Pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5, is a water-soluble vitamin involved in the Kreb’s cycle of energy production and is needed to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is also essential in producing, transporting, and releasing energy from fats. Synthesis of cholesterol (needed to manufacture vitamin D and steroid hormones) depends on pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid also activates the adrenal glands.1 Pantethine—a byproduct of pantothenic acid—has been reported to lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Liver, yeast, and salmon have high concentrations of pantothenic acid, but most other foods, including vegetables, dairy, eggs, grains, and meat, also provide some pantothenic acid.
Pantothenic acid or pantethine have been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):
|Science Ratings||Health Concerns|
High cholesterol (pantethine)
High triglycerides (pantethine)
Rheumatoid arthritis (pantothenic acid)
Acne (pantothenic acid)
and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.
Pantothenic acid deficiencies may occur in people with alcoholism but are generally believed to be rare.
Most people do not need to supplement with pantothenic acid. However, the 10–25 mg found in many multivitamin supplements might improve pantothenic acid status. So-called primitive human diets provided greater amounts of this nutrient than is found in modern diets. Most cholesterol researchers using pantethine have given people 300 mg three times per day (total 900 mg).
No serious side effects have been reported, even at intakes of up to 10,000 mg (10 grams) per day. Very large amounts of pantothenic acid (several grams per day) can cause diarrhea.
There is one report of a 76-year-old woman who developed a life-threatening condition (eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion) while taking 300 mg of pantothenic acid per day and 10 mg of biotin per day.2 However, it is not clear whether the vitamins caused the problem.
Are there any drug
Certain medicines may interact with pantothenic acid. Refer to drug interactions for a list of those medicines.
1. Fidanza A. Therapeutic action of pantothenic acid. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1983;suppl 24:53–67 [review].
2. Debourdeau PM, Djezzar S, Estival JL, et al. Life-threatening eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion related to vitamins B5 and H. Ann Pharmacother 2001;35:424–6.
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or chemist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications.