Vitamin B5 is a water-soluble vitamin also known as pantothenic acid or calcium pantothenate. It is important for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, production of neurotransmitters, to support the adrenal glands and the synthesis hormones.
Why you may need vitamin B5
Adrenal exhaustion – vitamin B5 is essential during times of stress and works to activate and support your adrenal glands. When you are under stress your body reacts as if you are facing a physical threat and initiates the ‘fight-or-flight’ response causing the heart rate, breathing, digestion and metabolism to be temporarily altered. Excessive stress can place a huge demand on your body, especially your adrenals.
Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels – vitamin B5 assists the synthesis of cholesterol.
Gout – vitamin B5 helps maintain normal uric acid levels.
How much do you need?
Adequate Intake levels are:
Adults (over 19 years): 4.0mg (women), 6.0mg (men) daily
Pregnancy: 5mg daily
Breastfeeding: 6mg daily
Children 9-13 years: 4.0mg (girls), 5.0mg (boys) daily
Children 14-18 years: 4.0mg (girls), 6.0mg (boys) daily
Symptoms of deficiency
Deficiency of vitamin B5 is generally rare, so to find out what deficiency symptoms would be present, a trial was conducted that specially induced deficiency of vitamin B5 in the participants. These symptoms were reported – insomnia, fatigue, headache, irritability, numbness and tingling of the hands, poor reflexes, muscle weakness, cardiovascular changes, digestive upsets such as vomiting, and increased susceptibility to infections.
The best dietary food sources of vitamin B5 include meat, fish, chicken, vegetables, whole grain cereals, legumes, eggs and milk.
Other reasons why you may need more
A deficiency or abundance of a single B vitamin may cause problems in the metabolism of other B group vitamins.
There are some factors that increase your demand for more vitamin B5. These include excessive alcohol, coffee, stress, mercury exposure and ageing.
- Vitamin B5 is well tolerated.
- Large amounts of pantothenic acid can cause diarrhoea.