In a nutshell
Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5)
Vitamin B5 health benefits
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. Contrary to advertising, cosmetic products with B5 additives showed no benefits for the 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:
• Difficulty sleeping;
• Mood problems;
• Gastrointestinal disturbances;
• Increased risk of upper respiratory infections;
• Nerve problem;
• Burning, excruciating pain in the foot, especially at night.
Vitamin B5 overdose
Pantothenic acid is generally deemed to be safe, even when taken in large doses. There is no maximum upper limit identified for this vitamin. However, substantial doses have been shown to result in diarrhea. There is a concern that taking too much of this nutrient can lengthen a panic attack in predisposed individuals and may also lengthen the bleeding time in those with hemophilia. More studies are needed to confirm these potential effects.
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.
Sources of Pantothenic acid
Most foods contain small amounts of this vitamin. However, more significant amounts can be found in foods such as liver, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, cheese, yogurt, and fish.
The following foods have high amounts of vitamin B5:
• 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;
• Avocado (100g) - 1.4 mg;
• Broccoli (100g) - 0.6 mg.
Other important sources of Vitamin B5:
• Meat: pork, beef, chicken;
• Hazelnut, buckwheat, and oat groats;
• Peas, green leafy vegetables;
• Egg yolk;
• Milk, yogurt.