Pantothenic acid is named after the Greek word pantos, meaning everywhere because this vitamin is found in virtually all plants and animals. Pantothenic acid is also known as vitamin B5. Like other members of the B-complex family of vitamins, pantothenic acid is water-soluble. That means any excess is not stored but excreted in the urine.
Pantothenic acid is a component of a coenzyme in the body called coenzyme A (CoA). This coenzyme is responsible for a number of chemical reactions.
Coenzyme A is important for helping break down carbohydrates, fats and protein and turning them into usable energy. Although a deficiency of vitamin B5 is rare, it can be characterized by fatigue, listlessness and a feeling of weakness.
Coenzyme A is needed for the synthesis of essential lipids (phospholipids), cholesterol, hormones (melatonin, growth, stress and sex hormones), neurotransmitters (acetylcholine), hemoglobin and antibodies. This coenzyme aids in the metabolism and breakdown of drugs and detoxification of alcohol in the liver.
Pantothenic acid helps the nervous system function properly. In addition, the body’s adrenal glands use vitamin B5 to manufacture stress related hormones.
The beneficial bacteria that reside in the large intestine can manufacture pantothenic acid but the extent and significance of this source is not known.
Animal studies have shown that oral and topical administration of pantothenic acid helps to accelerate wound healing and increase the strength of scar tissue.
An active form of pantothenic acid called pantethine has been show to have cholesterol lowering and triglyceride lowering effects. The mechanism of action is to inhibit cholesterol production and to accelerate the use of fats in energy production.
Major Functions of Pantothenic Acid
– Known as the “anti-stress” vitamin
– Plays a role in production of adrenal hormones
– Essential for conversion of fat and sugar into energy
– Necessary for synthesis of antibodies
Most of the pantothenic acid in foods exists in the coenzyme A form. Rich sources of pantothenic acid include brewer’s yeast, organ meats (liver, kidney, heart and brain), rice & wheat bran, sunflower seeds and mushrooms.
Good sources include eggs, milk, vegetables (broccoli, peppers, avocado, cauliflower, kale, sweet potato), legumes (peanuts, split peas, soybeans, lentils, garbanzo, blackeye peas), nuts (pecans, cashews, hazelnuts) and whole grains (oatmeal, wheat germ, brown rice, wild rice).
Many foods are fortified with pantothenate (a form of pantothenic acid) especially breakfast cereals, beverages, dietetic and baby foods.
Significant amounts of this vitamin can be lost through cooking, freezing and commercial processing. The pantothenic acid content of whole grains is reduced from 35% to 75% due to the processing and refining process.
Recommended Dietary Allowance
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for pantothenic acid is 5 mg for adults. A Tolerable Upper Intake Level for this B-vitamin has not been determined due to lack of data due to adverse events.
If you look on a nutritional supplement facts panel, you’ll notice the Amount Per Serving for pantothenic acid and the % Daily Values is at located at the top of the panel. The Amount Per Serving is based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for this nutrient which is considered to be sufficient to meet the requirements of nearly all (97–98%) healthy individuals in each life-stage and sex group. The Reference Daily Intake for pantothenic acid is 10 mg which represents 100% of the Daily Values.
D-Panthenol is often used in cosmetic products to keep skin moist and supple, stimulate cell growth and repair and inhibit inflammation. This ingredient is often used in hair products to make hair shiny. A good example is Pantene, a popular hair care line made by Procter & Gamble.
Birth control pills may increase the requirements for pantothenic acid. Alcohol decreases the amount of pantothenic acid in body tissue. As a result, alcoholics are at greater risk for pantothenic acid deficiency.
Given its role in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism, adrenal hormone and red blood cell synthesis, pantothenic acid is incorporated in several of our our Recovery and Anti-Aging product formulations. While the B-vitamin is formulated in our morning and evening supplements, the majority of pantothenic acid is in our morning formulations to enhance energy throughout the day.
In our Wellness product line, pantothenic acid is formulated primarily in Energy Support (84 mg) but Bone Support contains some of this B-vitamin (15 mg). Our Multi-Vitamin & Mineral, which combines both products, is formulated with 99 mg of vitamin B5. Anti-Aging Formula is formulated with 66 mg of pantothenic acid.
Last updated July 1, 2018
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.