Know Your Nutrients: Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

This next post in the series which explores key nutrients that are required by our bodies to support our optimal health and wellbeing. Each nutrient will be described in terms of its role, highlighting various key benefits, including our potential for deficiency, dietary sources, and potential benefits for supplementation.

B-VITAMINS: B-vitamins are a group of 8 organic compounds that are essential for our normal physiological functioning. Though they are not synthesised endogenously (with-in) the body and therefore must be sequestered in small quantities from our diet. The B vitamins themselves are not grouped based on any chemical structural similarity, but rather with regards to their water solubility and the cellular coenzyme functions that they play. Their roles are closely inter-related involving cellular functioning, acting as co-enzymes in a vast array of catabolic and anabolic enzymatic reactions. Ranging from releasing energy from carbohydrates and fat to breaking down amino acids and transporting oxygen and energy-containing nutrients around the body.1

ROLE IN THE BODY: Pantothenic acid is a member of the B vitamin family (vitamin B5). The main function of this water-soluble vitamin is in the biosynthesis of coenzyme A (CoA) and acyl carrier proteins. CoA is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat, and to a lesser extent protein (fatty acid synthesis and degradation, transfer of acetyl and acyl groups, and a multitude of other anabolic and catabolic processes). Acyl carrier protein’s main role is in fatty acid synthesis.2 Pantothenic acid is also important for the synthesis of haemoglobin, steroid hormones and neurotransmitters.

STATUS AND INTAKE: In healthy people, the status of pantothenic acid is not normally measured. Urinary levels of the vitamin are suggested to be the most reliable indicator of status based on the relationship with dietary intake. Limited information exists, though in a US dataset an excretion of <1mg per day was reported to suggest dietary deficiency against a typical urinary excretion rate of 2.6mg/day.3

The recommended daily intake for pantothenic acid in the UK has not been set.4 Though it can not be stored in the body, so it is required to be consumed regularly / every day. It is suggested that increased requirements for pantothenic acid may be required in reference to excessive alcohol intake, use of oral contraceptives and individuals experiencing increased fatigue, sleep disturbances, nausea, and abdominal discomfort because of adrenal cortex function (during acute stress). With adequate amounts needed of all B vitamins for the optimal functioning as both the deficiency or excess of any one may lead to abnormalities in the metabolism of another.5

SOURCES: Pantothenic acid is naturally found in foods, is also added to others and is available as a dietary supplement (usually combined within a B-complex formula or as an individual nutrient). In our food (both plant and animal based), there are varying amounts of pantothenic acid. Good sources are animal liver and kidney, beef, fish, shellfish, pork, chicken, egg yolk, milk, yogurt, legumes, mushrooms, avocados, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.6 Whole grains (such as wheat, rice, maize (corn), barley, oats, rye, millet, bulgur, and sorghum) are also reported to be good sources of pantothenic acid, although the processing and refining of grains may result in a 35 to 75% loss.7 Moreover, freezing and canning of foods has been reported to result in similar losses.8

SUPPLEMENTATION: Commonly, pantothenic acid is available in dietary supplements containing only pantothenic acid, in combination with other B-complex vitamins, and in some multivitamin/multimineral products. Some products contain pantethine (a form of pantetheine) or more commonly, calcium pantothenate. Though, no studies have compared the relative bioavailability of pantothenic acid from these different forms.

The typical ranges of pantothenic acid in dietary supplements is from about 10 mg in multivitamin / multimineral supplements up to 1,000 mg in supplements of B-complex vitamins or pantothenic acid alone.9

Bigvits have sourced a variety of premium pantothenic products to provide a range of options for supplementation. Of merit is the Healthy Origins Pantothenic Acid product that aligns to their continued focus of quality-sourced, custom formulas that are made with ingredients from some of the most reputable suppliers in the world. Furthermore, with no use any hidden fillers, coatings, or binders and each formula been manufactured with strict compliance to FDA and cGMP guidelines, their products are an obvious choice for consumers.

Related Products:

If you have a specific interest or would like to see a particular product or nutrient reviewed, please email your request to Educating our customers in respect to the importance of nutrients and the idiosyncrasies between formulas and products is at the heart of what we want to achieve.

This post is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or general.