Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Panthethine) | Deficiencies, Excesses and Recommendations
Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is a water soluble B complex vitamin. It is widely found in both plants and animals. In fact, pantothenic acid gets its name from the Greek word pantos, meaning “everywhere,” because of how ubiquitous it is.
Vitamin B5 is the key precursor for the biosynthesis of Co-enzyme A (CoA). CoA is then used to synthesize and metabolize protein, carbohydrates and fats into energy.
Pantothenic Acid is necessary for the synthesis of red blood cells, steroid metabolism, neuron activity and stimulation of antibody production. It also promotes healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver.
Synthesis of cholesterol, which is necessary for the production of steroids and other hormones depends on pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid also activates the adrenal glands.
In addition to the more common term pantothenic acid, Vitamin B5 is also known as calcium pantothenate, and pantothenol.
Pantethine is a derivative of Vitamin B5 with a unique set of functions, and should not be confused with the actual vitamin. Some of pantethine’s possible benefits are highlighted in the Potential Life Enhancements section of this article.
What Could Happen If I Don’t Get Enough Vitamin B5?
Pantothenic Acid deficiency is very rare in the United States and other developed countries. However, severe deficiency may cause:
- Extreme tiredness
- Burning of the hands and feet, aka “Burning Feet Syndrome”
- Loss of appetite, heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
Oral contraceptives may increase one’s need for pantothenic acid in order to prevent a deficiency.
What Will Happen If I Get Too Much Vitamin B5?
As with other water soluble vitamins, excess is excreted in the urine so toxicity is unlikely. However, it’s not impossible to overdo it.
Too much pantothenic acid may lead to heartburn, nausea, or diarrhea. In addition, it may interfere with the absorption of biotin potentially causing a deficiency of this important nutrient.
Eat adequate amounts of fresh mushrooms, avocados, sweet potatoes, lentils and sunflower seeds. Non-vegetarian sources of Vitamin B5 include eggs, fish, lean chicken, beef, pork, and milk. Note that processing removes much of the pantothenic acid content from foods, so fresh food sources are better.
Little Change Recommended Supplements
If you choose to take a supplement, we generally recommend using a brand that submits to independent, third-party testing, or has been independently tested and approved by Consumer Labs.
Potential Life Enhancements
- Pantothenic Acid might improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), likely when a deficiency of this nutrient is present. (R)
- May promote healthy skin and reduce risk of acne.
- May help support healthy blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels levels. (R)
- May support liver health, especially in cases of fatty liver. (R)
- May help reduce risk or delay the development of cataracts.
- In conjunction with other nutrients, pantethine may minimize some of the negative effects of stress. (R)