Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Overview

Vitamin B5 (also calcium pantothenate) is an antioxidant nutrient that helps the body inhibit the formation of damaging free radicals.  It is vital to human metabolism, and it also stimulates the healing process.  Its deficiency is associated with hypertension and tachycardia (rapid heart beat).

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Pantothenic acid is readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.  It is stored in high amounts in the adrenal glands but about 70% of absorbed pantothenic acid is excreted in the urine.  Before pantothenic acid is utilized it must first be converted to the sulfur-containing pantotheine.  Pantotheine is currently fairly expensive and should be used only in select cases.

Source

The best food sources are brewer's yeast, wheat germ, wheat bran, royal jelly, whole-grain breads and cereals, green vegetables, peas, beans, peanuts, crude molasses, liver and egg yolk.  The highest levels are found in beef liver at 4.8mg per 3 ounces.

Pantothenic Acid is water-soluble and stable in moist heat, but unstable in dry heat and acid or basic pH situations.  Little is lost during normal cooking but 50% loss occurs in vegetables when they are frozen and 65% when they are canned.  In addition, processed and refined grains lose about 50%, while processed meats lose up to 70% of vitamin B5.

A common stable form of pantothenic acid is Calcium Pantothenate, a common ingredient in many supplemental formulas.

Function

Pantothenic acid is the chief precursor to coenzyme A (CoA), a necessary enzymatic co-factor in the biochemistry of man.  CoA plays a major role in the metabolism of fatty acids, cholesterol, amino acids, vitamins A and D, steroid hormones and much more.  To enumerate all the functions of CoA would take several pages.  A deficiency in pantothenic acid affects the adrenal gland, the immune system, the cardiovascular system as well as the overall metabolism of lipids.  While severe deficiencies are rare, many systems are compromised by insufficient pantothenic acid.

Instructions

Pantothenic acid supplementation is usually required for a desired therapeutic effect.  The RDA for adults is 5mg but the optimal daily intake may be 100mg.  The average intake of teenagers is about 5mg per day.

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Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid):

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) can help with the following:

Allergy

Allergic Rhinitis / Hay Fever

Pantothenic acid supplementation may reduce allergic reactions, especially allergic rhinitis.  Clinical observation: The majority of over 100 patients with allergic rhinitis who took 250mg of pantothenic acid twice daily had almost instant relief.  [Martin W.  On treating allergic disorders.  Townsend Letter for Doctors Aug/Sept 1991: pp.670-1]

Clinical observation: A physician with allergies took 100mg at bedtime and found that his nasal stuffiness cleared in less than 15 minutes and that he stopped awakening at 4 or 5 AM with cough and mucous secretion.  He subsequently found that many of his patients also noted significant relief of nasal congestion from supplementation.  [Crook WG.  Ann Allergy 49: pp.45-46, 1987]

Clinical observation: Observations made in our laboratory indicated that pantothenic acid at about 500mg daily could be used to combat allergy.  Subsequently a pharmaceutical house found that, while it was somewhat effective, it was not superior to certain available antihistaminics.  [Williams RJ.  The expanding horizon in nutrition.  Texas Rep Biol Med 19[2]: pp.245- 58, 1961]

Note: Pantothenic acid is quite effective in treating nasal congestion caused by allergy.  However, if the dosage is too high, it can cause nasal dryness and pruritus.  [Roger Williams, U.  of Texas at Austin – personal communication to Wayne Martin, quoted in Martin W.  Pantothenic acid for allergies.  Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients June, 1997: p.108]

Szorady conducted allergy skin tests on 24 children injecting them with histamine.  Pantothenic acid reduced the intensity of skin reaction by 20-50% in all children.  [Marz, p.209, 1997]

Indoor Allergies

Pantothenic acid supplementation may reduce allergic reactions, especially allergic rhinitis.  500mg per day often produces satisfactory results.  Pantothenic acid is quite effective in treating nasal congestion caused by allergy.  However, if the dosage is too high, it can cause nasal dryness and pruritus (Roger Williams, U.  of Texas at Austin – personal communication to Wayne Martin, quoted in Martin W.  Pantothenic acid for allergies.  Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients June, 1997: p.108).

Szorady conducted allergy skin tests on 24 children injecting them with histamine to induce symptoms.  Pantothenic acid reduced the intensity of skin reaction by 20-50% in all children.  (Marz, p.209, 1997)

Autoimmune

Myasthenia Gravis

To enhance acetylcholine levels take pantothenic acid 100mg daily.  There is sufficient evidence to believe that coenzyme A, which is the physiologically active form of pantothenic acid in animals, is in limited supply in cases of myasthenia gravis.

Circulation

Poor/Slow Wound Healing

Pantothenic acid improves healing by encouraging the migration of cells into the wounded area, thus establishing epithelialization [Weimann et al.  1999].  At the same time that new cells are migrating into the wounded area, cell division is increased and protein synthesis is increased, improving the efficiency of the healing process.  Vitamin B5 also helps prevent an excess of inflammatory response in the wound and has been shown to improve surgical wound healing [Kapp et al.  1991].

Vitamin B5 has been demonstrated to speed up wound healing, increase protein synthesis, and multiply the number of repair cells available at the wound site [Aprahamian et al.  1985].  Vitamin B5 seems to have the most benefit early on in wound repair, actually increasing the distance that repair cells can travel.

French researchers examined combined supplementation with vitamins B5 and C before the removal of tattoos.  One week prior to surgery, some patients were administered 200mg of vitamin B5 and 1gm of vitamin C.  Scars of all patients were measured 75 days after surgery.  The scars of those who had been supplemented with vitamins B5 and C were stronger and thicker and had more color.  Researchers concluded that the vitamins had "recruited" more minerals to the wound areas [Vaxman et al.  1995].  These "recruited" minerals included copper, magnesium, and manganese, all proven to enhance wound repair.  Vitamins B5 and C also kept iron from the wound areas, thus enhancing the healing process.  The same group of researchers found that supplementation with vitamins B5 and C strengthens the healing of wounds incidental to colon surgery.

Dental

Hormones

Low Adrenal Function / Adrenal Insufficiency

Key nutrients to aid adrenal function include vitamin C, B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, zinc, and magnesium.  These nutrients not only play a critical role in the health of the adrenal gland, but also in the manufacture of adrenal hormones.

Mental

Musculo-Skeletal

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Low pantothenic acid levels are implicated in the development of human osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as whole blood pantothenic acid levels have been reported to be lower in rheumatoid arthritis patients compared with normal controls.  In addition, disease activity was inversely correlated with pantothenic acid levels.

Osteoarthritis

Low pantothenic acid levels are implicated in the development of human osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as whole blood pantothenic acid levels have been reported to be lower in rheumatoid arthritis patients compared with normal controls.  In addition, disease activity was inversely correlated with pantothenic acid levels.

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