Pantothenic Acid-Vitamin B5
Pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5, is an antioxidant water-soluble vitamin needed to break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Pantothenic acid comes in three forms, and it is alternately known as vitamin B5, panthenol and calcium pantothenate. Pantothenic acid is integral to many of the activities of enzymes in the human body. The body uses pantothenic acid to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats for energy. Pantothenic acid functions as a component of coenzyme A and phosphopantetheine, which are involved in fatty acid metabolism. This vitamin also produces numerous enzymes and helps maintain precise communication between the central nervous system and the brain.

Pantothenic acid is vital to the synthesis and maintenance of coenzyme A (COA), a cofactor and acyl group carrier for many enzymatic processes, and acyl carrier protein, a component of the fatty acid synthase complex. Pantothenic acid is metabolized to coenzyme A via a sequence of steps. Coenzyme A is a precursor of acyl carrier protein. Coenzyme A (CoA) is involved in the metabolic release of energy from macronutrients - especially fats - from the TCA cycle, metabolism of drugs and toxins in the liver, and the synthesis of lipids, acetylcholine, steroid hormones, porphyrins, hemoglobin, and melatonin. Because of the wide variety of roles CoA plays in the body, the utilities of supplemental pantothenic acid are many.

Pantothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that it cannot be stored by the body and must be replenished every day. Pantothenic acid is virtually ubiquitous. It is present in foods as diverse as poultry, soybeans, yogurt, and sweet potatoes. Pantothenic acid comes in two forms: calcium pantothenate and pantethine. The former is widely used for treating ailments from stress to heartburn, while pantethine is mainly recommended for lowering blood cholesterol levels in those who don't respond to other natural treatments. The principal supplemental form of pantothenic acid is calcium D-pantothenate (D-calcium pantothenate). Dexpanthenol, the corresponding alcohol of pantothenic acid is also available. Dexpanthenol is used topically to promote wound healing.

What is pantothenic acid?
Pantothenic acid is a vitamin, also known as vitamin B5. It is widely found in both plants and animals including meat, vegetables, cereal grains, legumes, eggs, and milk.

Vitamin B5 is commercially available as D-pantothenic acid, as well as dexpanthenol and calcium pantothenate, which are chemicals made in the lab from D-pantothenic acid.

Pantothenic acid is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex formulations. Vitamin B complex generally includes vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin/niacinamide), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), and folic acid. However, some products do not contain all of these ingredients and some may include others, such as biotin, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), choline bitartrate, and inositol.

Pantothenic acid has a long list of uses, although there isn't enough scientific evidence to determine whether it is effective for most of these uses. People take pantothenic acid for treating dietary deficiencies, acne, alcoholism, allergies, baldness, asthma, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, burning feet syndrome, yeast infections, heart failure, carpal tunnel syndrome, respiratory disorders, celiac disease, colitis, conjunctivitis, convulsions, and cystitis. It is also taken by mouth for dandruff, depression, diabetic nerve pain, enhancing immune function, improving athletic performance, tongue infections, gray hair, headache, hyperactivity, low blood sugar, trouble sleeping (insomnia), irritability, low blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, muscular cramps in the legs associated with pregnancy or alcoholism, neuralgia, and obesity.

Pantothenic acid is also used orally for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's disease, nerve pain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), enlarged prostate, protection against mental and physical stress and anxiety, reducing adverse effects of thyroid therapy in congenital hypothyroidism, reducing signs of aging, reducing susceptibility to colds and other infections, retarded growth, shingles, skin disorders, stimulating adrenal glands, chronic fatigue syndrome, salicylate toxicity, streptomycin neurotoxicity, dizziness, and wound healing.

People apply dexpanthenol, which is made from pantothenic acid, to the skin for itching, promoting healing of mild eczemas and other skin conditions, insect stings, bites, poison ivy, diaper rash, and acne. It is also applied topically for preventing and treating skin reactions to radiation therapy.

Where it is found?
Small quantities of pantothenic acid are found in most foods. The major food source of pantothenic acid is in meats, although the concentration found in food animals' muscles is only about half that in humans' muscles. Whole grains are another good source of the vitamin, but milling often removes much of the pantothenic acid, as it is found in the outer layers of whole grains. Vegetables, such as broccoli and avocados, also have an abundance of the acid. In animal feeds, the most important sources of the vitamin are rice, wheat bran, alfalfa, peanut meal, molasses, yeasts, and condensed fish solutions. The most significant sources of pantothenic acid in nature are coldwater fish ovaries and royal jelly.
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Pantothenic Acid

Benefits / uses
Vitamin B5 is essential for human growth, reproduction and many normal bodily processes. Vitamin B5 helps metabolize nutrients, manufacture antibodies and produce vitamin D. It also stimulates the healing of wounds. Pantothenic acid is involved in a number of biological reactions, including the production of energy, the catabolism of fatty acids and amino acids, the synthesis of fatty acids, lipids, cholesterol and steroid hormones, and the production of both coenzyme A, and the cellular antioxidant glutathione. Vitamin B5 is critical to the manufacture of red blood cells as well as sex and stress-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands (small glands that sit atop of the kidneys). Supplements are sometimes used to treat symptoms of allergy and a wide range of skin conditions.
Pantothenic acid is used in the breakdown of carbohydrates, lipids and some amino acids and is also used in the synthesis of coenzyme A. It is the most important component of coenzyme A, which assists in several metabolic pathways and is necessary for the transfer of fats to and from cells. Without it, fats could not be metabolized to energy. These processes include the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins, the production of glucose in the body, the breakdown of fats and the production of cholesterol and certain hormones. Pantothenic acid plays a role in the synthesis of hemoglobin, steroid hormones, neurotransmitters, and lipids.

Vitamin B5 is important in maintaining a healthy digestive tract and it helps the body use other vitamins more effectively. Pantothenic acid may help to manage stress from psychological strain, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, and smoking and alcohol cessation. Pantothenic acid has long been known to be essential for consistent antibody production, for the production of diphtheria toxoid and hemagglutinating antibodies, and for vaccinations against tetanus, typhoid, or Asian influenza. Adding calcium-D-pantothenate to cultured human skin cells given an artificial wound increased the number of migrating skin cells and their speed of migration, effects likely to accelerate wound healing. The body converts pantothenic acid into a chemical called pantethine. When taken as a supplement, pantethine appears to lower the amount of lipids in the blood. A person with high cholesterol may see their level of total of cholesterol--including LDL ("bad") cholesterol--while at the same time increasing HDL ("good") cholesterol levels.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

As a dietary supplement: 5-10 mg of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).
Recommended daily intakes for pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) are as follows:
Infants 0-6 months, 1.7 mg; infants 7-12 months, 1.8 mg;
children 1-3 years, 2 mg; children 4-8 years, 3 mg; children 9-13 years, 4 mg;
men and women 14 years and older, 5 mg;
pregnant women, 6 mg; and breastfeeding women, 7 mg.

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
Pantothenic acid is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in appropriate amounts. The recommended amount for adults is 5 mg per day. Even larger amounts seem to be safe for some people, but taking larger amounts increases the chance of having side effects such as diarrhea.
Pantothenic acid seems to be safe for children when used appropriately.

Special precautions & warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Pantothenic acid is LIKELY SAFE when taken in recommended amounts of 6 mg per day during pregnancy and 7 mg per day during breast-feeding. But it is not known if taking more than this amount is safe.
Hemophila: Don't take pantothenic acid if you have hemophila. It might extend the time it takes for bleeding to stop.

Research studies / References

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arw Münchener Medizinische Wochenschrift (Germany), 1997, 139/12 (34-37)

arw National Research Council. 2001. Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle. 7th rev. ed. Natl. Acad. Sci., Washington, DC.