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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

Recommended Intake

Age GroupAdequate Intake (AI)
0-6 months1.7 milligrams (mg)1.7 mg
7-12 months1.8 mg1.8 mg
1-3 years2 mg2 mg
4-8 years3 mg3 mg
9-13 years4 mg4 mg
14 years and older5 mg5 mg
Pregnancy6 mgn/a
Lactation7 mgn/a


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.

FoodPortion SizeAmount of Pantothenic Acid
Mushrooms, shiitake, cooked1 cup5.2 milligrams (mg)
Liver, beef, cooked3 ounces3.9 mg
Sunflower seeds, dry roasted1 ounce2.0 mg
Egg substitute¼ cup1.7 mg
Lentils, cooked1 cup1.3 mg
Salmon, Atlantic, baked3 ounces1.3 mg
Turkey, roasted meat1 cup1.3 mg
Avocado, California½ cup1.1 mg
Yogurt, low fat, fruited1 cup1.1 mg
Chicken, white meat, cooked3 ounces0.8 mg (USDA)
Milk, nonfat1 cup0.8 mg
Egg, large, hard-boiled1 large0.7 mg
Brewer’s yeast1 teaspoon0.5 mg
Peanuts, dry roasted1 ounce0.4 mg
Broccoli, raw½ cup0.2 mg
Tuna, canned white3 ounces0.1 mg

Health Implications

Wound Healing

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.

Nutrient-Drug Interactions

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:

Talk to your doctor about whether you should be concerned about your pantothenic acid intake and whether taking a daily multivitamin would be appropriate.