Pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5, is a water-soluble vitamin. Water-soluble vitamins are stored in the body in very limited amounts and are excreted through the urine. Therefore, it is a good idea to have them in your daily diet. It is not difficult to eat enough pantothenic acid daily, since it is abundant in foods. Pantothenic acid literally means “from every side” in Greek, reflecting the ample supply in foods.
Pantothenic acid forms part of a larger substance called coenzyme A (CoA), which is essential to life. As part of CoA, pantothenic acid is needed to:
Obtain energy from the carbohydrate, fat, and protein we eat
Synthesize essential fats, cholesterol, hormones, and neurotransmitters
Metabolize many drugs and toxins in the liver
Adequate Intake (AI)
1.7 milligrams (mg)
14 years and older
Because pantothenic acid is so widely available, deficiency is unlikely. In fact, deficiency is so rare that reportedly the symptoms of deficiency—numbness and tingling in the toes and burning and shooting pains in the feet—have only been observed in World War II prisoners in the Philippines, Burma, and Japan. “Barth Syndrome” is a very rare inherited disorder. The disorder is not caused by dietary deficiency of pantothenic acid, but at one time, was thought to respond to treatment with this vitamin.
Pantothenic acid is not known to cause toxicity. There are minimal reports of adverse effects relating to pantothenic intake. As a result, the USDA Food and Nutrition Board did not set a tolerable upper level of intake (UL) for pantothenic acid.
Major Food Sources
Unlike other B vitamins, pantothenic acid is not added to enriched grains. But it is found in many foods, making it easy to reach Adequate Intake levels.
Amount of Pantothenic Acid
Mushrooms, shiitake, cooked
5.2 milligrams (mg)
Liver, beef, cooked
Sunflower seeds, dry roasted
Salmon, Atlantic, baked
Turkey, roasted meat
Yogurt, low fat, fruited
Chicken, white meat, cooked
0.8 mg (USDA)
Egg, large, hard-boiled
Peanuts, dry roasted
Tuna, canned white
Pantothenic acid taken by mouth and pantothenol ointment applied to the skin have both been shown to decrease healing time of wounds in animals. However, there is little evidence that pantothenic acid accelerates wound healing in humans. In one randomized, double-blind study, researchers administered 1,000 mg of vitamin C and 200 mg of pantothenic acid to people having tattoo removal surgery; they found no significant improvement in wound healing.
Women who take oral contraceptives (birth control pills) that contain estrogen and progestin may need more pantothenic acid. Talk with your doctor to see if you should be concerned about your pantothenic acid intake and whether taking a daily multivitamin would be appropriate.
In addition, if you take pantethine (another form of pantothenic acid) with the following cholesterol-lowering medications, the effect of the medication may be increased:
Vaxman F, Olender S, Lambert A, et al. Effect of pantothenic acid and ascorbic acid supplementation on human skin wound healing process. A double-blind, prospective and randomized trial.
Eur Surg Res.
Wardlow GM, Insel PM.
Perspectives in Nutrition.
2nd ed. Boston: Mosby; 1993.
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provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
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