Vitamin B5 – this is how pantothenic acid works

Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid, belongs to the group of B vitamins. It is a main component of coenzyme A (CoA), which is involved in numerous basic metabolic processes in the body. The name of the B vitamin derives from the Greek word “pantothen”, which means “(from) everywhere” and can be understood in two ways: Pantothenic acid is present in all animal and vegetable foods and is needed almost everywhere in the body. Vitamin B5 plays a special role in wound healing and is also used to treat acne. What other effects does it have, how do you recognize a pantothenic acid deficiency and which foods help to cover the daily requirement? Read that here.

Vitamin B5: effect and function

As a component of coenzyme A, vitamin B5 is involved in the breakdown and formation of fats,  carbohydratesamino acids  and proteins and thus in the release of energy from food. It also plays an important role in the synthesis of  cholesterol , which in turn is required  for the formation of steroid hormones such as sex hormones, anti-stress hormones or  vitamin D.

In addition, vitamin B5 contributes to the production of various neurotransmitters and  hemoglobin  , so that it indirectly enables the transmission of stimuli in the brain and the transport of oxygen in the blood.

Treat acne with vitamin B5?

Because of its effect on the skin, vitamin B5 can also be used therapeutically. It is used in particular to combat acne (acne vulgaris) and to support wound healing. Therefore, this B vitamin is also known as the “queen of skin vitamins”.

High-dose vitamin B5 is used to treat acne and impure skin. It is said to reduce the skin’s sebum production by indirectly regulating certain hormones and fatty acids. This is intended to reduce pimple formation and refine the pore size.

With this form of treatment for acne, a systematic increase in the dose to be taken is usually recommended. Overall, however, the recommendations for dosing vitamin B5 for acne are quite different. The effect of pantothenic acid in treating acne is controversial.

Pantothenic acid promotes wound healing in the skin

Numerous studies have shown that vitamin B5 improves the skin’s ability to regenerate and can effectively promote wound healing. The B vitamin supports cell proliferation and thus leads to an increased formation of new skin layers.

For example, it can help with abrasions or burns and is even used to improve wound healing in diabetic inflammations such as a “leg ulcer” or weeping wounds. Many wound and healing ointments contain the active ingredient panthenol or dexpanthenol, which is converted to vitamin B5 in the body.

What else does pantothenic acid do?

In addition, vitamin B5 is also said to have positive effects on weight management. An increased dose of this vitamin promotes the formation of coenzyme A, which  stimulates fat metabolism  . It can therefore be used to support a diet.

The effectiveness of vitamin B5 as a  care substance in hair shampoos is controversial.  The cosmetics industry promises that it should give the hair long-lasting moisture and shine and protect it from damage. However, critics point out that this effect has not yet been clearly proven. However, there is evidence that pantothenic acid can promote hair growth and slow down hair loss.

Daily requirement of pantothenic acid

The daily requirement of an adult for vitamin B5 is  six milligrams  and can normally be covered by a balanced diet. For children up to the age of 13, the requirement is somewhat lower. The need for pantothenic acid remains unchanged during pregnancy and lactation.

Vitamin B5 in food

Animal offal and whole grain products are particularly rich in vitamin B5. In addition, herring,  mushrooms , legumes,  avocados , eggs, fish,  milk  and  nuts are also  important sources of vitamin B5. The following foods contain a particularly large amount of vitamin B5:

  • Veal or beef liver: 8.1 milligrams per 100 grams
  • Chicken liver: 7.2 milligrams per 100 grams
  • Lentils (dry weight): 1.6 milligrams per 100 grams
  • Chickpeas  (dry weight): 1.3 milligrams per 100 grams
  • Broccoli: 1.3 milligrams per 100 grams
  • Oatmeal: 1.1 milligrams per 100 grams
  • Chicken eggs: 1 milligram per egg

When preparing it, it is important to note that vitamin B5 is water-soluble and heat-sensitive. As a result, losses of up to 30 percent can occur during cooking.

Vitamin B5 Deficiency

A vitamin B5 deficiency is very rare due to the diverse distribution of the B vitamin.  For this reason, it is usually not necessary to take capsules or other  food supplements with pantothenic acid as a precaution.

If at all, a deficiency often occurs in combination with an undersupply of other vitamins from the B group. However, there are  risk groups,  such as people with alcoholism,  diabetes , bowel disease or who require dialysis, who have a higher tendency to be undersupplied. An extremely unbalanced diet or certain medications can also cause a pantothenic acid deficiency.

Severe deficiency is often  accompanied by symptoms  such as headaches,  fatigue , insomnia, muscle weakness, indigestion, and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.

The so-called “Burning Feet Syndrome” (burning feet) can be the result of several months of undersupply with vitamin B5. The symptoms range from an initial tingling and numbness in the toes to burning and stinging in the feet and legs. The syndrome became known during the Second World War in prisoners of war in Burma and Japan who suffered from a vitamin B5 deficiency. The syndrome was cured by administering vitamin B5.

Too much vitamin B5 is not harmful

There is no upper limit for taking the vitamin, as no serious effect on humans could be demonstrated in the event of an overdose. Even with the intake of larger amounts of vitamin B5, no side effects have been observed so far. However, very high doses of ten grams or more per day can lead to digestive disorders such as  diarrhea  .

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