Pantothenic Acid or Vitamin B5 + Food Sources and Supplementation + Function and Roles in the Body + Deficiency and Toxicity

What is pantothenic acid?

Pantothenic acid was once known as vitamin B5. The term pantothenic acid is derived from the Greek word pantothen which means“from every side.” This name was given to imply pantothenic acid’s widespread availability in foods. Although crucial in energy metabolism, recent research suggests that a derivative of pathothenic acid called patothenine might help regulate blood cholesterol levels.


What foods provide pantothenic acid and what foms are used in nutrition supplements?

Good sources of pantothenic acid include egg yolk, animal tissue, whole grain products, legumes, broccoli, milk, sweet potatoes, and molasses. Some losses of pantothenic acid can be expected in cooking and during the thawing of foods.Supplement manufacturers typically use calcium and sodium pantothenate.


What are the recommended intake levels of pantothenic acid?

The adult AI is 5 mg regardless of age and gender. Meanwhile during pregnancy and lactation the recommendation increases for women to 6 and 7 mg respectively. Because pantothenic acid is important in energy operations it is important that people who exercise seriously and athletes get at least 10 milligrams of pantothenic acid daily. See the DRI Tables for minimum recommended levels of pantothenic acid across the lifespan.


What does pantothenic acid do in the body?
Pantothenic acid’s is part of two very special molecules that impact carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. These molecules are called coenzyme A (CoA) and acyl carrier protein (ACP). We have mentioned CoA a few times already in regard to acetyl CoA, the “feed in ”molecule for the Kreb’s cycle. Furthermore, CoA is also utilized in a chemical reaction in the Kreb’s cycle as well as during the breakdown of fatty acids for ATP production. In these situations, CoA is attached to specific molecules and enhances their metabolism tremendously.


CoA is also necessary for cholesterol and derived steroid hormone (e.g. testosterone, estrogens) production as well as metatonin, hemoglobin and acetylcholine. ACP is also indispensable but for different reasons than CoA. Where CoA is fundamental in the processes that help generate ATP from energy molecules, ACP is fundamental in a preliminary step whereby fatty acids are made from excessive carbohydrates and amino acids. Here pantothenic acid, as part of ACP, is essential for storing energy as fat in our body.


Can too little or too much pantothenic acid be consumed?

Even though foods will experience some loss of pantothenic acid during cooking and thawing, a deficiency is still unlikely. In fact, there have been no cases of a real world pantothenic acid deficiency alone. Just as a pantothenic acid deficiency has not been documented, neither has a toxicity of pantothenic acid. However, there have been reports that large doses of pantothenic acid do cause diarrhea.