Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Summary

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) shortage is associated with symptoms of irritability, hypoglycaemia, fatigue and apathy, as well as a range of neurological symptoms like numbness, tingling (paraesthesias), muscle cramps, dry mouth; cognitive impairments such as forgetfulness, lack of comprehension of spoken and written language, making mistakes, confusion, poor verbal memory, disorientation, social withdrawal, lack of passion and joy, loss of imagination, and despair.

Chronic deficiency may be associated with disease states like anxiety, hypoadrenia, allergy, alcoholism, anaemia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, fatigue, obesity, hypercholesterolaemia and hyperlipidaemia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, constipation, ulcerative colitis, infertility, acne and may especially affect athletes.

Outright vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) deficiency is rare, but may be increasingly implicated in the symptoms of chronic fatigue, anxiety disorders and cognitive impairment.

Heating, freezing, canning, and adding vinegar destroys Vitamin B5 so it must be consumed from raw foods.

About Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is rare but may be becoming more common owing to a modern diet and lifestyle factors which directly deplete the vitamin. These factors include alcoholism, overconsumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates, caffeine, nicotine as well as chronic mercury toxicity from dental amalgam fillings and thimerosal-based vaccinations.

It may also be caused by bowel disorders which impede the absorption of vitamin B5 such as chronic diarrhoea, food allergies and intolerances, fungal and bacterial overgrowth of the intestine, and includes causes and syndromes of malabsorption like gastric bypass surgery, gastritis, coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis. It can also be caused by chronic stress, alcohol, excessive use of antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antacids, proton pump inhibitors, cytotoxic drugs, steroids and oral contraceptives all of which can result in an inflamed gut wall. 

The body needs vitamin B5 for the production of the energy molecule Coenzyme A, the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein into energy; the production of the “memory transmitter” acetylcholine, the “sleep hormone” melatonin, cholesterol and steroid hormones. It is also required for the proper disposal of the anxiogen lactate, adrenal function, blood sugar balance and the production of important biological molecules like amino acids, vitamin A, D and haemoglobin. 

As a result, vitamin B5 deficiency is associated with a range of symptoms of irritability, low energy, fatigue and apathy. It is also associated with neurological symptoms like numbness, tingling (paraesthesias), muscle cramps, and dry mouth; all of which may appear together with forgetfulness, lack of comprehension of spoken and written language, making mistakes, slowed and confused thinking, poor verbal articulation, disorientation, social withdrawal, lack of passion and joy, loss of imagination, reactivity, despair and sleep disturbances.

It may also cause gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. Some people report painful, burning sensations in their feet; this was a common factor reported by malnourished prisoners of war.
These conditions often get misdiagnosed as illnesses in their own right by doctors and psychiatrists unfamiliar with this simple biochemical imbalance and they may resort to prescribing pharmaceutical drugs to manage symptoms without addressing the underlying cause. Vitamin B5 deficiency responds well to the introduction of vitamin B5 supplements.

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