Pantothenic Acid
What is Pantothenic Acid?

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.  


Function:

The B vitamins work together to convert carbohydrates into glucose (sugar), which is
then "burned" to produce energy. B vitamins are often referred to as the B complex and
are also essential in the metabolism of fats and protein.  They are necessary for  
maintaining muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract and promoting the health of the
nervous system, skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver.  

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.


Deficiency:

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 insuffiency 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.


Food Sources:

whole grains
brewer's yeast
corn
cauliflower
kale
broccoli
tomatoes
avocados
legumes
egg yolks
salmon
beef (especially organ meat such as liver and kidney)
turkey
duck
chicken
milk
peanuts
sweet potatoes
sunflower seeds


Toxicity

RDA, AI
(Recommended Dietary Intake, Adequate Intake) - Consult with your physician before starting
doses of supplements.

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 with any single B
vitamin.

Caution: Due to risk of toxicity, individuals should always consult with a knowledgeable
health care 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.


References

More Nutrients
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The
content on this website is not intended to diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.
©2006 Every Nutrient



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