Pantothenic acid (B5)

Pantothenic acid is a vitamin, also known as vitamin B5. It is widely found in both plants and animals including meat, vegetables, cereal grains, legumes, eggs, and milk. Vitamin B5 is commercially available as D-pantothenic acid, as well as dexpanthenol and calcium pantothenate, which are chemicals made in the lab from D-pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex formulations. Vitamin B complex generally includes vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin/niacinamide), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), and folic acid. However, some products do not contain all of these ingredients and some may include others, such as biotin, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), choline bitartrate, and inositol.

Pantothenic acid uses

Pantothenic acid has a long list of uses, although there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether it is effective for most of these uses.

People take pantothenic acid (B5) for treating:

  • dietary deficiencies
  • acne
  • alcoholism
  • allergies
  • baldness
  • asthma
  • attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • autism
  • burning feet syndrome
  • yeast infections
  • heart failure
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • respiratory disorders
  • celiac disease
  • colitis
  • conjunctivitis
  • convulsions
  • cystitis.
  • dandruff
  • depression
  • diabetic nerve pain
  • erectile dysfunction
  • enhancing immune function
  • improving athletic performance
  • tongue infections
  • gray hair
  • headache
  • hyperactivity
  • low blood sugar
  • trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • irritability
  • low blood pressure
  • multiple sclerosis
  • muscular dystrophy
  • muscular cramps in the legs associated with pregnancy or alcoholism
  • neuralgia
  • obesity.
  • osteoarthritis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • nerve pain
  • premenstrual syndrome (PMS
  • enlarged prostate
  • protection against mental and physical stress and anxiety
  • reducing adverse effects of thyroid therapy in congenital hypothyroidism
  • reducing signs of aging
  • reducing susceptibility to colds and other infections
  • retarded growth
  • shingles
  • skin disorders
  • stimulating adrenal glands
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • salicylate toxicity
  • streptomycin neurotoxicity
  • dizziness, and wound healing.

People apply dexpanthenol, which is made from pantothenic acid, to the skin for itching, promoting healing of mild eczemas and other skin conditions, insect stings, bites, poison ivy, diaper rash, and acne. It is also applied topically for preventing and treating skin reactions to radiation therapy.

Recommended doseage

The Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intakes of pantothenic acid are: 2 mg for infants 0-0.5 yr; 3 mg for children 0.5-3 yrs; 3-4 mg for children 4-6 yrs; 4-5 mg for children 7-10 yrs; 4-7 mg for children 11+ yrs and adults. The average American diet provides 2-3 mg pantothenic acid/1000 kcal or 4-6 mg pantothenic acid/2000 kcal, which is within the range of the suggested intake.

Food Sources

Pantothenic acid is found in many foodstuffs. Good sources of the vitamin (>1 mg/ serving) include organ meats, lobsters, poultry, soybeans, lentils, split peas, yogurt, eggnog, avocado, mushroom, sweet potato. Pantothenic acid loss during processing is significant, as it is stable in neutral solution but is readily destroyed by heat in either alkali or acid.


In humans, the only reported symptom after intakes of 10 to 20 g calcium pantothenic acid was diarrhea.

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