Vitamin B5

by health

What Is Vitamin B5?

What Is Vitamin B5?

Vitamin B5, also known as Pantothenic acid or pantothenate, is a member of the water soluble vitamin B complex group. It was isolated from rice husk by an American, Dr R. J. Williams, in 1939. It is apparently found in all living cells - its name comes from the Greek word "pantothen" meaning "from everywhere".

Besides its presence in various foods pantothenic acid is also manufactured in the body by bacteria in the intestines.

In comparison with some of the better known and understood vitamins there has not been a great deal of conclusive research done on pantothenic acid.

What Does Vitamin B5 Do For You?

  • It is vital for the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
  • It is an aid to body cell building and the production of antibodies to fight infection.
  • It helps to maintain the development and proper functioning of the central nervous system.

Food Sources for Vitamin B5?


  • Liver (100g serving)
  • Broad beans, boiled (100g serving)
  • Full cream/skim milk (250ml serving)
  • Eggs (2)
  • Avocado pear (150G / 1/2)
  • Lean meat (100g serving)


  • White/wholemeal bread (4 slices)
  • Yeast products e.g. Vegemite (3g serving)
  • Fish (100g serving)
  • Blue vein cheese (25g serving)
  • Vegetables (100g serving)
  • Nuts (50g serving)
  • Fruits - banana, berries, tropical fruit (100g serving)

Low or Nil

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Fruit - apples, pears, stone fruit
  • Fats and oils (trace)


What Destroys B5?

  • It is destroyed by heat and in. the dry processing and canning of foods. Being water soluble, the vitamin can be lost by leaching into cooking water.
  • It can also be lost in the drips from thawing frozen foods.
  • Roasting meat can kill the vitamin.
  • Other enemies are alcohol and caffeine.

Deficiency Problems and Symptoms

To date there is no known specific disease caused by a deficiency of panothenic acid. In fact it is generally considered that deficiency is very rare since it is available in a great variety of foods.

Experiments on rats fed a pantothenic acid deficient diet have produced dramatic hair color changes from black to grey - but there is absolutely no evidence that this would apply to humans.

A series of experiments with human volunteers on a diet deficient in pantothenic acid took place in the USA during the 1960s. The volunteers experienced various problems including weakness, nausea, heel tenderness, cramps, fatigue and sleeplessness. These symptoms began earlier for two of the volunteers who were also taking a medication known to prevent the absorption of pantothenic acid, as well as having the deficient diet.

The volunteers returned to normal quite quickly after the deficiency in their diet had been rectified.

Recommended Daily Intake

In the United States the recommendation is 4-7 milligrams daily, with a slight increase for pregnant and breast feeding women. In the UK the recommendation is 20 milligrams.

Use of Supplements (on medical advice)

There have been reports that supplements can be used to reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.

It has been suggested that allergic skin conditions in children and respiratory allergies in adults respond to supplements.


The risk of toxicity is considered to be minimal but excessive intake has been known to cause diarrhea.

Updated: 08/30/2013, health
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