Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid, belongs to the group of water-soluble B vitamins. Its name originates from the Greek word ‘pantos’, meaning ‘everywhere’, as it can be found throughout all living cells.
An adequate supply of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is important as it helps the body to convert food into glucose, used to produce energy break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins for energy generation synthesize cholesterol form red blood cells, as well as sex and stress-related hormones. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which provides scientific advice to assist policy makers, has confirmed that clear health benefits have been established for the dietary intake of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) in contributing to: normal energy-yielding metabolism; normal mental performance; normal synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin D and some neurotransmitters; the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Wound healing Studies, primarily in test tubes and animals but only a few on people, suggest that vitamin B5 supplements may speed wound healing, especially following surgery. High cholesterol and triglycerides Several small studies suggest that vitamin B5 (pantethine) may help to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood of people with elevated blood fats. Rheumatoid arthritis Some very preliminary evidence suggests that pantothenic acid supplements might help with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Since vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) occurs to some extent in all foods, it is generally assumed that deficiency is extremely rare. However, pantothenic acid deficiency in humans is not well documented and probably does not occur in isolation but in conjunction with deficiencies of other B vitamins. Groups at risk of deficiency are alcoholics, women on oral contraceptives, people with insufficient food intake (e.g., elderly, post-operative), and people with impaired absorption (due to certain internistic diseases). Symptoms of a vitamin B5 deficiency may include fatigue, insomnia, depression, irritability, vomiting, stomach pains, burning feet, and upper respiratory infections.
The richest vitamin B5 sources are yeast and organ meats (liver, kidney, heart, brain), but eggs, milk, vegetables, legumes and wholegrain cereals are more common sources.