Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

Pantothenic acid, also called pantothenate or vitamin B5 (a B vitamin), is a water-soluble vitamin. Pantothenic acid is an essential nutrient. Animals require pantothenic acid to synthesize coenzyme-A (CoA), as well as to synthesize and metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Pantethine is a cholesterol-lowering dietary supplement with a chemical structure of two pantothenic acid molecules connected by two sulfur atoms. The effective dose of pantethine is greater than 100 times more than the vitamin requirement for pantothenic acid. Large doses of pantothenic acid (the vitamin) do not have the same effect on lipids as pantethine, but pantethine does raise blood and tissue levels of pantothenic acid.

Pantothenic acid is the amide between pantoic acid and β-alanine. Its name derives from the Greek pantothen (πάντοθεν), meaning “from everywhere”, and small quantities of pantothenic acid are found in nearly every food, with high amounts in avocado, whole-grain cereals, legumes, eggs, meat, royal jelly, and yogurt. It is commonly found as its alcohol analog, the provitamin panthenol (pantothenol), and as calcium pantothenate. Pantothenic acid is an ingredient in some hair and skin care products.

Vitamin B5 is vital to living a healthy life. Like all B complex vitamins, B5 helps the body convert food into energy. B5 is naturally found in many food sources.

This vitamin is necessary for metabolizing and synthesizing proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Vitamin B5, found in blood plasma, helps balance the sodium and potassium in the human body. It aids in the synthesis of cholesterol, which helps produce vitamin D and steroid hormones.
Pantethine, a spin-off of vitamin B5, plays a key role in reducing the cholesterol level in the blood. It is recommended that people suffering from allergies and infections take vitamin B5 supplements.
Patients having undergone surgery may be prescribed vitamin B5 supplements to ensure speedy healing. A good amount of micronutrients are lost in burn victims, which means the rate of infection is likely to be high. To combat this problem, doctors may prescribe vitamin B5 supplements.
B5 can prevent acne and hair loss. The role of vitamin B5 has been well recognized by cosmetologists and it has been widely used in beauty treatments.

The energy that vitamin B5 helps to produce, is what fires the neurotransmitters in your brain. These neurotransmitters carry chemical signals throughout our entire body to keep every system functioning properly. Because of this role, B5 vitamins are crucial for maintaining the health of the nervous system.

Aside from being critical in manufacturing red blood cells, vitamin B5 also plays a part in producing sex and stress-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are small glands which sit atop the kidneys and control numerous important functions in the body.

Vitamin B5 is also important in maintaining a healthy digestive tract, boosting immunity in the process. It importantly works with other B vitamins in the B Vitamin Complex, helping the body use other vitamins like riboflavin (vitamin B2).

Cardiovascular Health

Your body needs vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid to synthesize cholesterol. A derivative of pantothenic acid is called pantethine, which has been studied for its ability to positively influence heart health and especially cholesterol.

Vitamin B5 plays a part in the use and regulation of cholesterol, helping to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol within the arteries and to prevent dangerous plaque build-up which can possibly lead to a heart attack or stroke.

One other important vitamin B5 benefit is that it helps the body create red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout our body. Vitamin B5 has been shown to enhance the level of hemoglobin in our bodies.

Cholesterol

High serum concentration of LDL cholesterol is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and numerous studies have shown that vitamin B5 may help to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood of people with elevated blood fats. At the same time, it helps to raise “good” HDL cholesterol.

A daily dose of 900 mg of a vitamin B5 has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Keep in mind that 900 mg is significantly higher than the recommended daily amount of vitamin B5 per day, so this is only done with the supervision of your physician.

Metabolizes Food into Energy

All B vitamins help your body to convert carbohydrates into glucose, which is used as fuel and produces energy. It does this by synthesizing an enzyme known as coenzyme-A (CoA), which breaks down sugars in the form of glucose for energy. B vitamins also help the body to synthesize and metabolize fats and proteins.

Vitamin B5, along with other B vitamins, can help our bodies to use the foods we eat in order to rebuild our tissues, muscles, and organs. Because of the role it plays in digestion and nutrient extraction, digestive problems can be a sign of a serious vitamin B5 deficiency. And regularly eating foods high in Vitamin B’s, including B5, can help keep your metabolism functioning at optimal levels.

Nerve Function

Vitamin B5 is responsible for helping with nerve function, specifically for creating an important molecule called acetylcholine. The nervous system is dependent upon acetylcholine; this is the primary chemical that allows your nervous system to communicate back and forth with your organs.

Acetylcholine makes it possible for your brain and spinal chord to send nerve signals to our immune system, heart, lungs, kidneys, spleen, liver and more. It is also used to send nerve signals to muscles, so without enough vitamin B5, nerve damage and impairment in movement can develop.

Immune Function

Vitamin B5 is very good at strengthening the immune system of the human body. This helps us fight against a number of infections and diseases. To decrease the chances of your body contracting something dangerous, be sure that your white blood cell count is maximized and your immune system is functioning properly by eating foods that are rich in vitamin B5.

Vitamin B5 helps to create antibodies that our immune system produces in order to defend us against potential threats.
These can include environmental and allergic responses, as well as fighting off parasites, bacteria, viruses, the common cold or flu, and toxins.
Studies have shown that vitamin B5 can result in a reduction in the proliferation of different harmful parasites and has been shown to inhibit the growth of dangerous bacteria. For example it can help reduce infection of malaria, a deadly parasite.
We have to be able to produce enough immune antibodies in order to stay healthy and prevent disease. When we are chronically stressed, we lose some of our ability to fight off invaders and toxins because our body becomes depleted of energy while trying to focus on taking care of things that it sees as an immediate threat.

Stress

Vitamin B5 has the reputation of reducing stress and other serious mental problems like anxiety and depression, which ensures fitness of mind. It does this by regulating the hormones responsible for causing these mental conditions.

Deficiency

A deficiency of B5 is very uncommon. It has only been found in those with severe malnutrition. The most common side effect of pantothenic acid deficiency is generalized malaise. Side effects can also include irritability, insomnia, vomiting, depression, stomach pains, burning feet and upper respiratory infections.

No diseases have been linked to a deficiency of B5 and cells do not seem to be affected by a deficiency. To replenish a lack of pantothenic acid, cells may be equipped to conserve their pantothenate content by possibly recycling pantothenate obtained from other degrading molecules.