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Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

All the cells in your body need vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid. It is a water-soluble B vitamin that is converted by the body into a compound called coenzyme A, which your body needs to change food into energy. Vitamin B5 is also known as the "antistress" vitamin because it supports the healthy functioning of your adrenal glands, the organs that help your body cope with all types of stress. Vitamin B5 is needed for proper nerve and muscle action, and it is vital to maintaining a healthy immune system. It also seems to help decrease the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.



bulletSome health care providers recommend taking vitamin B5 for fatigue, allergies, asthma, psoriasis, or other chronic illness, or if you have a very active or stressful lifestyle. Vitamin B5 has not been proved useful for these conditions.
bulletTaking vitamin B5 seems to help reduce the pain, swelling, and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis and to improve wound healing, especially after surgery.
bulletPantethine seems to help lower blood lipids (fats, cholesterol, and triglycerides) and speed up the detoxification process.


Dietary Sources

Pantothenic acid gets its name from the Greek work pantos, meaning "everywhere," because it is available in a wide variety of foods. A lot of vitamin B5 is lost in processing, so fresh meats, vegetables, and whole unprocessed grains have more vitamin B5 than refined, canned, and frozen food. The best sources are brewer's yeast, whole-grain breads and cereals, mushrooms, liver, dried beans and peas, avocados, fish, chicken, nuts (pecans, hazelnuts), peanuts, cauliflower, milk and cheese, potatoes, oranges, bananas, and eggs.

Other Forms

Vitamin B5 is included in most B-complex vitamins. It is also available in single supplement form as calcium pantothenate, which is 92 percent pantothenic acid and 8 percent calcium. It is available in 100-, 250-, and 500- mg capsules.

How to Take It

For general adrenal support or stress relief, 250 to 500 mg daily is probably adequate. For treating rheumatoid arthritis, 1,000 mg twice daily (2,000 mg a day) is the recommended amount. To lower blood lipid levels (cholesterol or triglycerides), the recommended dose of pantethine is 300 mg three times daily (900 mg a day). Take with water, preferably after eating, or according to your health care provider's recommendation.


There are no known interactions or side effects associated with taking vitamin B5 supplements. It is recommended that you take vitamin B5 along with other B vitamins to reduce the possibility of a B-vitamin imbalance in your system.

Possible Interactions

No harmful drug interactions have been reported.

Supporting Research

Arsenio L, et al. Effectiveness of long-term treatment with pantethine in patients with dyslipidemia. Clin Ther. 1986;8:537545.

Bertolini S, Donati C, Elicio N, et al. Lipoprotein changes induced by pantethine in hyperlipoproteinemic patients: adults and children. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1986;24:630637.

Binaghi P, Cellina G, Lo Cicero G, et al. Evaluation of the cholesterol-lowering effectiveness of pantethine in women in perimenopausal age [in Italian]. Minerva Med. 1990;81:475479.

Coronel F, Tornero F, Torrente J, et al. Treatment of hyperlipemia in diabetic patients on dialysis with a physiological substance. Am J Nephrol. 1991;11:3236.

Gaddi A, et al. Controlled evaluation of pantethine, a natural hypolipidemic compound in patients with different forms of hyperlipoproteinemia. Atherosclerosis. 1984;50:7383.

Gensini GF, et al. Changes in fatty acid composition of the single platelet phospholipids induced by pantethine treatment. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 1985;5:309318.

Haas E. Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. Berkeley, Calif: Celestial Arts Publishing; 1992.

Hendler SS. The Doctors' Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Fireside Press; 1991.

Lieberman S, Bruning N. The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Avery Publishing Group; 1997.

Murray M. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Rocklin, Calif: Prima Publishing; 1996.

Prisco D, Rogasi PG, Matucci M, et al. Effect of oral treatment with pantethine on platelet and plasma phospholipids in IIa hyperlipoproteinemia. Angiology. 1987;38:241247.

Somer E. The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc; 1995.

Vaxman F, Olender S, Lambert A, et al. Effect of pantothenic acid and ascorbic acid supplementation on human skin wound healing process. A double-blind, prospective and randomized trial. Eur Surg Res. 1995;27:158166.

Copyright 2000 Integrative Medicine Communications

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