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Be brighter with b5

A Beginners Guide to Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

What is Vitamin B5?

Vitamin B5 is also known as Pantothenic Acid, or Pantothenate. The word pantothenic comes from the Greek “pantou,” meaning everywhere. Nearly all foods contain small quantities of pantothenic acid.

Vitamin B5 is one of the 8 B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which the body uses to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, also help the body use fats and protein.

All B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning that the body does not store them.


What does Vitamin B5 do in the human body?

As with all B vitamins, pantothenic acid helps the body break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins so that our bodies can use them for energy and rebuilding tissues, muscles, and organs.

Vitamin B5 has many important functions. These include:

  • converting food into glucose

  • synthesizing cholesterol

  • forming sex and stress-related hormones

  • forming red blood cells


Vitamin B5 also assists with:

1. Supports Cardiovascular Health

Your body needs pantothenic acid to synthesize cholesterol. A derivative of pantothenic acid is called pantethine, which has been studied for its ability to positively influence heart function, especially by maintaining normal cholesterol levels.

It seems to help protect arteries and prevent dangerous plaque build-up that can possibly lead to a heart attack or stroke.

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 reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood of people with elevated blood fats. At the same time, it helps raise “good” HDL cholesterol.


2. Metabolizes Food into Energy

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

B vitamins in general help our bodies 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.


3. Maintains Healthy Nerve Function

Vitamin B5 is responsible for helping with nerve function, specifically for creating an important molecule called acetylcholine. The nervous system depends 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 cord 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 pantothenic acid, 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 the feet along with painful burning, inflammation, and the feeling of ongoing fatigue and weakness.


4. 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. Some research even shows that cerebral deficiency in this nutrient may contribute to neurodegeneration, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

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

Pantothenic acid is known to regulate neurotransmitters and is essential for synthesis of acetyl-CoA, which helps form myelin that protects cells. Therefore it has the ability to support normal brain function and help us cope with stress, anxiety and depression.

It may also cut down on body fatigue because it balances hormones related to feelings of alertness or fatigue and boosts metabolism.

Sometimes we see vitamin B5 deficiencies in people who are chronically stressed. When we are deficient in it 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.


5. Helps Control the Body’s Stress Response

Pantothenic acid benefits include the ability to cope with stress. In fact, without B vitamins regulating hormones, the body could not survive due to how they support overall 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. They can help battle effects of chronic stress and 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 and also helps with normal production of cortisol, which we need to maintain motivation and concentration.


6. Relieves Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Some studies suggest that B5 may help with the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. One study found that people with rheumatoid arthritis may have lower levels in their blood than healthy people. Low levels seems to be associated with the most severe symptoms of arthritis, including painful movements, stiffness and inflammation.

It has been recorded that high doses of pantothenic acid can help with controlling inflammation, stiffness and pain in people suffering from RA. 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.


7. Aids Immune Function

Pantothenic acid helps create antibodies that the 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 higher intake of pantothenic acid can result in a reduction in the spread 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.

It may also help control the body’s stress response, helping keep our immunity higher so we face less chance of becoming sick and run down.


9. Helps Fight Acne and Protect Skin Health

B5 may help reduce the appearance of premature aging, including signs on the skin like wrinkles, dark spots and discolorations. Studies have also shown that it also plays an important role in the pigmentation and growth of hair follicles and may prevent hair from losing its colour during the aging process.


What is the best form of Vitamin B5?

There are 2 commonly used forms of Vitamin B5, they are D-calcium pantothenate and pantothenic acid. D-calcium pantothenate is a synthetic vitamin B-5 supplement manufactured from pantothenic acid. It is a more stable form of the Vitamin B5 and is often used as a source of the Vitamin B5 in multivitamin supplements. Calcium pantothenate, as it is a salt, it is more stable than pantothenic acid and it is often used in dietary supplements.

Pantothenic acid is a very unstable chemical that is easily degraded by exposure to light, heat, or acids. To stabilize pantothenic acid to make sure it won’t break down in a supplement, manufacturers combine it with calcium to make D-calcium pantothenate. D-calcium pantothenate is easily break down to pantothenic acid that the body can readily use.

There are several different chemicals identified as Vitamin B5. The form of vitamin B5 that is active in living organisms is D-pantothenic acid. It’s the only form of vitamin B5 that actually serves any function in living cells.

Vitamin B5 supplements are generally safe across the board. But prolonged use at high doses may cause diarrhoea and bleeding.

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What are the signs of Vitamin B5 Deficiency?

 Symptoms of a vitamin B5 deficiency may include:

  • fatigue

  • depression

  • irritability

  • insomnia

  • stomach pains

  • vomiting

  • burning feet

  • upper respiratory infections

  • muscle cramps


People at a greater risk of developing a deficiency include:

  • alcoholics

  • women on oral contraceptives/birth control pills

  • people with severe malnutrition

  • people with impaired absorption of vitamins and minerals due to certain medications or intestinal disorders (leaky gut, SIBO, ulcers, low stomach acid, etc.)


Are you unsure whether you may have a Vitamin B5 deficiency? Then book yourself in for a full body analysis and give yourself the peace of mind of knowing the health status of your body!



Who should not take Vitamin B5?

You should not take Vitamin B5 if you are taking:

Antibiotics, Tetracycline -- Vitamin B5 interferes with the absorption and effectiveness of the antibiotic tetracycline. You should take B vitamins at different times from tetracycline. All vitamin B complex supplements act in this way and should be taken at different times from tetracycline.

Drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease -- Vitamin B5 may increase the effects of a group of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors, which are used to treat Alzheimer's disease. That might lead to severe side effects. You should not take these drugs with B5 unless under a doctor's supervision. Cholinesterase inhibitors include:

  • Donepezil (Aricept)

  • Memantine hydrochloride (Ebixa)

  • Galantamine (Reminyl)

  • Rivastigime (Exelon)

Since high doses of vitamin B5 can increase bleeding, you should take extra care if you take blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, and others.


Which gene controls Vitamin B5?

The PANK2 gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called pantothenate kinase 2. This enzyme is active in specialized cellular structures called mitochondria, which are the cell's energy-producing centres. Within mitochondria, pantothenate kinase 2 regulates the formation of a molecule called coenzyme A. Coenzyme A is found in all living cells, where it is essential for the body's production of energy from carbohydrates, fats, and some protein building blocks (amino acids).

PANK2 is one of four human genes that provide instructions for making versions of pantothenate kinase. The functions of these different versions probably vary among tissue types and parts of the cell. The version produced by the PANK2 gene is active in cells throughout the body, including nerve cells in the brain.


What health conditions are associated with PANK2 mutations?

Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration. Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (formerly called Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome) is a disorder of the nervous system. This condition is characterized by progressive difficulty with movement, typically beginning in childhood. Movement abnormalities include involuntary muscle spasms, rigidity, and trouble with walking that worsens over time. Many people with this condition also develop problems with speech (dysarthria), and some develop vision loss.

Additionally, affected individuals may experience a loss of intellectual function (dementia) and psychiatric symptoms such as behavioural problems, personality changes, and depression.

Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration is characterized by an abnormal build-up of iron in certain areas of the brain. A particular change called the eye-of-the-tiger sign, which indicates an accumulation of iron, is typically seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain in people with this disorder.

Researchers have described classic and atypical forms of pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration. The classic form usually appears in early childhood, causing severe problems with movement that worsen rapidly. Features of the atypical form appear later in childhood or adolescence and progress more slowly. Signs and symptoms vary, but the atypical form is more likely than the classic form to involve speech defects and psychiatric problems.

Checking your genes is very important, not only for you, but your family. Genetic testing unlocks a world of information about your health. Contacts us today to book your genetic testing!




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