What does Vitamin B5 (Panthothenic Acid) do to your body?

Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is an essential vitamin for health. It is crucial for making healthy blood cells. It helps to convert the food we consume into fuel for our bodies. Below discusses health functions, how they reduce the risk of certain diseases, and recommended foods to consume.

HEALTH FUNCTIONS:

As one of eight vitamins in the B-complex, vitamin B5 is essential to help many functions within the body. One of them is the synthesis of coenzyme A (CoA), which is a carrier protein for fatty acid synthesis. Fatty acids are energy sources for our body as well as membrane constituents. Other functions include converting food into glucose, creating cholesterol, forming sex hormones, and forming red blood cells. Red blood cells are important elements of our blood that transport oxygen to our body’s tissues in exchange for carbon dioxide. Like all B vitamins, vitamin B5 assists the body in breaking down carbs, fats, and proteins so that our body can use the energy. Your body needs vitamin B5 to synthesize cholesterol.

DISEASE RISK REDUCTION:

Some studies show that vitamin B5 helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides, or fat, in the body. It lowers the ‘bad’ cholesterol known as LDL, and raises good cholesterol or HDL. In doing so, the risk of cardiovascular disease decreases, which is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Other studies show that vitamin B5 supplementation or consumption can decrease the side effects of rheumatoid arthritis. Those who increased their vitamin B5 intake or took supplements have less inflammation and less joint pain.

Vitamin B5 can also play a role in skin health by reducing acne or acne-related blemishes. Researchers noted fewer skin lesions and blemishes in those who consume more vitamin B5.

GROUPS AT RISK:

Deficiency of vitamin B5 is rare in the United States. Generally, only those malnourished or at risk of malnutrition will have a vitamin B5 deficiency. Symptoms of vitamin B5 deficiency include headaches, fatigue, irritability, impaired muscle contraction, and gastrointestinal problems.

Some common groups at risk of vitamin B5 deficiency are those with poor nutritional intake. Included here are cancer patients, alcohol abusers, or those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Other groups include people with a pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration 2 mutation. The pantothenic acid kinase is an enzyme that is important for metabolic pathways within our body. A mutation in these genes is rare, but disruption of this metabolic pathway can lead to contractions of opposing muscles, spasticity, and retinopathy.

INTAKE RECOMMENDATIONS:

There are many sources of vitamin B5 that can be incorporated into your diet. The best way to ensure that you are getting an adequate intake of vitamin B5 is to eat a well-balanced, nourishing diet daily. Vitamin B5 is in most vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, and mushrooms. It is also in nuts, beans, eggs, and lentils. Some fruits, including dates, also contain vitamin B5.

Recommended amounts of vitamin B5 vary per age. Here are the recommended daily allowances (RDA) by the Institute of Medicine:


AGE

RDA

Infants (0 – 6 months)

1.7 mg

7-12 months

1.8 mg

1-3 years

2 mg

4-8 years

3 mg

9-13 years

4 mg

14 years and above

5 mg

Pregnant or Breastfeeding

7 mg

CONCLUSION:

Vitamin B5, otherwise known as pantothenic acid, is one B-vitamin that our body needs for all forms of life. It has several functions for our body including breaking down carbs, protein, and fat for energy sources, creating red blood cells, and formatting sex hormones. These metabolic pathways and health functions all contribute to vitamin B5’s role in disease prevention, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and arthritis. Although vitamin B5 deficiency is rare, some populations are more at risk of inadequate vitamin B5 such as those with cancer or a pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration 2 mutation. To see the appropriate health benefits and make sure that you are getting adequate vitamin B5 quantities, focus on consuming a well-balanced diet filled with many vitamin B-containing foods, such as dates, in appropriate amounts.

Written by:
Allison Tallman, MS, RDN, CNSC
Registered Dietitian
Reviewed by:
Physician, Medical Journalist

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