Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in numerous bodily functions, including energy production, hormone synthesis, skin health, cognitive function, and red blood cell formation.
This article will help you find foods and recipes that contain the most vitamin B5 using the tools and charts used by Optimisers in our Micros Masterclass.
- Vitamin B5 Food Chart
- Vitamin B5 Rich Foods (Per Serving)
- Vitamin B5 Rich Foods (Per Calorie)
- Vitamin B5-Rich Recipes
- Why is Vitamin B5 Important?
- What Does Vitamin B5 Do in Your Body?
- 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 Vitamin B5 Intake
- Vitamin B5 Side Effects and Toxicity
- Bioavailability of Vitamin B5
- Who is at Risk for B5 Deficiency?
- Synergistic Nutrients
- Processing Losses
- How Can I Calculate if I am Getting Enough Vitamin B5?
- Nutrient Density Starter Pack
- Nutrient Series
Vitamin B5 Food Chart
The chart below shows a range of popular foods in terms of vitamin B5 (per calorie) vs vitamin B5 (per serve). Foods towards the right will provide more vitamin B5 per calorie, while the foods towards the top will provide more vitamin B5 in the serving sizes we typically eat them.
For more detail, you can dive into the interactive Tableau version of this chart (on your computer), check out the food lists of popular foods below or download longer lists in our Optimising Nutrition Community here.
Vitamin B5 Rich Foods (Per Serving)
While it’s important to get enough pantothenic acid in your diet, it’s hard to be deficient (unless you are starving).
“Pantothenic” originates from the Greek root pantothen, which means ‘from all sides’.
Vitamin B5 is virtually present in all foods, both plant and animal.
The popular foods listed below will give you more vitamin B5 in the typical serving sizes we consume them in.
- chicken breast
- egg (whole)
- chicken thigh
- chicken drumstick
- chicken wing
- beef steak
- sweet potato
- ground beef
- egg yolk
- Camembert cheese
- pork chops
- chicken breast
Vitamin B5 Rich Foods (Per Calorie)
Foods highest in vitamin B5 per calorie tend to be green veggies like the ones listed below.
- coriander leaf
- lamb liver
- sour pickles
- dill pickles
- chicken breast
- red bell peppers
Vitamin B5-Rich Recipes
The chart below shows our 1400+ NutriBooster recipes that we use in the Micros Masterclass plotted in terms of vitamin B5 vs protein %. Recipes towards the right will help you boost your vitamin B5 with fewer calories. Note that vitamin B5 and protein % trend together, so if you get adequate protein, you’ll likely also get a solid amount of vitamin B5.
To dive into the detail, you can open the interactive Tableau version of this chart (on your computer). Then, click on each recipe to learn more about it and view a picture of the recipe.
A selection of NutriBooster recipes that contain the most vitamin B5 is shown below.
Why is Vitamin B5 Important?
- Energy production: Vitamin B5 is critical in synthesising carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to produce energy. It helps convert food into usable energy, essential for cellular metabolism.
- Hormone synthesis: Vitamin B5 is involved in synthesising steroid hormones, such as cortisol, testosterone, and estrogen. These hormones are responsible for various physiological processes, including metabolism, immune function, and stress response.
- Skin health: Vitamin B5 is often used in skincare products due to its ability to improve skin hydration, elasticity, and smoothness. It also helps to reduce inflammation and promote wound healing.
- Cognitive function: Vitamin B5 is involved in producing acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in cognitive function and memory.
- Red blood cell formation: Vitamin B5 is necessary to produce red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.
What Does Vitamin B5 Do in Your Body?
- B5 is a critical precursor to creating coenzyme A, 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.
Symptoms of Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) Deficiency
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.
Lower intakes of vitamin B5 are associated with the following:
- 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.
Benefits of Vitamin B5 for Your Skin
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 normalise the skin and differentiate keratinocytes that make up your outermost skin layer.
Pantothenic acid also has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps stimulate your skin’s healing processes.
Vitamin B5 Benefits for Hair
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.
Satiety Response to Vitamin B5
Our satiety analysis shows that foods with more pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) tend to be more satiating, up to around 12 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 Vitamin B5 Intake
Based on the robust satiety response data, we have set a stretch target of 12 mg/2000 calories for vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).
Once you start to get the hang of nutrient density, you could ‘level up’ by working to achieve these stretch targets to optimise your nutrition. For more details, see:
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 utilised if you know your diet is currently deficient in vitamin B5.
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 puts someone at risk for B5 deficiency.
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,
- 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.
How Can I Calculate if I am Getting Enough Vitamin B5?
If you’re interested in determining if you’re getting the right amount of vitamin B5 in your diet, 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, including selenium.
Nutrient Density Starter Pack
We’re eager to make the process of Nutritional Optimisation as simple as possible. So, to help you increase your intake of all the essential nutrients, including vitamin B5, when you join our free Optimising Nutrition Community, you’ll get a starter pack that includes:
- Food Lists – optimised for each essential nutrient, goals, preferences and conditions.
- The Healthiest Meal Plan in the World – see what a week of nutrient-dense eating looks like.
- Recipes – check out samples of each of our NutriBosoter recipe books.
- 7-Day Nutrient Clarity Challenge – identify your priority nutrients and the foods and meals that contain them.
- Biotin (B7)
- 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
- Vitamin K2