Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin found in a variety of foods, including meats, fish, eggs, legumes and certain fruits and vegetables.
It plays an important role in many of the body’s metabolic processes, helping to convert carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy.
Pantothenic acid is important for the production of red blood cells, hormones and neurotransmitters in the body.
It is also essential for healthy skin, nerves and digestive health.
In addition, it helps to regulate blood sugar levels and can help reduce fatigue.
While most people get enough vitamin B5 from their diets, some people may need to take supplements to make sure they are getting enough of this important nutrient.
Food Sources of Vitamin B5
Here is a list of food sources of vitamin B5:
Meat: beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish and eggs.
Dairy: milk, yogurt and cheese.
Fruits and vegetables: avocados, broccoli, sweet potatoes, oranges, tomatoes and mushrooms.
Legumes: chickpeas, lentils and beans.
Grains: brown rice, wheat bran and oatmeal.
Nuts and seeds: almonds, sunflower seeds and cashews.
Fortified foods: certain cereals and breads.
In addition to these food sources, vitamin B5 can also be taken in supplement form. But it is important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for both men and women is as follows:
Chart Source: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Health Benefits of Vitamin B5
Overall, it is an important vitamin that can provide many health benefits.
Here are some of the health benefits associated with vitamin B5:
Supports energy production: It helps to convert carbohydrates into glucose, which your body can use for energy.
Assists with red blood cell formation: It greatly helps in the production of red blood cells.
Aids in hormone production: It plays an essential role in the production of hormones like testosterone and progesterone.
Supports healthy skin: It helps to reduce inflammation and improve skin health.
Aids in digestion: It encourages the production of stomach acid and enzymes, which helps to break down food and absorb nutrients.
Boosts immunity: It helps to reduce inflammation and strengthens the immune system.
If you don’t get enough of it in your diet, you may develop pantothenic acid deficiency.
The symptoms of vitamin B5 deficiency can vary from person to person, but some common signs to look out for include:
Other symptoms include:
A deficiency in pantothenic acid can cause a number of health issues.
Here are some of the most common causes of this deficiency:
Poor Diet: Not consuming enough foods that are high in Vitamin B5 can lead to a deficiency.
Digestive Problems: If the body is unable to absorb pantothenic acid due to digestive issues such as Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, then this deficiency can occur.
Medication: Certain medications can interfere with the absorption of Vitamin B5 and cause a deficiency.
Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to a deficiency.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A diagnosis of vitamin B5 deficiency can be made based on a person’s clinical symptoms as well as laboratory tests. Symptoms of this deficiency can include fatigue, weakness, insomnia, depression and dermatological problems such as acne.
Laboratory tests such as a complete blood count and serum vitamin B5 levels may also be required to make a definitive diagnosis.
Treatment for a vitamin B5 deficiency typically involves increasing dietary intake of foods rich in pantothenic acid, such as egg yolks, legumes, whole grains and lean meats.
In cases of severe deficiency, supplementation with pantothenic acid may be necessary.
It is important to work with your doctor to ensure that the correct dose is taken as too much vitamin B5 can also be harmful.
Safety and Side Effects of Pantothenic Acid
While pantothenic acid is generally considered to be safe and has few side effects, some people may experience some mild symptoms when taking it in large doses. These may include nausea, headache, fatigue and diarrhea.
People with pre-existing health conditions, such as kidney disease, should consult a doctor before taking pantothenic acid supplements.
Genetics and Vitamin B5 Deficiency
Genetics plays an important role in Vitamin B5 deficiency.
PANK2 is a gene that codes for the enzyme of the same name, and mutations in this gene are responsible for the deficiency.
In some cases, these mutations are inherited from a parent, while in others they occur spontaneously.
Genetic testing can help to determine if a person has a mutation in the PANK2 gene, making them more likely to develop Vitamin B5 deficiency.
Knowing this information can help people to take preventive steps to ensure they are getting enough vitamin B5 in their diet.
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Sources: Healthline, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Mount Sinai, Medical News Today, WebMD, National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic (1, 2), RxList, UPGUYS, Journal of Nutrition, Dr. Axe and PubMed.
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