Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is one of the 8 B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which the body uses to produce energy. These B vitamins, commonly called B-complex vitamins, also help the body use fat and protein. B-complex vitamins are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. They also help the nervous system function properly.
Pantothenic acid is most commonly used to treat pantothenic acid deficiency. Dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, is used for skin irritation, nasal swelling, wound healing, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Use of Pantothenic Acid
Several small double-blind studies suggest that pantethine may help lower blood triglycerides, or fats, in people with high cholesterol. Some of these studies show that pantethine helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. In some published studies, pantethine appears to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with diabetes. But not all studies agree. Larger studies are needed to determine whether pantethine has any real benefits.
Pantothenic Acid Deficiency
Pantothenic acid deficiency can be prevented and treated by taking 5-10 mg of oral pantothenic acid daily.
Pantothenic acid can improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). One study found that people with RA may have lower levels of B5 in their blood than healthy people, with the lowest levels being associated with the most severe symptoms. Other research suggests that calcium pantothenate may improve symptoms of RA, including morning stiffness and pain. More research is needed to confirm these findings.
Skin Care and Wound Healing
Studies have shown that vitamin B5 has a moisturizing effect on the skin, however, researchers are not sure why it works. Other studies, mostly in test tubes and animals, but also some in humans, suggest that vitamin B5 supplements may speed wound healing, especially after surgery. This is especially the case if vitamin B5 is used in combination with vitamin C.
Pantothenic Acid dosing
Pantothenic acid is widely found in foods, including meat, vegetables, grains, beans, eggs, and milk. The recommended daily intake of pantothenic acid for adults is 5 mg. When pregnant, take 6 mg per day; when breastfeeding, take 7 mg per day. The recommended amount for children depends on their age.
Pantothenic Acid forms
Vitamin B5 is found in multivitamins and B-complex vitamins or sold separately under the names pantothenic acid and calcium pantothenate. It comes in a variety of forms, including tablets, soft gels, and capsules.
Precautions and warnings
- During Pregnancy: Pantothenic acid is possibly safe when taken orally. The recommended intake during pregnancy is 6 mg per day.
- During Breastfeeding: Pantothenic acid is possibly safe when taken orally. The recommended intake during breastfeeding is 7 mg per day.
- Young children: Pantothenic acid by mouth in children is possibly safe when taken orally. Dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, may be safe for children when applied to the skin.