Welcome back to the vitamin breakdown series! It’s been a lil while since I posted an update in the series. So, with this in mind, let’s head on back down the vitamin rabbit hole..
Today’s topic will be Vitamin B5, which is also known as pantothenic acid or (somewhat less commonly) pantothenate. B5 is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in all living cells within the body.
Pantothenic acid is an essential nutrient, meaning it can’t be produced by the body, or at least not in adequate amounts, and therefore has to be gained regularly through your diet.
Fuelling the Body
Pantothenic acid / B5, like it’s B vitamin complex chums, has a key role to play in metabolism and creating Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), the powerhouse of every cell in your body.
B5 is a component of coenzyme A (CoA),which plays a critical role in the utilisation (breaking down) of fats and carbohydrates into energy production. It helps the body to break down proteins working to regenerate muscles faster.
B5 acts to make lipids (fats), which are a source of fuel for the body and are an important constituent of the structure of cells. These processes aid in the building of stamina in the body as B5 makes accessing the energy from the food we ingest, so efficient.
Vitamin B5 is also important in maintaining a healthy digestive tract, boosting immunity in the process. It importantly works with other B vitamins in the B Vitamin Complex, helping the body use other vitamins such as riboflavin (vitamin B2).
Vitamin B5 has an impressive record of keeping the human heart in normal working condition. It regulates the level of cholesterol by lowering triglycerides and can also help in controlling of blood pressure.
Vitamin B5 plays an important role in the cell turnover and cell regeneration. For example, B5 helps the body generate more haemoglobin, a protein that helps carry oxygen around the body in red blood cells. It does this by acting in cohesion with elements such as iron and copper. This of course has some far reaching impacts for athletes, highlighting the need for B5 in the diet.
Vitamin B5 is essential for a healthy functioning nervous system throughout the brain and whole body. The energy B5 helps to produce is what fires the neurotransmitters in your brain. These neurotransmitters carry chemical signals throughout our entire body to keep every system functioning properly. Due to this role, a B5 vitamins rich diet is crucial for maintaining the health of functional and healthy nervous system.
As discussed, Pantothenic acid functions in the body as part of Coenzyme-A (CoA). As part of the relationship, they’re involved in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, epinephrine, and serotonin, all which can effect alertness, cognition, memory and mood. It is particularly important for the synthesis of acetylcholine (ACh). Adequate levels of ACh in particular can boost focus, memory, learning, and reduce brain fog.
B5 acts as a synthesiser of many important components required by the human body. It has stimulating properties that help regulate the release of hormones from different glands in the body and ensures they are balanced and performing their needed tasks. For instance, it can work to be stimulating of adrenal hormones. The adrenal glands are small glands which sit atop the kidneys and control numerous important functions in the body. B5 plays a part in generating both sex and stress-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands.
Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing
Vitamin B5 has an important role in reducing stress and other serious mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. It does this by regulating the hormones responsible for causing these imbalances.
Pantothenic acid contributes to the body’s ability to regulate the stress hormone cortisol, also commonly know as the ‘fight or flight’ hormone. When experiencing times of high emotional distress, you can overproduce stress hormones, which in turn depletes vitamin B5 stores. Adding more mushrooms to your diet for instance can actually help you restore some balance.
Skin Care and Hair Health
So as we’ve seen, B5 is a stimulator and balancer for hormones in the whole body. This function helps protect the pigmentation of hair follicles and also keeps the skin looking tighter and healthy looking for longer. A healthy intake of vitamin B5 has shown properties of reducing the appearance of wrinkles and age spots on the face.
Deficiencies of pantothenic acid are rare, but taking too much pantothenic acid in supplement form may cause diarrhoea. As with most vitamins, food sources are best. Try and consume 2-3 servings a day of these vitamin B5 rich foods daily.
Top 10 B5 rich foods
1) Chicken Liver
3 oz: 8.3 mg
2) Sunflower seeds
1 oz: 1.98 mg
3 oz: 1.9 mg
1 fruit: 2 mg
5) Sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup: 1.1 mg
1 cup: 1.18 mg
1 cup: 0.52 mg
1 cup: 1.3mg
1 cup: 0.71 mg
1 cup: 1.45 mg
Other sources include;
▪ egg yolk
▪ organ meats, beef, salmon, chicken, duck, lobster and turkey
▪ vegetables such as broccoli, avocados, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and kale
▪ wheat germ
You should be able to get all the pantothenic acid you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take supplements, don’t take too much as this might be harmful.
The NHS website states taking 200mg or less a day of pantothenic acid in supplements is unlikely to cause any harm should you be feeling deficient.
Symptoms of a vitamin B5 deficiency may include:
• stomach pains
• burning feet
• upper respiratory infections
• muscle cramps
People at a greater risk of developing a vitamin B5 deficiency include alcoholics, women on oral contraceptives/ birth control pills, people with severe malnutrition, and people with impaired absorption of vitamins and minerals due to certain medications or intestinal disorders.
Alrighty, thanks for seeing this through once again! If you liked the post please show the love by giving a like a comment. Till next time.