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Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

What is Vitamin B5?

Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is an essential water soluble vitamin that is needed for proper energy metabolism as well as healthy skin.

Where Does Vitamin B5 Come From?

Vitamin B5 is widely available, at some level, in almost every food. In fact, the name "pantothenic" is derived from the ancient Greek word "pantos", which means "everywhere".  However, some rich sources include whole grains, legumes, and animal products.

Vitamin B5 Benefits

Vitamin B5 is converted to coenzyme A (CoA) (Lord & Redmond, 2008), which is an enzyme that is needed for the function of the Kreb cycle, and hence energy metabolism. Without CoA, ATP production and hence muscle function would be severely limited. Vitamin B5 also has a number of other important biological roles which include the synthesis of fatty acids, cholesterol, and acetylcholine (Gropper et al, 2009). Fatty acids and cholesterol are also essential for a range of processes, structural components, and production of hormones in the body, while acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter. Without doubt, these are all needed for life and optimum health.

Without adequate Vitamin B5 in your diet, you can expect to experience general fatigue and weakness, as well as a variety of other symptoms including numbness and muscle cramps (Bean et al, 1956). However, given that Vitamin B5 is so widely occurring, it is uncommon for most people to experience deficiencies to the point of manifesting such symptoms.

Vitamin B5 Negatives and Side Effects

Vitamin B5 is an extremely safe vitamin. Any excess is easily excreted in urine and does not accumulate in tissues. In human studies, subjects have been given massive doses of up to 10 g/day, which has not shown side effects (Leung, 1995). The only side effect associated with taking large doses of vitamin B5 is the increased likelihood of diarrhoea and stomach upsets (NIH, 2011).

Vitamin B5 Recommended Doses & Ingredient Timing

The recommended intake of vitamin B5 is 5 mg for most adults. Recommendations are slightly higher for pregnant and breastfeeding women (NIH, 2011). There is no specific timing needed for ingesting vitamin B5. The recommended dose can be broken up and consumed with meals throughout the day.

Vitamin B5 Supplements

Vitamin B5 can be found as a stand-alone vitamin supplement. However it is far more common as part of a multivitamin supplement. Because of its widespread occurrence in food, it can also be found in protein powders such as blended proteins, weight gainers, and soy protein. Many other supplements such as protein bars, BCAAs, and fat burners also contain vitamin B5. If you are looking for vitamin B5, remember to also look out for other name, pantothenic acid.

Stacking Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 can be stacked with anything. It is most often stacked together with other B group vitamins.

Bean et al (1956), Studies of Pantothenic Acid Metabolism. Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc, 67: 73–90
Gropper et al (2009), Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. Wadsworth, Belmont
Leung (1995), Pantothenic Acid Deficiency as the Pathogenesis of Acne Vulgaris. Medical Hypotheses, 44: 490-492
Lord & Redmond (2008), Vitamins IN Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine. Metametrix Institute, Duluth
NIH (2011), Pantothenic acid. Medline Plus

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