While it’s important to get enough pantothenic acid in your diet, it’s hard to be deficient (unless you are starving).
What Does Vitamin B5 Do in Your Body?
- B5 is a critical precursor to creating coenzyme A, which is critical to many processes required to sustain life, like fatty acid breakdown.
- To keep cholesterol levels in check, your body also needs vitamin B5 to use the fat in your blood.
- Pantothenic acid acts in all your cells, but it is particularly vital for your brain, heart, kidney and liver.
- B5 helps reduce low-grade inflammation, which has been found in early-onset diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmunity.
- We need B5 to produce steroid hormones like cortisol and sex hormones required for healthy reproduction.
- Pantothenic acid is vital for regulating the body’s iron levels.
- This nutrient also helps to make blood cells and convert food into energy. We need about 20% more vitamin B5 to burn fat than we do to burn carbohydrates.
- Pantothenic acid is needed by the body to produce melatonin, the neurotransmitter that helps you sleep.
- What Does Vitamin B5 Do in Your Body?
- Foods Naturally High in Pantothenic Acid
- Recipes Highest in Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
- Symptoms of Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) Deficiency
- Who is at Risk of B5 Deficiency?
- Benefits of Vitamin B5 for Your Skin
- Vitamin B5 Benefits for Hair
- Satiety Response to Vitamin B5
- Adequate Intake
- Optimal Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) Intake
- Vitamin B5 Side Effects and Toxicity
- Bioavailability of Vitamin B5
- Who is at Risk for B5 Deficiency?
- Synergistic Nutrients with Vitamin B5
- Pantothenic Acid Processing Losses
- Nutrient Profile of High Vitamin B5 Foods
- How Can Know if You’re Getting Enough Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)?
Foods Naturally High in Pantothenic Acid
“Pantothenic” originates from the Greek root pantothen, which means ‘from all sides’.
Vitamin B5 is virtually present in all foods, both plant and animal.
Some examples of foods that are particularly high in Vitamin B5 are listed below.
- sweet potato
- shiitake mushrooms
- sunflower seeds
- russet potatoes
- chicken breast
- whole milk
- Greek yogurt
Recipes Highest in Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
Some examples of our NutriBooster recipes rich in Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5):
- mashed cauliflower
- sautéed spinach & mushrooms
- garlicky mushroom brekkie bowl
- liver & eggs
- sunny egg, ham, spinach & mushroom (pictured below)
Because there are small amounts of pantothenic acid in almost all foods, deficiency is relatively uncommon. However, it is possible for someone facing severe malnutrition to be B5 deficient.
A deficiency in vitamin B5 typically comes with deficiencies in other nutrients. For this reason, a B5 shortage often shows up as a deficiency in other nutrients.
- burning of the hands and feet,
- high cholesterol,
- impaired coordination,
- digestive and cardiovascular disorders,
- fertility problems,
- Malaise, and
- muscle spasms and cramps.
Who is at Risk of B5 Deficiency?
If someone is overcoming long-term malnutrition, they may be at risk for a pantothenic acid deficiency.
Certain genetic mutations can also predispose someone to pantothenic acid deficiency.
Vitamin B5 is critical for the health of your skin. It helps keep skin soft, smooth, and healthy by helping to make the mucus that moistens your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, genitals, and internal organs.
Because of its relationship with coenzyme A, B5 helps to normalise the skin and differentiation of keratinocytes that make up your outermost skin layer.
Pantothenic acid also has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps stimulate your skin’s healing processes.
Studies have shown that mice fed a low pantothenic acid diet are prone to developing skin irritation and greying of the fur.
Studies have also shown that supplemental doses of pantothenic acid can reverse this. However, in humans, there is no evidence that taking pantothenic acid as a supplement or using shampoos containing pantothenic acid can prevent greying or restore hair colour.
Our satiety analysis shows that foods with more pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) tend to be more satiating, particularly up until around 15 mg/2000 calories.
The average intake of Optimisers is 9.4 mg/2000 calories, with an 85th percentile intake of 14 mg/2000 calories.
- The Adequate Intake for men is 6.0 mg per day and 4.0 mg for women.
- Pregnant women are advised to consume at least 5 mg/day of vitamin B5 as the body will direct a large amount of B5 to the growing foetus, even if the mother is deficient.
- Lactating women are advised to consume at least 6mg/day as the mother will channel around 2 mg/day into her breast milk.
Optimal Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) Intake
Based on our satiety analysis, we recommend a stretch target for vitamin B5 of 12 mg/day for men and 9.6 mg/day for women to optimise their nutrition.
|vitamin B5 (mg)||12.0||9.6|
Vitamin B5 Side Effects and Toxicity
Pantothenic acid is not known to be toxic in humans, although very high amounts in supplemental form can cause diarrhea. Large supplemental doses of vitamin B5 can compete for absorption with biotin, so, as always, supplements should only be used if you know your diet is currently deficient in vitamin B5. In our Micros Masterclass, we guide people to review their intake of excess supplements and fortified food.
Bioavailability of Vitamin B5
- Of the total amount of B5 you consume from food, only 40 to 60% of the vitamin is absorbed through the gut.
- Someone with poor digestion may extract even less. The use of antibiotics like azithromycin, clarithromycin and erythromycin are known to decrease the absorption of B5.
- Alcohol also inhibits the activation of vitamin B5 and prevents us from using it properly.
Who is at Risk for B5 Deficiency?
Because alcohol and poor digestion limit B5 absorption, someone with a disorder affecting the intestines like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or poor digestion and alcoholism put someone at risk for B5 deficiency.
Synergistic Nutrients with Vitamin B5
Vitamin B5 works synergistically with vitamins B1, B2, B3, B12, C, biotin, chromium, cysteine, folate, glycine, methionine, phosphate, sodium, potassium and zinc. For this reason, it is best to consume vitamin B5 from food sources that contain a complete nutrient profile to avoid imbalance.
Pantothenic Acid Processing Losses
- Vitamin B5 is unstable in the presence of heat and environments with pHs far from neutral.
- A considerable amount of vitamin B5 is also lost in the milling of grains. Hence, refined grains will have less vitamin B5.
- Frozen vegetables contain 50% less B5, cooked vegetables 44% less, and canned vegetables up to 75% less B5 than in their raw form.
- Oral contraceptives with supplemental estrogen and progesterone may also increase the need for pantothenic acid.
The nutrient fingerprint chart below shows that we can obtain plenty of vitamin B5 from a nutrient-dense diet. However, it is harder to find in large quantities. A diet with more vitamin B5 will have a significant amount of protein and carbs.
How Can Know if You’re Getting Enough Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)?
If you’re interested in checking if you’re getting just enough dietary phosphorus, you can check your nutrient profile using our Free 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge. After a week of tracking your current diet in Cronometer, Nutrient Optimiser will give you a prioritised list of foods and NutriBooster recipes that will help you plug your current nutritional gaps.
Level Up Your Nutrient Density
The free starter pack includes:
- Maximum Nutrient Density Food List
- Sample Maximum Nutrient Density Recipe Book
- Sample Maximum Nutrient Density Meal Plan.
To get started today, all you have to do is join our new Optimising Nutrition Group here.
Once you join, you will find the Nutritional Optimisation starter pack in the discovery section here.
Nutrient Density Index
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Thiamine (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Niacin (B3)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Vitamin B6
- Folate (B9)
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K1