Vitamin B5 is a water-soluble vitamin from the B group of vitamins. It helps produce energy by breaking down fats and carbohydrates. Moreover, it promotes healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. People need B5 to synthesize and metabolize fats, proteins, and coenzyme A. B5 is one of the less known vitamins, possibly because deficiencies of it are rare. However, vitamin B5 is also known as pantothenic acid, or Pantothenate. The word pantothenic comes from the Greek "pantou," meaning everywhere. Nearly all foods contain small quantities of pantothenic acid.
Sources of vitamin B5
The best way to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B5 is to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Vitamin B5 is an easy vitamin to incorporate into a good diet. It’s found in most vegetables, including:
- members of the cabbage family
- white and sweet potatoes
- whole-grain cereals
Other healthy sources of B5 include:
- dairy products
Why Is Vitamin B5 Necessary?
Pantothenic acid is vital in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats; for healthy skin. It is used in the synthesis of coenzyme A (CoA), an enzyme that is to blame for a variety of reactions in the body, especially the breaking down of fatty acids. Pantothenic acid deficiency is a rare but serious condition that can cause numbness and burning sensations in the hands and feet as well as headaches, fatigue, and insomnia. Since pantothenic acid is involved in a wide variety of biological functions, deficiencies of the vitamin may not be easily identified or may be masked by other nutrient deficiencies.
Vitamin B5 provides a multitude of benefits to the human body. It is found in living cells as a coenzyme A (CoA), which is vital to numerous chemical reactions. Pantothenic acid is typically used in combination with other B vitamins in the form of a vitamin B complex formulation. The other vitamins in the vitamin B complex are vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), and folic acid. B vitamins turn carbohydrates into glucose, which is the fuel that produces energy. B vitamins also help the body use fat and protein and are also important for maintaining a healthy nervous system, eyes, skin, hair and liver.
Specifically, B5 helps to:
- Create red blood cells
- Create stress-related and sex hormones
- Maintain a healthy digestive tract
- Process other vitamins, particularly vitamin B2
- Synthesize cholesterol
Use in medical conditions
People take vitamin B5 supplements and derivatives to help with a range of conditions. These conditions include:
- burning feet syndrome
- celiac disease
How Much Vitamin B5 Does An Adult Need?
A daily adequate intake (AI) of 5 mg is recommended for both men and women. The recommended daily AI for pregnant women is 6 mg, and seven mg for breastfeeding women. There is no known toxicity level for pantothenic acid in humans, but gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and heartburn have been reported in doses up to 1,200 mg.
Overdose and side effects
Since vitamin B5 is water soluble, excess is simply filtered by the body and flushed away by the urinary tract, there is very little concern about overdosing. There is no known toxic level for B5," said Arthur. Very high doses of vitamin B5, 10 to 20 grams per day, have been found to cause diarrhea.
Vitamin B5 is an important vitamin that helps your body make blood cells and convert food into energy. As long as you eat a balanced and healthy diet that incorporates a variety of foods, it’s unlikely you’ll ever suffer from vitamin B5 deficiency or need to use supplements.