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Pantothenic Acid by Ginny Isbell, PharmD

Pantothenic acid, also known as Vitamin B-5 is a water soluble vitamin that is found in every cell in the body. When discovered in 1933 by Dr. Roger Williams, he named it pantothenic acid from the Greek word “panthothen” meaning “everywhere.”

Pantothenic acid is needed for the production of some hormones and neurotransmitters and is involved in the metabolism of all carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It is also involved with making fatty acids, cholesterol, and bile acids. Pantothenic helps in the formation of antibodies, aids in wound healing, stimulates adrenal glands, is used in red cell production, and is used to make Vitamin D. In the body pantothenic acid is converted to coenzyme A which is its active form.

Pantothenic Acid may be useful for preventing or treating acne, allergic rhinitis, and hypoadrenalism. It could also be beneficial in increasing energy and athletic ability. Pantothenic acid has been shown to improve stress reactions and to relieve “burning feet” syndrome.

Symptoms of deficiency can include: numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, a burning sensation in the feet, muscle weakness, recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, fatigue, impaired adrenal function, depression, headache, and arthritis.

Foods that naturally contain pantothenic acid include eggs, fish, whole grains, legumes, cauliflower, broccoli, salmon, liver, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

Medications that can deplete the body of pantothenic acid include aspirin and other salicylates.

Although deficiency of pantothenic acid is rare supplementation with 100mg to 2,000mg can be very beneficial during periods of extreme stress.

Adverse effects of pantothenic acid are not usually seen in doses less than 10,000mg per day, but include stomach upset and diarrhea.

Sources:

Gaby AR. Nutritional Medicine. Concord (NH): Fritz Perlberg Publisihing; 2011. p. 78-79,1119.

Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, Hitchens, K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 7th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2005:pg 956-958.

Murray MT, Pizzorno JE. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. New York: Three Rivers Press; 1998. p. 186, 782.

Pelton R, LaValle J. The Nutritional Cost of Drugs: A Guide to Maintaining Good Nutrition While Using Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs. 2nd ed. Englewood (CO): Morton Publishing Company; 2000. p. 150-151.

Smith PW. What you must know about vitamins, minerals, herbs & more: Choosing the nutrients that are right for you. Garden City Park (NY): Square One Publishers; 2008. p. 37-39.