Vitamin B5 is a member of the Vitamin B complex family. It is also known as pantothenic acid. The name is derived from the Greek word ‘pantos’ which means ‘everywhere’, because the vitamin is available in any form of food. In order to get into any kind of chemical reaction in the body, Vitamin B5 has to combine with a sulphur-containing molecule and form coenzyme A (CoA) - a non protein chemical compound that is required for protein’s activities.

Why does the human body need Vitamin B5?

The main role of Vitamin B5 in our body is to generate energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins in our daily diet. It also helps in the formation of red blood cells, neurotransmitters and antibodies. Vitamin B5 contributes in improving the amount of haemoglobin, lowers the cholesterol when its level is high, and also helps in maintaining the blood pressure.

How much does the body require per day?

Vitamin B5 is required in adequate amount on a daily basis since it is water-soluble and cannot be stored in the body. This daily requirement differs for different age-groups. The infants should have a daily intake of 1.7 to 1.8 milligrams, children need to consume 2 to 4 mg per day and the adults require a daily consumption of 5 mg. Other than this, pregnant women need to have 6mg and breastfeeding mothers need to have 7 mg of Vitamin B5, every day.

What food sources provide Vitamin B5?

Our body can be replenished with Vitamin B5 through our daily diet if we eat the right varieties of food which contain Vitamin B5. Some of the best natural sources of Vitamin B5 are yogurt, corn, eggs, cheese, liver, meat, peanuts, peas, soybeans etc. Some of the sources with smaller amounts of Vitamin B5 are avocado, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, beef, chicken, brewer’s yeast, milk etc.

What happens if the body lacks Vitamin B5?

When the body lacks Vitamin B5, it suffers from certain deficiency which show the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue

  • Weakness sensation

  • Burning foot syndrome where there is numbness, tingling and burning sensation and pain in the feet

  • Nausea

  • Elevated cholesterol levels and rapid heart beats

  • Premature greying of the hair

  • Hair loss

  • Indigestion
What factors deplete Vitamin B5 in the body?

The main factor resulting in the depletion of Vitamin B5 in the body is improper digestion where the food is not broken down properly in a manner that the body can absorb the Vitamins in the food. Consumption of certain drugs and medicines may also deplete the vitamin content in the body. Caffeine, high blood pressure medicine and acid reflux medicines are some of the examples.

What are the symptoms of excess consumption of Vitamin B5?

A high consumption of Vitamin B5 is not toxic, but when the supplemental doses are extremely high, then it leads to some dysfunction of our body mechanism. The worst symptom of its toxicity is the intestinal distress leading to diarrhoea. Some of the other symptoms are depression, drowsiness, lack of energy, memory loss and nausea.

How does Vitamin B5 help in improving our health?

Vitamin B5 helps in improving and curing various body conditions.

  • Adrenal insufficiency - inadequate amounts of steroid hormones produced

  • Burning foot syndrome - hot, painful, “pins and needles” sensation in the feet

  • Cataracts - a clouding of the lens inside the eye which leads to impaired vision

  • General fatigue

  • Osteoarthritis - blocked arteries

  • Hyperlipidemia - high fat content in blood

  • Alcoholism related conditions

  • Heart problems

The Vitamin B5 supplements also help in speeding up the healing of the wounds especially after surgery. It also maintains the fat levels in the blood.

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