Pantothenic Acid


Certain vitamins are often found together, whether in their natural state in the foods you eat, or grouped together in supplements you choose to buy. Pantothenic acid is no different, working with other synergistic vitamins to help keep you healthy.

When it works alongside other vitamins they amplify each other; read on to see what pantothenic acid is, and just how it can help you feel your best.

What Is It?

Pantothenic Acid [1] is a water-soluble vitamin that makes up part of the B-complex of vitamins. This vitamin is also sometimes referred to as vitamin B5, and is responsible for various function similar to the other B-complex vitamins.

What Is Its Biological Role?

Pantothenic acid is useful for helping to maintain various systems in the body. It aids in cardiovascular health by helping to ensure that cholesterol is used properly, and helping to prevent the buildup of plaque within your arteries.

Plaque buildup can lead to serious health complications such as heart attack and stroke. In addition to ensuring that cholesterol is used effectively in the body, pantothenic acid can help to reduce “bad” cholesterol and is integral to the formation of “good” cholesterol. It also must be present for the body to produce acetylcholine, which helps your nerves and adrenal glands to function properly.

For this reason, it is commonly recommended in therapeutic doses to holistically treat problems with chronic fatigue, certain mood disorders, and other symptoms that may be related to sub-par adrenal functionality.

How Does It Help Bodybuilders and People Who Work Out?

Similarly to other B-complex vitamins, it is thought that pantothenic acid can give you a natural energy boost. These claims are not backed by official research, but many athletes and fitness enthusiasts report increases in energy and levels of performance [2] when supplementing with B-complex vitamins before a workout or competition.

Even if you are already consuming a sufficient amount in your diet, taking a supplement in this manner may give you more of an edge and make your workout more effective. But be sure to clear the usage with your doctor beforehand.

What Foods Contain It?

Pantothenic acid is very easy to get from dietary sources. Some foods that contain it are:  eggs, salmon, lentils, portabella mushrooms, avocado, and liver. All of these foods are significant dietary sources of pantothenic acid. This is beneficial to vegetarians and vegans, as it is relatively easy to get all you need from plant sources if you so choose.

How Much Of It Do You Need?

The recommended daily allowance for pantothenic acid starts at 1.7mg for infants, and gradually increases as you age. For adults aged 14 years and older, the recommended daily allowance is 5mg. If you are pregnant that amount rises to 6mg, and if you are breastfeeding that recommendation increases even more to 7mg per day.

It is not certain whether consumption over 7mg per day is safe for infants, so if you are taking a therapeutically high dose of pantothenic acid daily it is advisable to talk to your physician about whether it would be best to discontinue this practice while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Much Of It?

While it is not necessarily dangerous to consume large quantities of pantothenic acid, it may cause uncomfortable side effects. These effects have not been found to be so serious as to be considered an overdose; this is because the vitamin is water-soluble and so any excess you consume is normally excreted by your body rather quickly in your urine.

However, consuming very high dosages may result in unpleasant digestive symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea. Also, pantothenic acid can interact with certain drugs such as tetracycline (an antibiotic) and drugs used to treat intestinal blockages, hemophilia, or Alzheimer’s.

If you take these medications you may need to take your pantothenic acid supplements at a different time of day to prevent them from interfering with your medications. Best to consult with your doctor instead of going at it alone if these circumstances apply to you.

Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Little Of It?

Clinically low levels [3] of pantothenic acid are extraordinarily rare because of how widely available the vitamin is from dietary sources; deficiencies are typically only seen in poverty-stricken areas where dire malnourishment is common.

Symptoms of pantothenic acid deficiency include depression, fatigue, upper respiratory infections, a sensation of burning in the feet, vomiting, muscles cramps, and insomnia.

Unfortunately, there is no reliable way for doctors to test levels of pantothenic acid in the body, so to ensure you are getting enough it is advisable to either take a supplement or ensure you maintain a wholesome and varied diet.

Pantothenic acid is one of the lesser known members of the B-complex group of vitamins. Nonetheless, every B vitamin has the important job of making sure that you get the energy you need to function and that you are able to feel your best. Don’t miss out on an easy way to feel better by making sure you get enough.

References:

[1] WebMD. Pantothenic Acid Vitamin B5: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warning. Webmd.com, 2016.

[2] Muscle and Strength. Pantothenic Acid. Muscleandstrength.com, 2015.

[3] Dr. Axe, Josh. Vitamin B5: Pantothenic Acid Deficiency and How To Get Enough. Draxe.com,2016.