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Pantothenic Acid

Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid is essential for life as it is involved in various chemical reactions occurring in cells and is also a component of coenzyme A (CoA). Pantothenic acid plays an important role in carbohydrates synthesis and in the metabolism of proteins and fats. It is also involved in the synthesis of cholesterol and hormones. Pantothenic acid is widely distributed most of plants and animal sources that includes meat, chicken, fish/shell fish, kidney, liver, legumes, whole grains, eggs, milk and yeast.  Canning, freezing and refining process may lead to losses of pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid is often used in combination with other B-complex vitamins and dextrorotatory (D) isomer of pantothenic acid possesses biologic activity.
Pantothenic deficiency is very rare (as sufficient amounts are obtained from dietary sources) and might occur in most sever life threatening cases of malnutrition.    

Health and pantothenic acid

  1. Pantothenic acid when administered orally in pantothenic acid deficiency (very rare) helps to correct the condition and is also beneficial in patients with high risk for malnutrition. If a person cannot take it orally it can also be administered through intravenous routes or tube feeds.
  2. Pantothenic acid may improve athletic performance; however for this use more scientific researches are required.
  3. Due to loss of nutrients and increased metabolic needs in burns patients, vitamin supplementations is often recommended that may include pantothenic acid to speed burn healing time.
  4. Tropical application of pantothenic acid is associated with accelerated skin wound healing.
  5. Pantothenic acid is found to be low in rheumatoid arthritis patients; however it is unclear that administration of pantothenic acid may be beneficial in this condition.

Side effects of pantothenic acid

Daily adequate intake has been set by food and nutrition board of the U.S. and institute of medicine depending on the daily dietary intake of healthy individuals. The daily adequate intake for infants 0-6 months is 1.7 mg/day, 1-3 years 2 mg/day, 4-8 years 3 mg/day, 9-13 years 4 mg/day, 14-18 years 5 mg/day, 19 years old individual is 5 mg/day, pregnancy 6 mg/day and lactation 7 mg/day.
  1. Pantothenic acid when taken orally taken in recommended doses is regarded safe. Large amounts of pantothenic acid when taken orally may cause diarrhea, nausea and heart burn.
  2. Dexpanthenol is been associated with increased bleeding time, thus should not be combined with other drugs having similar effects.
  3. Dexpanthenol when applied tropically may cause skin irritation, eczema or contact dermatitis (this compound is found in many cosmetic products).
Pantothenic acid supplements should be taken in recommended amounts under the guidance of a health care professional as it may even react with some drugs, herbal or dietary supplements.
Submitted on January 16, 2014