Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
Description of Vitamin B5
Vitamin B5, generally referred to as pantothenic acid, is a component of coenzyme A (CoA) and an acyl carrier protein. It is therefore an essential vitamin for all life forms.
Functions of Vitamin B5
Coenzyme A is required for the generation of energy in the form of ATP from fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Neurotransmitters, hormones and cholesterol are synthesized by this coenzyme. It is also responsible for haemoglobin production and metabolism of toxins by the liver. It plays a role in cell division, DNA replication and messenger RNA transcription. Pantothenic acid therefore is essential for growth and development, as well as brain activity. It regulates the formation of stress hormones and hair pigmentation and growth. Pantothenic acid deficiency may cause symptoms ranging from fatigue, weakness, numbness and poor coordination to abdominal and muscle cramps, headaches, vomiting, anaemia, insomnia and even depression.
Vitamin B5 in food
Pantothenic acid is an ingredient of peanuts, liver, kidney, avocado, mushrooms, seeds and other nuts, pumpkin, mushrooms, avocado, sweet potatoes, egg yolks, broccoli, dairy products, fish, chicken, wholegrain cereals, bread and bananas.
Vitamin B5 as a supplement
Pantothenic acid is generally recommended to prevent stress and relieve headache, insomnia, arthritis, food intolerance, hair problems and teeth grinding. Oral application of pantothenic acid may relieve skin problems and help cure wounds. Women that take birth control pills, drinkers and smokers are recommended to take extra vitamin B5.
Vitamin B5 medication usually also contains a magnesium source. Contraceptives containing oestrogen may increase pantothenic acid requirement. Coenzyme A inhibitors may cause additive effects on blood lipids.
Medicinal pantothenic acid is not suitable for children under age 12.