Vitamin B5

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Vitamin B5 is a water-soluble vitamin and is also known as Pantothenic acid. It is found in the food sources liver, meat, wheat germ, bran, green vegetables, brewer’s yeast, nuts and unrefined molasses. The Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) is 6mg for adults however human requirements for pantothenic acid are considered to be adequately provided by the diet.

What is it needed for?

Vitamin B5 plays a critical role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism needed for energy production. It is needed for cell building, maintenance of normal growth and development of the central nervous system. It plays an important role in the health and function of the adrenal glands, which are responsible for producing stress hormones.

Deficiency

Deficiency of pantothenic acid in humans is extremely rare however when deficiency has been induced in experiments symptoms have included irritability and restlessness, fatigue, sleep disturbances, digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps, hypoglycaemia, numbness and muscle cramps.  

Evidence

Cognitive function, energy metabolism and wellbeing- Several studies(1), (2) report on the established roles for pantothenic acid in biochemical processes including the influence of micronutrients on cognitive function and performance (3) and the role of vitamins and minerals in energy metabolism and well-being (4).

Metabolism of steroid hormones, Vitamin D and neurotransmitters- The EU Health Commission,2012 also reports there is an established cause and effect relationship between the dietary intake of pantothenic acid and normal synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin D and some neurotransmitters (5).

Rheumatoid Arthritis-Researchers also report a correlation between pantothenic acid and rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show the lower the level of pantothenic acid the more severe the symptoms (6). A double blind study of patients receiving calcium pantothenate (a certain form of pantothenic acid) revealed an improvement of symptoms including morning stiffness, degree of disability and severity of pain (7).

Our take on how Vitamin B5 may help you, based upon EU approved claims;

Digestive support– Vitamin B5 contributes to normal energy yielding metabolism. Vitamin B5 is required for the correct absorption and metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins, making it valuable for people whose diets are high in these nutrients. It helps support correct growth and development via the correct use of these nutrients.

Tiredness and fatigue- Vitamin B5 contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. This may be due to its involvement in many pathways for releasing energy from fats and sugars. Vitamin B5 is therefore potentially beneficial to sports people requiring increased stamina and those feeling tired and run down.

Arthritis and allergies- Vitamin B5 contributes to normal synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin  D and some neurotransmitters. It is thought that the steroid hormones in question possess anti-inflammatory properties that may help to control the swelling associated with arthritis. The same action could help reduce inflamed tissues associated with allergies, making B5 potentially effective in the relief of Hay Fever. 

Safety and side effects

No side effects have been reported at doses of up to 2000 mg/day over a period of several weeks however high doses (approximately 10,000 mg/day in some cases for a number of years) have been associated with diarrhoea and gastrointestinal disturbances. Currently, there are insufficient data from human or animal studies to establish a Tolerable Upper Intake Level for pantothenic acid.

References

  1. Haller J, 1995. The actions of vitamins and other nutrients on psychological parameters. In: Human Psychopharmacology. Hindmarch I, Stonier PD, Wiley (Eds), London, 229–
  2. IoM  (Institute  of  Medicine),  1998.  Institute  of  Medicine  Dietary  reference  intakes  for  thiamin,

riboflavin,  niacin,  vitamin  B6,  folate,  vitamin  B12,  pantothenic  acid,  biotin  and  choline. Washington DC. National Academy Press

  • Huskisson E, Maggini S, Ruf M, 2007a. The influence of micronutrients on cognitive function and performance. J. Int. Med. Res. 35, 1-19.
  • Huskisson E, Maggini S, Ruf M, 2007b. The role of vitamins and minerals in energy metabolism and well-being. J. Internat. Med. Res. 35, 277-289.
  • Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health, O.J.o.t.E. Union, Editor. 2012. p. 40
  • Murray, M 1996 Encyclopaedia of Nutritional Supplements; Prima Publishing: New York
  • General Practitioner Research Group, Calcium pantothenate in arthritic conditions. Practitioner 224, 208- 211, 1980