The body uses pantothenic acid (better known as vitamin B 5 ) to make proteins as well as other important chemicals needed to metabolize fats and carbohydrates. Pantothenic acid is also used in the manufacture of hormones, red blood cells, and acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter (signal carrier between nerve cells).
In the body, pantothenic acid is converted to a related chemical known as pantethine. For reasons that are not clear, pantethine supplements (but not pantothenic acid supplements) appear to reduce blood levels of triglycerides and possibly also improve the cholesterol profile.
The word pantothenic comes from the Greek word meaning "everywhere," and pantothenic acid is indeed found in a wide range of foods. For this reason, pantothenic acid deficiency is rare. The official US and Canadian recommendations for daily intake of pantothenic acid are as follows:
- 0-6 months: 1.7 mg
- 7-12 months: 1.8 mg
- 1-3 years: 2 mg
- 4-8 years: 3 mg
- 9-13 years: 4 mg
Males and Females
- 14 years and older: 5 mg
- Pregnant Women : 6 mg
- Nursing Women : 7 mg
Brewer's yeast, torula (nutritional) yeast, and calf liver are excellent sources of pantothenic acid. Peanuts, mushrooms, soybeans, split peas, pecans, oatmeal, buckwheat, sunflower seeds, lentils, rye flour, cashews, and other whole grains and nuts are good sources as well, as are red chili peppers and avocados. Pantethine is not found in foods in appreciable amounts.
For lowering triglycerides , the typical recommended dosage of pantethine is 300 mg 3 times daily. Dosages of pantothenic acid as high as 660 mg 3 times daily are sometimes recommended for people with rheumatoid arthritis .
Pantothenic acid is also recommended as an athletic performance enhancer , but there is no evidence at all that it works. It is also sometimes referred to as an anti-stress nutrient because it plays a role in the function of the adrenal glands, but whether it really helps the body withstand stress is not known.
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Pantothenic Acid and Pantethine?
No significant side effects have been reported for pantothenic acid or pantethine, used by themselves or with other medications. As noted above, pantethine has been used in people with diabetes, without apparent adverse effects. However, maximum safe dosages for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with serious liver or kidney disease have not been established.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 07/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/25/2012 -