Eating foods that are high in pantothenic acid can help to prevent conditions such as impaired energy production which leads to symptoms of irritability and fatigue. Foods that are high in pantothenic acid include: liver, yeast, egg yolks, and broccoli. Other foods which provide good sources of pantothenic acid include: fish, chicken, milk, yogurt, legumes, mushrooms, avocados, and sweet potatoes.
Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, is one of the eight water-soluble B vitamins that is required to sustain life. It is needed to form coenzyme-A (CoA), and is critical in the metabolism and synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Pantothenic acid is critical to the manufacture of red blood cells as well as sex and stress-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands. It is also important in maintaining a healthy digestive tract and helps the body to use other vitamins [especially B2 (riboflavin)] more effectively. Studies suggest that pantothenic acid may enhance the activity of the immune system and improve the body’s ability to withstand stressful situations.
Pantothenic acid deficiency is rare and has not been thoroughly studied. It usually occurs in cases of extreme malnutrition or starvation. Symptoms of minor pantothenic acid deficiency include fatigue, allergies, nausea, and abdominal pain. Symptoms of more serious (but reversible) pantothenic acid deficiency include adrenal insufficiency and hepatic encephalopathy. When tests were conducted on volunteers, the symptom of Gopalan’s Burning Foot Syndrome (Severe Burning of the sole with lightening pain) was reported.
In the late 1990s, a small study was published promoting the use of pantothenic acid to treat acne. The study, published in 1997 by Dr. Lit-Hung Leung, showed that high doses of pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) resolved acne and decreased pore size. Critics have been quick to point out the flaws in Dr. Leung’s study. One cause for disagreement is that Dr. Leung’s study was not a double-blind placebo controlled trial.
To date, Dr. Leung’s study is the only study looking at the effect of Vitamin B5 on acne. Few, if any, dermatologists prescribe high doses of pantothenic acid.
Note: A variety of medical conditions can lead to the symptoms mentioned above. Therefore, it is important to have a physician evaluate them so that appropriate medical care can be given.
Taking very high doses of pantothenic acid can cause gastrointestinal side effects like nausea and heartburn to occur. Taking any one of the B complex vitamins for a long period of time can cause an imbalance of the other important B vitamins. To avoid the imbalance, it is recommended that you take a B complex vitamin instead of isolating any single B vitamin.
Caution: Eating natural foods that are high in pantothenic acid is the safest and healthiest way to get an adequate supply of the nutrient. Due to risk of toxicity, individuals should always consult with a knowledgeable healthcare provider before starting doses of supplements. Before giving supplements to children, it is recommended that you first consult with their pediatrician. Also, some supplements may interfere with medications. If you are taking medication, it is recommended that you consult with your physician before taking any supplements. All supplements should be kept in childproof bottles and out of children’s reach.
Avocado, California, 1 whole – (1.99 mg)
Yogurt 8 ounces – (1.35 mg)
Chicken, cooked, 3 ounces – (0.98 mg)
Sweet potato, cooked, 1 medium ~1/2 cup – (0.88 mg)
Milk, 1 cup – (0.83 mg)
Lentils, cooked, 1/2 cup – (0.63 mg)
Egg, cooked, 1 large – (0.61 mg)
Split peas, cooked, 1/2 cup – (0.58 mg)
Mushrooms, chopped, raw, 1/2 cup – (0.52 mg)
Broccoli, chopped, cooked, 1/2 cup – (0.48 mg)
Lobster, cooked, 3 ounces – (0.24 mg)
Bread, whole wheat, 1 slice – (0.19 mg)
Tuna, light, canned in water, 3 ounces – (0.18 mg)
Fish, cod, cooked, 3 ounces – (0.15 mg)