Pantothenic acid

Pantothenic acid or else Vitamin B5 can be found in all living cells. It comprises one of the eight water soluble vitamins of the B complex. The role of the latter is to convert carbohydrates to glucose, which in turn provides energy. They are important for fat and protein breakdown as well as preserving the muscle tone in the gut. Furthermore, they benefit the nervous system, skin, hair, nails, eyes, mouth and liver.

Function in the body

Beyond its contribution in emulsifying fats and carbohydrates, vitamin B5 is of high importance in forming red cells and also stress-hormones in the adrenal glands. It contributes maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal system by aiding the absorption of other vitamins especially that of B2(riboflavin). Sometimes it is referred as the relaxing vitamin because it is believed to improve the immune-system function and consequently help the body to counterbalance at stressful times.

Pantethine is an active stable from of pantothenic acid and has gained great attention the past few years as possible treatment for high cholesterol. Panthenol comprises another form of vitamin B5 and is often met as an ingredient in hair and beauty products under the notion that it gives shine and softness.

Uses

Laboratory studies and minimal in humans suggest that B5 can speed up wound healing especially after surgery. This can have grounds if combined with vitamin C.

It is imperative for those who had burns, to receive adequate quantities of nutritious ingredients in their diet due to shortage that appears. Doing otherwise a great hazard lurks for infections, reduction in healing time and prolonging the hospital care. Yet it is not clear which elements are the most beneficial for people with burns. However, many studies recommend the administration of a multivitamin-mineral supplement with B complex in order to boost the healing process.

Over the past two decades emerging studies suggest that high doses of pantethin may help patients with high triglycerides and/ cholesterol. Those studies though had only a small number of participants. However, the results were quite encouraging, since not only the cholesterol levels were decreased but also there was an increase in HDL(good). Pantethin has been studied in small children with high cholesterol too. It is under current research whether pantethin can be used in cardiovascular diseases and weight loss.

A use of vitamin B5 with particular interest is that in arthritis. Researchers report that the levels of pantothenic acid in rheumatoid arthritis is much less than that of healthy people. A study undertaken in 1980 concluded that 2gramms of daily intake of vitamin B5 improved the symptoms of arthritis, including morning stiffness and pain. Nonetheless, more studies are required to verify those findings. Similarly, people suffering from obesity who suffered with osteoarthritis had improvement in their symptoms when they received appropriate amount of vitamin B5 and being in a weight loss program.

Main sources

The term pantothenic originate from the Greek word “pantou” (παντού) meaning everywhere. It is therefore self explanatory that pantothenic acid lies within nearly all foods. The foods that are very rich in vitamin B5 are, brewer’s yeast, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, avocado, lentils, eggs, beef ( especially liver and kidneys), turkey, duck, chicken, milk, peas, peanuts, soya, sunflower seeds, wholemeal bread, cereals, lobster, wheatgerm and salmon ,

Signs of shortage

Even though it is present in most foods it is very rare that one may be in shortage of this vitamin. There are however some factors that may reduce the amount vitamin B5 in foods, to mention a few; heat, processing, cooking, alcohol, acids and canning process. Low levels of vitamin B5 are likely to show symptoms like, fatigue, insomnia, depression, irritability, , nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, burning feet and infection in the upper respiratory system.

Dose and administration

Doses vary from 1,7mg for infants, up to 5mg for teenagers and adults.

During pregnancy and breast feeding 5-7mg respectively.

High doses of vitamin B5 may be administrated for special purposes like rheumatoid arthritis (2grams daily) , high cholesterol and triglycerides ( 300mg pantethine three times daily) but always prescribed by a professional healthcare provider.

Vitamin B5 is better to be taken with water and preferably after meals. Taking a single B vitamin for a long period may cause imbalance to the rest of the B vitamins. Hence, it is recommended that one receives a vitamin B supplement on top of any other vitamin of the B family.

Warnings and interactions

Pantothenic acid should be avoided with the antibiotic tetracycline as it interferes in the absorption and efficacy of this drug.

Generally, vitamin B complex and tetracycline should be addressed at different times.

Note: as with all herbs and nutritional supplements, you should not try any of the above if you are on medical treatment and/ unless you have the consent of a professional healthcare provider. The author takes no responsibility for the event of improper use of the above information.