Pantothenic acid, Vitamin B5, has a very important role in the body as a precursor to coenzyme A. Coenzyme A (Co A) is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates, the synthesis and degradation of fats, the synthesis of sterols, which produce steroid hormones including melatonin. It is also important for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and heme, a component of hemoglobin. Detoxification of many drugs and toxins require CoA in the liver.
Naturally occurring pantothenic acid deficiency in humans is very rare and has been observed only in cases of severe malnutrition. The symptoms include numbness and painful burning and tingling in their feet, which was relieved specifically by pantothenic acid. When induced experimentally in humans, pantothenic acid deficiency causes headache, fatigue, insomnia, intestinal disturbances, and numbness and tingling of their hands and feet.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, in animal experiments, pantothenic acid deficient rats developed damage to the adrenal glands, while monkeys developed anemia due to decreased synthesis of heme. Dogs with induced pantothenic acid deficiency developed low blood sugar, rapid breathing, rapid heart rates, and convulsions. Chickens developed spinal nerve damage associated with the degeneration of the myelin sheath, skin irritation, and feather abnormalities. Mice showed decreased exercise tolerance and diminished storage of glucose (in the form of glycogen) in muscle and liver when deprived of pantothenic acid. Mice also developed skin irritation and graying of the fur, which was reversed by giving pantothenic acid.
Dosage: The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine feels there is insufficient evidence to establish RDAs for pantothenic acid, and set “adequate intake levels” ranging from 1.7 of 4 to 7 mg. per day.
Vitamin B5 research shows the following:
1. Reduces lipid peroxidation
2. Lowers cholesterol
3. Protects cells against UV radiation
4. Is important to epithelial functioning
5. Accelerates wound healing
6. Regenerates skin cells after burn injury
7. Improves skin roughness and flaking
8. Regenerates cells following surgery
9. Improves symptoms of sunburn
10. Increases energy in athletes
Vitamin B5 Abstracts (12)
Vitamin B5 Citations (12)