Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, is a vitamin found in food. It is one of 8 vitamins of the group B.
Pantothenic acid is used in the synthesis of coenzyme A (CoA).
Vitamin B5 plays an important role in metabolizing carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It is also necessary for healing wounds and repairing tissues and cells. The vitamin is essential for the production of the red blood cells, producing sex and stress-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands and the synthesis of cholesterol.
The current estimated average requirements for pantothenic acid depend on the age of the person and vary from 1.7 mg up to 7 mg pro day.
- Infants (0–12 months) – 1.7 -1.8 mg
- Children (1–13 years) – 2-4 mg
- Adult men and women (14+ years) – 5 mg
- Pregnant women – 6 mg
- Breastfeeding women -7 mg
Sources of pantothenic acid are the following:
- Beef liver;
- Sunflower seeds;
- Portabella mushrooms;
- Eggs and diary products;
- Sun-dried tomatoes;
- Whole-grain cereals;
- White and sweet potatoes;
- Members of the cabbage family;
See also: Vitamin D deficiency
Causes and risk factors
Absorption of the vitamin may be impaired by the alcohol abuse, intake of oral contraceptives and malabsorption due to digestive system disorders.
While vitamin B5 deficiency is extremely rare, because vitamin B5 exists to some extent in all foods.
The deficiency of pantothenic acid causes various health problems, including:
- General fatigue;
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders;
- Stomach pains;
- Upper respiratory infections;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Muscle cramps;
- Impaired coordination;
- Tingling sensations (“burning feet” syndrome);
- Hypoglycemia (low level of blood glucose);
- Increased sensitivity to insulin.
Soon after the beginning of treatment the symptoms are gone.
Panthenol-containing supplements ( of pantothenic acid) and proper nutrition are required to treat vitamin B5 deficiency. Multivamin medications are recommended as long as usually the vitamin B5 deficiency is accompanied with the other deficiencies due to poor diet.