Like part of its family of 8 B vitamins, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is also water soluble. Since excess gets excreted through the urine, we need to replenish our daily requirements through a balanced diet and supplements. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin B5 is 5 mg for adults. Pregnant and breastfeeding women require more. Commercially, vitamin B5 is available as D-pantothenic acid. Using this, calcium pantothenate and dexpanthenol are chemically manufactured in laboratories.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B5
The health benefits of vitamin B5 can be enjoyed in combination with the other B complex vitamins. Since deficiency of vitamin B5 causes various symptoms like burning foot syndrome, weakness, fatigue, anemia, stress, insomnia etc., it is important to ensure that we get our daily requirements of this essential nutrient.
Benefits for Energy Production : As a CoA (coenzyme A), vitamin B5 is essential to help produce energy from fats, carbohydrates and sugars. Most of this energy release is in the mitochondria of cells. Study of marathon runners has found elevated levels of vitamin B5 in their blood, therefore leading to studies of this vitamin to aid in physical training.
Vitamin B5 reduces weariness and fatigue therefore improving stamina to perform physical tasks. This is why it has been studied closely for its benefits to athletes.
Benefits for fat production : Vitamin B5 in its CoA form is required not only for energy release but also for fat creation. Synthesis of fats – cholesterol and fatty acids – and a fat-like molecule sphinogosine, all require vitamin B5. To support production and synthesis of fats, vitamin B5 undergoes two chemical changes in the body. It first gets converted to the CoA form and then to acetyl CoA through a process called acetylation. This process takes place continuously in human cells. Vitamin B5 is required for the transport of fat-building blocks from the cytoplasm to the mitochondria.
Vitamin B5 also protects acetylate proteins from chemical breakdown. Acetylation of proteins can be vital as it paves the way for creation of hormones. This is why vitamin B5 is said to be critical for it helps in production of stress-related hormones.
Benefits for Stress : The health benefits of vitamin B5 have been studied with relation to alleviation of stress symptoms. Vitamin B5 is said to stimulate the manufacture of neurotransmitter chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals are said to soothe anxiety and stress by calming the central nervous system. Vitamin B5 helps in conversion of fats, carbohydrates and proteins to glucose, which in turn is used to rebuild nerve and brain cells, again reducing stress. Triglyceride and lipoprotein levels that cause fat to get deposited in arteries may be reduced by vitamin B5, therefore helping in free blood flow. This improved blood flow means that all vital nutrients, essential fatty acids and minerals are deposited in the brain, making it function properly and preventing stress.
There is also evidence that vitamin B5 can raise HDL levels and reduce LDL levels. Some studies have also found that it can help lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels in diabetic patients.
Benefits for rheumatoid arthritis : Since studies have found that people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis often have low levels of vitamin B5, it has been suggested that this vitamin can help alleviate severe symptoms of this medical condition. A small study has concluded that calcium pantothenate (2000 mg/day) improved symptoms of pain and morning stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Benefits for wound healing : Vitamin B5 supplements can help to quicken wound healing post-surgery especially in combination with vitamin C.
Other benefits of vitamin B5 : The health benefits of vitamin B5 have been found for various other health problems too.
- Vitamin B5 is the great synthesizer for it helps in the synthesis of important body components like fats, carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, antibiotics and helps to stimulate the adrenal glands.
- Apart from its role in maintaining normal cholesterol levels, vitamin B5 also controls blood pressure. Hence, it is vital for keeping the heart functioning normally.
- Vitamin B5 helps to slow down aging signs, it keeps hair and skin healthy and helps in delaying graying of hair.
- The immune system requires vitamin B5 to keep it healthy. A healthy immune system staves off various diseases and infections.
- Since pantothenic acid is water soluble, excess does not get retained and hence it is not toxic for the body.
- Vitamin B5 is needed by the liver to metabolize toxic matter.
- It helps to increase hemoglobin levels
- DNA reproduction and cell division require the presence of vitamin B5.
- Vitamin B5 can also help with the following illnesses, although there is not much scientific evidence about its true effectiveness – ADHD, respiratory disorders, asthma, celiac disease, dandruff, yeast infections, Carpal Tunnel syndrome, muscular cramps, colitis, tongue infections, multiple sclerosis etc.
Foods rich in vitamin B5
Health benefits of vitamin B5 are got from various food sources. Excellent sources include shiitake and crimini mushrooms, brewer’s yeast, fish and nuts. Very good sources are cauliflower and calf’s liver. Good food sources include asparagus, cucumber, broccoli, grapefruit, celery, turnip, eggs, yoghurt, tomato, sweet potato, chard, collard greens, bell peppers, molasses, wheat, soybeans, peanuts and corn. ,
Precautions while taking Vitamin B5
For most adults and children, vitamin B5 is safe if taken in appropriate amounts. Hemophiliacs must not take pantothenic acid supplements for it can increase the time before bleeding stops. Pregnant and lactating women must take the RDA after consulting a doctor. Usually vitamin B5 should be taken soon after eating with some water. Very high doses can cause diarrhea and result in the imbalance of the other B vitamins. This is why most doctors recommend that we take all B vitamins as a B-complex supplement to avoid over dosage of one or the other.
The health benefits of vitamin B5 are especially important for regulation of cholesterol, energy production, alleviation of stress etc. If we take a good vitamin B-complex supplement, we can get our required RDA of vitamin B5, therefore avoiding any kind of deficiency.