Also known as: Calcium pantothenate, vitamin B5
What does it do?
Pantothenic acid, sometimes called vitamin B5, is involved in the Kreb’s
cycle of energy production and is needed to make the neurotransmitter
acetylcholine. It is also essential in producing, transporting, and
releasing energy from fats. Synthesis of cholesterol (needed for vitamin
D and hormone synthesis) depends on pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid
also activates the adrenal glands. Pantethine—a variation of
pantothenic acid—has been reported to lower blood levels of cholesterol
Where is it found?
Liver, yeast, and salmon have high levels of pantothenic acid, but most
other foods, including vegetables, dairy, eggs, grains, and meat also
provide some pantothenic acid.
Who is likely to be
deficient? Pantothenic acid deficiencies may occur in people with
alcoholism but are generally believed to be rare.
How much is usually taken? Most people do not need
to supplement with pantothenic acid. However, the 10–25 mg found in many
supplements might improve pantothenic acid status, as so-called primitive
human diets provided greater amounts of this nutrient than is found in
modern diets. Most cholesterol researchers using pantethine have given
people 300 mg three times per day (total 900 mg).
Are there any side effects or interactions? Toxicity has not
been reported at supplemental doses. Very large amounts of pantothenic
acid (several grams per day) can cause diarrhea.
Pantothenic acid works
together with vitamins B1, B2,
and B3 to
help make ATP—the fuel bodies run on.