Vitamin B5 is also known as pantothenic acid. Its name is derived from the Greek word pantos meaning "from everywhere," as small quantities of pantothenic acid are found in nearly every food.
In its functional form, vitamin B5 gets combined with another small, sulfur-containing molecule to form coenzyme A (or CoA). This conversion allows vitamin B5 to participate in a wide variety of chemical and organic reactions. Coenzyme A is needed to carry out various metabolic functions, and for the generation of energy in the form of ATP from fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
Roger J. Williams, the discoverer of pantothenic acid suggested that Vitamin B5 might be helpful in the management of certain medical disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Functions of Vitamin B5 -
* Vitamin B5 is also known as the anti-stress vitamin at times. It is one of the eight water soluble B complex vitamins.
* Vitamin B5 helps production of the cellular antioxidant glutathione, and is therefore an essential vitamin for all life forms.
* Helps in the break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats for energy - thus a stamina enhancer.
* This vitamin plays an important role in production of adrenal hormones in the adrenal glands.
* Vitamin B5 helps to produce neurotransmitters, cholesterol required for proper nerve and muscle performance.
* It is also responsible for haemoglobin production and metabolism of toxins by the liver.
* It plays an important role in cell division, DNA reproduction and RNA transcription.
* It regulates the formation of stress hormones and hair pigmentation.
Deficiency of Vitamin B5 -
It is an unlikely that an adult will have a deficiency of vitamin B5 because of the availability of B5 in many foods, plus the fact that it is also produced by our intestinal bacteria.
However, a deficiency of Vitamin B5 causes fatigue, muscle weakness, personality changes, psoriasis, and headache. Vitamin B5 is often used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, edema, swelling, pain, and stiffness in joints.
Pantothenic acid is also recommended to prevent stress and relieve insomnia, arthritis, food intolerance and teeth grinding.
Oral application of pantothenic acid helps relieve many skin problems and cure wounds.
Who are at risk of Vitamin B5 deficiency?
* Women who are on birth control pills are recommended to take extra doses of Vitamin B5.
* Smokers and alcoholics also fall under this category.
* People undergoing stress, prone to allergies or eating too many refined foods might develop a shortage of this vitamin.
Symptoms of Vitamin B5 deficiency -
· painful & burning feet
· skin abnormalities
· numbness and poor coordination
· abdominal and muscle cramps
· insomnia and depression
· stunted growth
Most of these symptoms and signs get resolved with external administration of pantothenic acid.
Vitamins B12, folic acid and biotin are required for proper use of vitamin B5 in the body's biochemical activities. In addition, vitamin C somewhat helps prevent B5 deficiency.
Dosage of Vitamin B5 -
Since deficiency of pantothenic acid is rare, so there is no recommended daily intake for this vitamin. Pantothenic acid is mostly included in B-complex multivitamins. The RDA for men is 10 mg and women is 8 mg.
Normal daily intake of pantothenic acid for adults is 4 to 7 milligrams. Vitamin B5 should be taken with water, preferably after eating.
Pantothenic acid does not usually cause any side effects, but pregnant and lactating mothers should be careful to consume only the normal daily intake.
Vitamin B5 can be found in multivitamins, B complex vitamins, or sold individually under the name of pantothenic acid and calcium pantothenate. It is available in a variety of forms including tablets and capsules, and must be taken under medical supervision.
Dietary sources of Vitamin B5 -
The term pantothenic acid is derived from the Greek word pantos, meaning everywhere. Vitamin B5 is widely distributed in plant and animal food sources, where it occurs in both bound and free forms.
Pantothenic acid is richly found in peanuts, liver, kidney, cauliflower, mushrooms, seeds and other nuts, pumpkin, mushrooms, legumes, sweet potato, milk, soya, cheese, egg yolk, fish, chicken, wholegrain bread and cereals, and bananas. The richest sources of the vitamin are the ovaries of cod and tuna fish.
Breakfast cereals are also a good source if they have been fortified with pantothenic acid.
Do not add soda to the water used for cooking vegetables - it will destroy the pantothenic acid.
Vitamin B5 storage -
Vitamin B5 is relatively unstable in food, and significant amounts of this vitamin can be lost through cooking, freezing, and commercial processing.
Vitamins are easily destroyed and washed out during food preparation and storage. Store vitamin supplements at room temperature, in a dry place that is free of moisture.