Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)

Vitamin B5

vitamin B5

The name pantothenic acid is derived from the Greek word pantothen which means “from everywhere”. This is very relevant because small amounts of this nutrient are found in nearly every food source.

Like other B vitamins, B5 plays an important role in metabolism (breaking down and transforming the foods we eat into energy and basic materials used for rebuilding tissues in the body). Vitamin B5 is water soluble, meaning it is not stored in large amounts in the body, so it must be obtained regularly through the diet.

B5 is often referred to as the stress vitamin due to its important role in the health and proper functioning of the adrenal gland, which produces stress hormones. This B vitamin is necessary for regulating certain enzymes, hormones (glucocorticoids)  and other proteins in the body. It may  be beneficial for helping to ease symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. This nutrient is important for nerve health, affecting the myelin sheath surrounding nerves. This vitamin is important for the production of red blood cells. B5 can decrease total cholesterol numbers with a reduction in bad cholesterol and an increase in good cholesterol.

Pantothenic acid is often included in supplements and topical preparations for nails, skin, and hair care. Low levels of this B vitamin have been shown to produce hair loss and graying hair in rats, leading some to believe this vitamin can help improve the condition of hair and nails. This vitamin has been shown to accelerate wound healing in some cases.

nutshell In a nutshell
nutshell Due to its ability to stimulate production of the adrenal gland’s hormones, which retard development of inflammation in the body, and protect against the damaging influence of microorganisms, B5 can be an important treatment of diseases such as arthritis, colitis, allergies and acne.
nutshell This nutrient can decrease total cholesterol with a reduction in bad cholesterol and an increase in good cholesterol.
nutshell Contrary to advertising, cosmetic products with B5 additives showed no benefits for health of hair and nails in human trials.

Vitamin B5 deficiency


It is very rare to develop a deficiency in this nutrient because it is found almost everywhere. Those with severe cases of malnutrition may experience a deficiency. Lack of proteins (meat) in the diet also can lead to B5 deficiency, as well as long-term use of antibiotics and sulfonamides. Symptoms of B5 deficiency may include:
• Fatigue;
• Difficulty sleeping;
• Mood problems;
• Anemia;
• Gastrointestinal disturbances;
• Increased risk of upper respiratory infections;
• Nerve problem;
• Burning, excruciating pain in the foot, especially at night.

Vitamin B5 overdose


Vitamin B5 overdose. This nutrient is generally deemed to be safe, even when taken in large doses.There is no maximum upper limit identified for this vitamin. However, extremely large doses have been shown to result in diarrhea. There is also a concern that taking too much of this nutrient can lengthen the amount of time of a panic attack in predisposed individuals and may also lengthen bleeding time in those with hemophilia. More studies are needed to confirm these potential effects.

Daily Recommended Intake


Daily Recommended Intake. Daily recommended dosage begins at 1.7 mg per day for infants to 5 mg a day for adults. Those who are pregnant or nursing may need a little more. There is no daily limit or recommendation for topical applications.

Most foods contain small amounts of this vitamin. However, larger amounts can be
found in foods such as liver, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, cheese, yogurt, and fish.

The following foods have high amounts of Pantothenic acid:
• Mushrooms shiitake (dried) (100g) – 21.9 mg;
• Liver (beef) cooked (100g) – 7.7 mg
• Sunflower seeds (100g) -7.0 mg;
• Liver (turkey, chicken, duck, goose) (100g) -6.2 mg;
• Mushrooms shiitake (cooked) (100g) – 3.6 mg;
• Caviar, black and red (100g) – 3.5 mg;
• Salmon fish (100g) – 1.9 mg;
• Cheese roquefort (100g) -1.7 mg;
• Cheese camembert (100g) – 1.3 mg;
• Avocados (100g) – 1.4 mg;
• Broccoli (100g) – 0.6 mg.

Other important sources of Vitamin A:
• Meat: pork, beef, chicken;
• Tuna;
• Hazelnut, buckwheat and oat groats;
• Peas, green leafy vegetables;
• Egg yolk;
• Milk,yogurt.

… “from everywhere”


The name Pantothenic acid is derived from the Greek word “pantothen” which means “from everywhere”. This is very relevant because small amounts of this nutrient are found in nearly every food source. This vitamin was discovered in 1933 by American biochemist Roger J. Williams. Williams isolated and then identified this B vitamin through metabolic and growth experiments with yeast. He is the same person who is responsible for concentrating and naming folic acid, which is also one of the B vitamins. Being the fifth of the B vitamins to be isolated and identified, this nutrient can also be referred to as Vitamin B5.