Vitamin B5: Pantothenic Acid Deficiency, Uses, and Benefits

Takeaway: Pantothenic acid is necessary for the production of blood cells and the normal functioning of the central nervous system. While most people will not be at risk for a Vitamin B5 deficiency, if you are low in this vitamin, it can be potentially hazardous to your health. Adding a supplement into your life, when approved by your doctor, is generally considered a safe way to improve your body’s Vitamin B5 level and maintain your central nervous system’s functioning.

You may not know it, but Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is critical to your health. Vitamin B5 is essential for making blood cells, for converting fats into energy, and for maintaining a healthy functioning nervous system. Being deficient in this particular vitamin can be critical to your health. As you age, your body’s own production of Vitamin B5 may decrease. Read on to find out more about what Vitamin B5 does, if you’re getting enough, and how you can get more if you need it.

Vitamin B5: Overview

Also known as pantothenic acid, Vitamin B5 is crucial to the human’s body health. According to Web MD, it is found in foods like meat, dairy products, vegetables, grains, and legumes. It is also available in a supplement form for those who are not getting enough Vitamin B5 in their daily diet or for individuals who may have a harder time absorbing the vitamin due to aging.

Vitamin B5 is essential to a healthy nervous system. It is responsible for converting the carbohydrates, fat, and proteins we eat into energy that allows our body to function normally. Vitamin B5 is also a key element in the production of blood cells, which are critical to the normal functioning of your central nervous system.

What Is Pantothenic Acid?

Pantothenic Acid is the clinical name for Vitamin B5, but they are one and the same. Pantothenic acid takes its name from the vitamin’s ability to metabolize fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy through the ion, pantothenate.

Pantothenic Acid Deficiency

Pantothenic acid deficiency refers to a severe lack of this essential water-soluble vitamin. Pantothenic acid deficiency is actually rare, but it does occur; and when it does, it can be potentially life-threatening if not addressed as soon as possible.

According to Mount Sinai, the symptoms of a Vitamin B5 deficiency include fatigue, irritability, vomiting, insomnia, depression, stomach pain, burning feet, and even upper respiratory infections. The only way to properly determine whether or not you lack this essential vitamin is to complete a blood test. This will indicate if your levels of Vitamin B5 are healthy or not.

Should you be deficient in this vitamin, it is imperative that you treat the issue as quickly as possible. For some people, adding more Vitamin B-rich foods to your diet is enough. For others, a higher dose supplement may be required, at least in the short-term, to increase Vitamin B5 levels to a healthy standard.

In some cases, particularly with gaining individuals, a supplement may be the only way to maintain adequate Vitamin B5 levels. This is simply because the body may have a harder time absorbing certain vitamins as it ages. If this is the case, you should discuss your best options with your doctor to ensure you are maintaining a healthy level of pantothenic acid and maintaining the best quality of life you can.

Pantothenic Acid and Acne

Vitamin B5 deficiency can cause acne.

Pantothenic acid may have many uses, but the efficacy of using Vitamin B5 to treat certain conditions is still being studied and is currently unknown. However, many dermatologists and medical professionals say pantothenic acid deficiency is the root cause for acne in some people, so increasing the intake of it can reverse the effects

According to a PubMed clinical study, in which 48 subjects were tested to determine the effectiveness, safety, and tolerance of Vitamin B5, the results were quite positive. The study indicated that adding a Vitamin B5 supplement into the diet of the subjects studied was safe, tolerable – meaning no adverse skin reactions or side effects – and led to an overall reduction in facial lesions.

If you are suffering from mild acne, relying on a Vitamin B5-rich heavy diet can help. If your acne is more severe, you may need a supplement. In any case, always discuss your individual situation with your doctor to be sure this type of treatment plan is right for you.

Vitamin B5 Function

Vitamin B5 is one of eight B-vitamins and is one of the most important for human life. Pantothenic acid is essential for the production of blood cells, which keep the central nervous system functioning normally. It is also crucial for transforming the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins you eat into energy your body needs. In other words, it synthesizes what humans take in and turns it into fuel to keep the body running smoothly.

Without enough Vitamin B5, your body cannot perform to its maximum ability. It needs fuel to keep it moving and keep your body’s organs functioning normally. If you suspect you may have a deficiency, due to feeling overly fatigued, be sure to consult with your physician and ask for a blood test to confirm your levels of pantothenic acid.

Pantothenic Acid Side Effects

While Pantothenic acid is generally safe, it can be dangerous in high doses for some people. It is safe for most people to take by mouth at a dosage of 5mg per day. Some individuals may even be able to tolerate up to 10mg per day, but this will increase the likelihood of undesirable side effects such as diarrhea. It’s quite common for individuals to suffer from mild diarrhea when they take in too much of this supplement on a daily basis.

Though it is most likely safe for most people, it is still unknown if larger amounts may have adverse effects on some people. For example, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to consume no more than 6 to 7mg of pantothenic acid by mouth per day. Though it is likely safe at this dosage, higher dosages have not yet been proven 100 percent safe.

Other side effects of too much Vitamin B5 may include joint pain, muscle pain, new onset diabetes, sore throat, headache, dizziness, general weakness, and loss of energy. However, it should be noted that these side effects are quite rare, and the most common side effect of overconsumption of Vitamin B5 is diarrhea.

Pantothenic Acid and Children

Vitamin B5 is important for children.

The use of a Vitamin B5 supplement in children is likely safe, but further studies need to be concluded. The safest dosage for children should be respected to ensure the safe use of the supplement. In newborns under six months of age, the recommended dose is 1.7mg by mouth per day. The dosage increases up to 4mg per day for children aged 9 to 13 years.

It is imperative that you consult with your child’s physician or pharmacist to confirm the dosage amount and to confirm the safety of the use of Vitamin B5 in your child first. Never administer any treatments or supplements to a child without first consulting with a medical professional. Even if something is most likely safe, you should always consult first to be sure there are no contraindications for your child based on their health and medical status.

Can Pantothenic Acid Reduce the Signs of Aging?

Vitamin B5 is good for antiaging

You may find many lotions on the market that claim to reduce the signs of aging. While it is impossible to reverse the signs of aging – like wrinkles – with any sort of cream, it should be noted that Vitamin B5 has provided positive results in clinical trials.

More specifically, Vitamin B5 was shown to decrease certain skin characteristics associated with aging, like redness of the skin and significantly reduced hyperpigmentation. The study also concluded that subjects who used a lotion with Vitamin B5 daily also noticed their skin looked more radiant, with a visible improvement in skin texture and evenness.

The study also concluded that the vitamin was very well tolerated by the subjects, and did not result in any harmful or unpleasant side effects on the skin. This is especially important because a lotion that irritates your skin is never a good option.

How Do I Know If I Need a Vitamin B5 Supplement?

The only way to determine your levels of Vitamin B5 is to have a blood test done. This is the only way your doctor can decide, with certainty, whether or not a supplement is right for you. You can keep an eye out for symptoms like fatigue, irritability, and burning feet. However, some of these symptoms can be related to many other conditions, as well and are not enough of an indicator that you are low in Vitamin B5.

You should be visiting your doctor annually to check up on your health in general. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor if you are at risk for Vitamin B5 deficiency based on your current state of health and your age.

Of course, you can still take a Vitamin B5 supplement even if you are not deficient in it. Just be sure to communicate your wishes to add a B5 supplement to your diet with your physician first to be sure it is safe for you to do so. Also, remember to respect the recommended dosage. Higher dosages have not yet been studied adequately and may increase your risk of suffering from unpleasant side effects.

How Do I Get More Vitamin B5 Naturally?

If you wish to take in more Vitamin B5 without turning to a concentrated supplement, you may add in more foods that are rich in Vitamin B5. For example, you can increase your B5 intake by consuming food like beef, poultry, seafood, milk, eggs, mushrooms, avocados, potatoes, peanuts, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, whole wheat, and brown rice.

Just keep in mind that if you are looking to significantly increase your B5 intake, it may take a little more than increasing your consumption of the above-mentioned foods. In any case, be sure to consult with your physician before making any drastic dietary or supplemental changes to your diet.

Potential Uses of Pantothenic Acid

Although it is still in the early stages of studying, there may be a link between Vitamin B5 use and treatment of certain conditions. Pantothenic acid may help treat constipation, sinus infections, colitis, some kidney disorders and more. However, it is important to note that there is still insufficient evidence to support these claims and though they appear promising, for now, further studies need to be done to confirm with absolute certainty that this supplement can actually treat the conditions mentioned above.

How Does Vitamin B5 Deficiency Affect Your Health?

A deficiency in Vitamin B5 means that your body will become unable to metabolize the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates you eat. If your body can’t metabolize those foods, it can’t convert them into energy, resulting in a general feeling of malaise.

Without the metabolism of these foods, your body is like a car running without fuel. Increasing your intake of Vitamin B5 can help your body make use of the food you’re eating and turn it into the fuel you need to keep on going.


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