Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – Benefits, Sources, Deficiency Symptoms and Side Effects


Pantothenic acid (also known historically as vitamin B5) is among the most important of the B vitamins for the basic processes of life while also being one of the less likely nutrient deficiencies in the average U.S. diet.

Without pantothenic acid, you would be unable to use fats, carbohydrates, or proteins as energy sources. You would also be unable to make hormones and your immune system would collapse. These are only some of the important functions that pantothenic acid has.


·         Improves Cardiovascular Health

Your body needs vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid to synthesize cholesterol. A derivative of pantothenic acid is called pantethine, which has been studied for its ability to positively influence heart health and especially cholesterol.

Vitamin B5 plays a part in the use and regulation of cholesterol, helping to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol within the arteries and to prevent dangerous plaque build-up which can possibly lead to a heart attack or stroke.

One other important vitamin B5 benefit is that it helps the body create red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout our body. Vitamin B5 has been shown to enhance the level of hemoglobin in our bodies.

Vitamin B5 plays an important role in allowing Vitamin B2 to do its job, and vitamin B2 is involved in the prevention and treatment of anemia.

Vitamin B2 is required for steroid hormone synthesis and red blood cell production and helps with the transportation of oxygen to the cells  to mobilize iron.  Low-levels of vitamin B2 have been correlated with fatigue, shortness of breath, inability to exercise, and many other body functions.


·         Synthesizes Cholesterol

High serum concentration of LDL cholesterol is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and numerous studies have shown that vitamin B5 may help to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood of people with elevated blood fats. At the same time, it helps to raise “good” HDL cholesterol.

A daily dose of 900 mg of a vitamin B5 has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Keep in mind that 900 mg is significantly higher than the recommended daily amount of vitamin B5 per day, so this is only done with the supervision of your physician.

In some small studies, vitamin B5 seems to lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in people with diabetes, although more evidence is needed to prove this.


·         Metabolizes Food into Energy

All B vitamins help your body to convert carbohydrates into glucose, which is used as fuel and produces energy. It does this by synthesizing an enzyme known as coenzyme-A (CoA), which breaks down sugars in the form of glucose for energy. B vitamins also help the body to synthesize and metabolize fats and proteins.

Vitamin B5, along with other B vitamins, can help our bodies to use the foods we eat in order to rebuild our tissues, muscles, and organs. Because of the role it plays in digestion and nutrient extraction, digestive problems can be a sign of a serious vitamin B5 deficiency. And regularly eating foods high in Vitamin B’s, including B5, can help keep your metabolism functioning at optimal levels.

·         Maintains Healthy Nerve Function

Vitamin B5 is responsible for helping with nerve function, specifically for creating an important molecule called acetylcholine. The nervous system is dependent upon acetylcholine; this is the primary chemical that allows your nervous system to communicate back and forth with your organs.

Acetylcholine makes it possible for your brain and spinal chord to send nerve signals to our immune system, heart, lungs, kidneys, spleen, liver and more. It is also used to send nerve signals to muscles, so without enough vitamin B5, nerve damage and impairment in movement can develop.

This is why one of the primary signs of a serious B vitamin deficiency is muscle impairment and pain, including a condition known as burning feet syndrome. This occurs when a person experiences lack of feeling in their feet along with painful burning, inflammation, and the feeling of ongoing fatigue and weakness.

·         Improves Mental Performance

B vitamins in general are often correlated with improving mental function because they can decrease the risk for many problems such as brain function illnesses or age-related memory and function loss.

Obtaining proper amounts of B vitamins including vitamin B5 may be able to help prevent memory loss, migraine headaches, chronic brain syndrome, depression, motion sickness, insomnia, and even alcohol dependence.

Vitamin B5 is known to regulate our hormones, therefore it has the ability to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Vitamin B may also cut down on body fatigue because it balances hormones related to feelings of alertness or fatigue, and boosts our metabolism.

Physicians sometimes see vitamin B5 deficiencies in people who are chronically stressed. When we are deficient in vitamin B5, we lose our ability to react to stress effectively and show signs of adrenal fatigue. This can include having trouble sleeping, exercising, coping with problems, mood swings, weight gain or loss, and other stress symptoms.

One of the most important things to do to boost your metabolism is to reduce stress levels. Emotional stress and lack of sleep are really hard on your body and run down your hormones and metabolism, so the stress reducing effects of vitamin B5 is clearly a great tool in regards to your state of mind and metabolism.


·         Helps Control the Body’s Stress Response 

B5 vitamin benefits include the ability to cope with stress. In fact without vitamin B5 and other B vitamins regulating hormones, the body could not survive, due to how the B vitamins help with adrenal function.

This is why people who are chronically stressed, or who are dealing with adrenal fatigue symptoms, are highly encouraged to take B vitamin supplements. B vitamins including pantothenic acid are useful in calming the nervous system, battling chronic stress, and regulating hormones which control appetite, energy, mood, temperature, and more.

Vitamin B5 is partially responsible for regulating adrenal function and creating the stress hormone cortisol. Studies have shown that pantothenic acid supplementation stimulates the ability of adrenal cells.

Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands and is heavily involved in the body’s stress response, helping us to be alert and to fight off danger and perceived “predators” which are any external sources that cause the body to go into a stress state.

Although it gets a bad reputation for leading to weight gain, anxiety, and other fatigue, cortisol does have important jobs in the body; we need to maintain proper cortisol levels in order to have enough energy and concentration each day. Cortisol also helps our body fight inflammation on a day-t0-day basis.

·         Helps Wound Healing

Studies have shown that vitamin B5 can help in treating skin reactions from radiation therapy and may speed up wound and cut healing. It is also known to delay the appearance of premature aging, like wrinkles and dark spots on the skin.

Data gathered from recent studies suggest that pantothenic acid induces an accelerating effect of the normal healing process due to certain mechanisms that is helps control regarding the improvement in cellular multiplication.

The exact  mechanism of the beneficial effect of vitamin B5 on skin remains unclear, but it is correlated  significantly  with increasing skin strength especially after surgery.

·         Helps with Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Some early studies suggest that vitamin B5 may help with the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. One study found that people with Rheumatoid Arthritis may have lower levels of B5 in their blood than healthy people.

Lower levels of vitamin B5 were associated with the most severe symptoms of arthritis, including painful movements, stiffness, and inflammation.

It has been recorded that high doses of vitamin B5 can help with stiffness and pain in people suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis. And taking B vitamin complex supplements has been correlated with lower levels of joint pain, enhanced muscle strength, and fewer symptoms associated with muscle or joint fatigue.


·         Aids in Immune Function 

Vitamin B5 helps to create antibodies that our immune system produces in order to defend us against potential threats.

These can include environmental and allergic responses, as well as fighting off parasites, bacteria, viruses, the common cold or flu, and toxins.

Studies have shown that vitamin B5 can result in a reduction in the proliferation of different harmful parasites and has been shown to inhibit the growth of dangerous bacteria. For example it can help reduce infection of malaria, a deadly parasite.

We have to be able to produce enough immune antibodies in order to stay healthy and prevent disease. When we are chronically stressed, we lose some of our ability to fight off invaders and toxins because our body becomes depleted of energy while trying to focus on taking care of things that it sees as an immediate threat.

Because B vitamins help control the body’s stress response, they keep our immunity higher so we face less chance of becoming sick and run down.

In order to properly maintain immune function, we must have good digestive health and hormone function. Vitamin B5 helps with both of these things! Without high enough levels of B vitamins, we could not digest the molecules found in carbohydrate, fat, and protein foods and would not be able to access the “fuel” that keeps the body functioning and properly defending itself.

·         Helps Fight Acne & Protect Skin Health 

Another benefit of vitamin B5 is to help maintain the health of skin and also hair. Vitamin B5 can reduce the appearance of premature aging including signs on the skin like wrinkles, dark spots, and discolorations. Studies have also shown that Vitamin B5 plays an important role in the pigmentation and growth of hair follicles.Vitamin B5 can help prevent hair from losing its color during the aging process.

According to recent studies, people who who were given supplements containing vitamin B5 were shown to have a reduction in acne outbreaks compared to those who didn’t take the vitamin. Study results show that pantothenic acid-based dietary supplements in healthy adults with acne facial lesions, is effective, safe, well tolerated and reduced total facial lesion counts.

The results indicated that taking vitamin B5 can help clear area-specific and inflammatory skin acne blemishes while not causing any known side effects. This may be due partially to the role that vitamin B5 plays in immunity and lowering general body-wide inflammation.


Deficiency Symptoms

·         fatigue

·         depression

·         irritability

·         insomnia

·         stomach pains

·         vomiting

·         burning feet

·         upper respiratory infections

·         muscle cramps



Pantothenic acid is found in virtually all meat and vegetable foods, including:

  • chicken
  • beef
  • potatoes
  • porridge
  • tomatoes
  • kidney
  • eggs
  • broccoli
  • wholegrains – such as brown rice and wholemeal bread

Breakfast cereals are also a good source if they have been fortified with pantothenic acid.


World’s Healthiest Foods ranked as quality sources of vitamin B5

Food Serving
Cals Amount
Mushrooms, Shiitake 0.50 cup 40.6 2.61 52 23.1
Mushrooms, Crimini 1 cup 15.8 1.08 22 24.5
Cauliflower 1 cup 28.5 0.63 13 8.0
Sweet Potato 1 cup 180.0 1.77 35 3.5
Broccoli 1 cup 54.6 0.96 19 6.3
Beet Greens 1 cup 38.9 0.47 9 4.4
Asparagus 1 cup 39.6 0.40 8 3.6
Turnip Greens 1 cup 28.8 0.39 8 4.9
Bell Peppers 1 cup 28.5 0.29 6 3.7
Cucumber 1 cup 15.6 0.27 5 6.2
Celery 1 cup 16.2 0.25 5 5.6
Avocado 1 cup 240.0 2.08 42 3.1
Lentils 1 cup 229.7 1.26 25 2.0
Dried Peas 1 cup 231.3 1.17 23 1.8
Chicken 4 oz 187.1 1.09 22 2.1
Turkey 4 oz 166.7 1.02 20 2.2
Yogurt 1 cup 149.4 0.95 19 2.3
Salmon 4 oz 157.6 0.92 18 2.1
Rye 0.33 cup 188.5 0.81 16 1.5
Beef 4 oz 175.0 0.77 15 1.6
Eggs 1 each 77.5 0.70 14 3.3
Potatoes 1 cup 160.9 0.65 13 1.5
Wheat 1 cup 151.1 0.63 13 1.5
Corn 1 each 73.9 0.61 12 3.0
Shrimp 4 oz 134.9 0.59 12 1.6
Papaya 1 medium 118.7 0.53 11 1.6
Winter Squash 1 cup 75.8 0.48 10 2.3
Cow’s milk 4 oz 74.4 0.46 9 2.2
Cod 4 oz 96.4 0.41 8 1.5
Collard Greens 1 cup 62.7 0.41 8 2.4
Raspberries 1 cup 64.0 0.40 8 2.3
Brussels Sprouts 1 cup 56.2 0.39 8 2.5
Grapefruit 0.50 medium 41.0 0.36 7 3.2
Pineapple 1 cup 82.5 0.35 7 1.5
Watermelon 1 cup 45.6 0.34 7 2.7
Carrots 1 cup 50.0 0.33 7 2.4
Oranges 1 medium 61.6 0.33 7 1.9
Cranberries 1 cup 46.0 0.29 6 2.3
Swiss Chard 1 cup 35.0 0.29 6 3.0
Spinach 1 cup 41.4 0.26 5 2.3
Summer Squash 1 cup 36.0 0.25 5 2.5
Cabbage 1 cup 43.5 0.23 5 1.9
Fennel 1 cup 27.0 0.20 4 2.7
Mustard Greens 1 cup 36.4 0.17 3 1.7
Tomatoes 1 cup 32.4 0.16 3 1.8
Sea Vegetables 1 TBS 10.8 0.16 3 5.3
Figs 1 medium 37.0 0.15 3 1.5
Romaine Lettuce 2 cups 16.0 0.13 3 2.9
Bok Choy 1 cup 20.4 0.13 3 2.3


How much pantothenic acid do I need?

You should be able to get all the pantothenic acid you need from your daily diet. Pantothenic acid cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day.

Side Effects

 Taking vitamin B5 is safe when it is consumed in appropriate amounts.  Stick to the recommended amount because larger portions may lead to side effects such as diarrhea, or even increase your risk of bleeding. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not exceed the recommended amount of 6 mg per day because it may not be safe.

You also do not want to take dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) that is used for patients with hemophilia and gastrointestinal blockage. This medication may extend the time it takes for bleeding to stop.

Some studies also show that vitamin B5 may increase the effects of a group of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors, which are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Because taking these medications and B5 together may lead to severe side effects, be sure to take vitamin B5 under your physician’s supervision.

Certain sources also show that vitamin B5 may interfere with the absorption and effectiveness of the antibiotic tetracycline. You should take B vitamins at different times from tetracycline when you are completing an antibiotic prescription.

All vitamin B complex supplements act in this way in regards to antibiotics, so make sure to leave time between taking any antibiotics and multi vitamins or B complex vitamins.



Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.