea, slow physical growth rate, fatigue, vertigo, allergies, fable immune system function, sensitivity to insulin, muscle weakness, GI disturbances, depressed mood, physical exhaustion like feelings, anemia, and increased incidence of infection under all forms.

There is no known for of artificial or natural Vitamin B4 available in the form of dietary supplements. Therefore it is advised that, in case you observe one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, you talk to a specialized healthcare provider and see how you can enhance intakes from a dietary source, which we will detail in the following section of this review.

A daily diet that includes sufficient and balanced intakes of complex carbohydrates should be able to prevent dangerous imbalances that may lead to a deficiency.

Potential antagonists of vitamin B4 (that would counteract its effects) are the same as for most B complex vitamins and include coffee, tea, cocoa, mineral water, overcooked foods, refined and processed foods, herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, alcoholic beverages, and several others.

Best Vitamin B4 Sources

Getting sufficient amounts of B vitamins inside your body is important for the normal functioning of vital organs and body functions. You should remember that all B vitamins are water soluble, and hence constantly supplying them to our body is required to fulfill the nutritional needs of our bodies. There are several food sources available for vitamin B4, which you should make sure to include in your daily diet. These sources include whole grains, whole bread, and numerous herbs and herbal extracts such as blue cohosh, caraway, catnip, cloves, hawthorn, jojoba, sage, rose hips, kelp, spearmint, strawberry, yucca, couch grass, ginger or golden seal. It is possible to enrich your vitamin B 4 intakes by consuming raw honey, Propolis derived products, and bee pollen. A large number of fresh fruits and vegetables are also able to provide you with the right amounts of Vitamin B4, which include apples, oranges, bananas, seeds, tomatoes, and green leafy vegetables among the richest sources of B vitamins in general, including adenine.

You should always remember to discuss any dietary concerns you might have with your healthcare provider, instead of attempting to diagnose and to treat one’s self therapeutically. Dietary supplements, including vitamins, may have serious side effects and drug interactions that may determine serious long-term problems.