Vitamin B 5 / Pantothenic acid

Pantothenic acid is part of the B vitamin complex and is an important water-soluble vitamin. Essential to all life forms, pantothenic acid is crucial to enzyme activity in the human body.

Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, comes in several forms. D-Calcium Pantothenate is the most commonly used supplemental form of this vitamin. It is more stable than free pantothenic acid and is well absorbed in the digestive tract.

Pantothenic acid is taken from the Greek word pantos, meaning “everywhere”, because it is available in almost all types of food. Most vegetables and fruits contain small amounts of pantothenic acid. The best sources are beef, mushrooms, chicken and milk.

Pantothenic acid is an essential nutrient because it is a key component of coenzyme A (CoA) and Acyl-carrier protein (ACP). The body converts pantothenic acid into a chemical called pantethine. Pantethine is a dimer of pantothenic acid and is the form which is used to make CoA.

CoA is involved in many important reactions in the body. It is critical to the functioning of the Krebs cycle. It helps to convert carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy. CoA is also an important factor in the synthesis of cholesterol, steroid hormones, acetyl choline, melatonin and heme. Additionally CoA plays a role in helping to break down drugs and toxins in the liver.

ACP is critical to the formation of phospholipids which form the membranes of cells and sphingolipids which form the myelin sheath around nerves.

Benefits of Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

Vitamin B5 supports human growth, normal body function and reproduction. Pantothenic acid plays an key role in the production of energy, the catabolism of fatty acids and amino acids, hemoglobin, neurotransmitters, and lipids.

Vitamin B5 is crucial in ensuring a healthy digestive tract and it also helps the body utilize other vitamins more effectively.

Pantothenic acid deficiency is rare, though can occur in victims of starvation. Vitamin B5 deficiency symptoms include fatigue, depression, changes in personality, heart conditions, abdominal cramps, difficulty sleeping, numbness in the arms and legs, muscular weakness, and a greater sensitivity to insulin.

Pantothenic acid, unlike other B vitamins, is not added to processed foods. Food processing techniques, such as heat and canning, destroy pantothenic acid.

Potential Side Effects of Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

Pantothenic acid is not toxic and no serious side effects have been reported at suggested serving sizes. Even excessive amounts of pantothenic acid (several grams per day) do not cause serious side effects, but may cause abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Suggested Use of Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

The suggested serving size for pantothenic acid is 550 milligrams per day.  A 3/16 level teaspoon is equal to 564 milligrams of D-Calcium Pantothenate. The molecule D-Calcium Pantothenate contains 92% pantothenic acid and 8% Calcium by weight. Thus, a 550 mg serving will yield 506 milligrams of pantothenic acid and 44 milligrams of calcium. The FDA recommended Daily Value for pantothenic acid is 10 mg.

Bioavailability, Mixing and Solubility of Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

D-Calcium-Pantothenate mixes well with water or other liquids. This form of Vitamin B5 is more stable than free pantothenic acid and is well absorbed in the digestive tract.

References & Further Research

Wikipedia: Vitamin B5

University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B5

Linus Pauling Institute: Pantothenic Acid

NOTE: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This information is NOT a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist. Do not use any dietary supplement as a replacement for conventional care, or as a reason to postpone seeing a doctor about a medical problem. Tell all your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

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