Vitamin B5 Pantothenic Acid Uses, Interactions and Warnings
B5 is another of the B family. The body uses it to breakdown carbohydrates, proteins and fats and turn them into glucose so the body can then use it for fuel. B5 plays a critical role in manufacturing red blood cells and sex and stress related hormones that are produced in the adrenal glands.
B5 also helps the body use other vitamins, particularly B2/riboflavin, and further contributes to maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Vitamin B5 is commonly referred to as the anti-stress vitamin, but that claim has not been scientifically substantiated.
Pantothenic acid is necessary for the body to synthesize cholesterol. A derivative of pantothenic acid called pantethine is being studied to see if it may help lower cholesterol levels in the body.
To date, no problems have been found that contribute directly to low pantothenic acid levels. However, a lack of one or some B vitamins usually goes along with a lack of others. For this reason, B5 is often included in B complex products.
Vitamin B5 deficiency is uncommon, but may include symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia,, stomach pains, burning feet, depression, irritability, vomiting, and upper respiratory infections.
Where do humans get B5 pantothenic acid?
Pantothenic acid is found in various foods including lean meat, poultry, fish, peas, green beans, and whole-grain cereals. With regular cooking, these foods maintain their pantothenic acid content, but processed foods are depleted of B5.
Other high sources of pantothenic acid are shiitake mushrooms, Gjetost cheese, Roquefort and blue cheese, avocados, eggs, sunflower seeds, lentils, dried peas, turkey, yogurt, broccoli, crimini mushrooms and baked sweet potatoes. Fresh meats, vegetables, and completely unprocessed grains have more vitamin B5 than refined, canned, and frozen food.
The best sources are brewer's yeast, corn, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, legumes, lentils, egg yolks, beef (especially organ meats such as liver and kidney), turkey, duck, chicken, milk, split peas, peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, whole-grain breads and cereals, lobster, wheat germ, and salmon
What are its uses?
- Several small, double-blind studies suggest that pantethine may help reduce triglycerides, or fats in the blood of people who have high cholesterol. Some of these studies show that pantethine helped lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. In some open studies, pantethine seems to lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in people with diabetes, but not all studies agree. Larger studies are needed to see whether pantethine has any real benefit.
- Preliminary research suggests that vitamin B5 has moisturizing effects on the skin. Other studies, mostly in test tubes and animals but a few on people as well suggest that vitamin B5 supplements may speed wound healing, especially following surgery. This may be particularly true if vitamin B5 is combined with vitamin C. This has to be further studied but has big implications considering the millions of people that annually go under the knife.
- Preliminary evidence suggests that pantothenic acid might improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but the evidence is weak. One study found that people with RA might have lower levels of B5 in their blood than healthy people, and the lowest levels were associated with the most severe symptoms. Other studies show that calcium pantothenate improves symptoms of RA, including morning stiffness and pain. More studies are needed to confirm these findings.
- It is being used in high doses to combat certain allergy symptoms and asthmatic reactions. Allergy sufferers may find pantothenic acid beneficial for controlling the nasal congestion that can develop during an allergic reaction. The vitamin is a smart choice during allergy season, when it can be safely taken along with conventional remedies. An asthmatic response initiated by seasonal allergies may improve when supplementing with 5mg daily pantothenic acid.
- Other uses with insufficient evidence to support effectiveness are for treating athletic performance, ADHD, constipation, dry eyes, osteoarthritis, eye trauma, surgical recovery, rheumatoid arthritis, nasal dryness, sinus infection, skin irritation, sprains, allergies, hair loss, heart problems, asthma, lung disorders, convulsions, kidney disorders, dandruff, depression, headaches, diabetic problems and more.
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Vitamin B5 Interactions, Warnings, Safety and Dosage
What are the interaction precautions of vitamin B5?
- If you are taking any of the following then consult your healthcare professional prior to supplementing with vitamin B5.
- Vitamin B5 interferes with the absorption and effectiveness of the antibiotic tetracycline. You should take B vitamins at different times from tetracycline. All vitamin B complex supplements act in this way and should be taken at different times from tetracycline.
- Vitamin B5 may increase the effects of a group of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors, which are used to treat Alzheimer's disease and can lead to severe side effects. People should not take these drugs with B5 unless under a doctor's supervision. Cholinesterase inhibitors include Donepezil (Aricept), Memantine hydrochloride (Ebixa), Galantamine (Reminyl), and Rivastigime (Exelon).
- Because high doses of vitamin B5 can increase bleeding, it is suggested to take extra care when taking blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, and others.
Herbs and Dietary Supplement Interactions
Royal jelly contains significant amounts of pantothenic acid. The effects of taking royal jelly and pantothenic acid supplements together are unknown.
Before undertaking B5 supplementation, consult your healthcare professional and trained homeopathic council for recommendations and safety precautions.
Inform your doctor if you have previously had any unusual or allergic reaction to B5 pantothenic acid or other medicines. Follow your healthcare professional’s instructions for safely taking the supplement.
Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to pantothenic acid or products containing this substance.
Side Effects and Warnings
- Pantothenic acid is probably safe for most people when taken by mouth in appropriate amounts. The recommended amount for adults is 5 mg per day. Larger amounts seem to be safe for some people, but taking larger amounts increases the chance of having side effects such as diarrhea.
- Dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid, is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin, used as a nasal spray, or injected as a shot into the muscle appropriately for short-term.
Special precautions & warnings
- Pantothenic acid is probably safe when taken in recommended amounts of 6 mg per day during pregnancy and 7 mg per day during breast-feeding. However, it is not known if taking more than this amount is safe, so avoid using larger amounts of pantothenic acid.
- Pantothenic acid is possibly safe for children when taken by mouth appropriately.
- People with hemophilia should not take dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid. It might extend the time it takes for bleeding to stop.
- People with a stomach (gastrointestinal) blockage should not take dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Pantothenic acid is probably safe when taken in recommended amounts of 6 mg per day during pregnancy and 7 mg per day during breast-feeding. However, it is not known if taking more than this amount is safe. Avoid using larger amounts of pantothenic acid.
B5 is available without a prescription. Unlike other vitamins, vitamin B5 has no Recommended Dietary Allowance. Experts recommend the following daily intakes of dietary vitamin B5.
Infants birth - 6 months: 1.7 mg, 7 months - 1 year: 1.8 mg
Children 1 - 3 years 2 mg, 4 - 8 years 3 mg, 9 - 13 years 4 mg
Teens 14 - 18 years 5 mg
19 years and older: 5 mg
Pregnant women: 6 mg
Breastfeeding women: 7 mg
Higher doses may be recommended by a health care provider for the treatment of specific conditions.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not refrigerate. Keep from freezing.
Store the dietary supplement in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.