Vitamin B5, otherwise known as pantothenic acid or pantothenate is a water soluble B-vitamin that is critical for normal function of the human body. This vitamin is also commonly called the anti-stress nutrient because it plays a role in the production of stress hormones by the adrenal glands. Deficiency of B-5 contributes to the inability to cope with stress. Additionally, pantothenic acid plays vital roles in energy production from foodstuffs. Pantothenate is a component of coenzyme A, which is necessary for energy production from carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and other compounds, as well as synthesis of fats, cholesterol, steroid hormones, porphyrin and phospholipids.

Signs and Symptoms of Deficiency:
  • Fatigue
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Burning and pain in the arms and legs
  • Burning feet
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Irritability
  • Fainting
  • Hair loss
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Susceptibility to infection
  • Premature graying of the hair
  • Gluten sensitivity intolerance or celiac disease
Vitamin B5 has been shown to be beneficial for the following conditions
  • Achlorhydria
  • Depression
  • Dermatitis
  • Adrenal disease (adrenal burn out or failure)
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • High Cholesterol
  • Chronic Fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
Drugs or Medications that may interfere with or deplete vitamin B5
  • Caffeine
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Acid reflux medications
The following foods are the richest dietary source of Pantothenate

The term pantos is Greek and means "everywhere", therefore; B5 is found in most foods. Meat, legumes, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are rich sources.

Video transcript

Hi, Doctor Osborne here with Web Wellness University and today I want to talk about vitamin B5.

Vitamin B5 is very, very important and an essential nutrient. The body can't survive without it. Its nickname, you might have heard or seen this written on food labels, "Pantothenate", also known as Pantothenic Acid, and more importantly its nicknames, which derive or give us a derivative of what its functions are. One: the anti graying factor and the other: the anti stress factor. So vitamin B5 is an essential nutrient B vitamin that plays a role in the stress response and without it - without its function - we're going to have an inability to cope and tolerate and deal with stress.

So let's talk about some the symptoms associated with vitamin B5 deficiency, some of the functions of vitamin B5. One of the primary target organs for vitamin B5 is it helps the adrenal glands. Okay, if you've ever heard the term "Adrenal burnout", a lot of doctors are talking about that measuring adrenal hormones, but it helps the adrenal glands properly produce cortisol, which helps us to fight inflammation. So cortisol is actually one of the major mechanisms by which we are capable of fighting inflammation on a day-to-day basis. One of the other functions of vitamin B5 is it actually helps to stimulate your adrenal glands' ability to stimulate eosinophilic production. So these are specialized cells that help us cope and deal with allergies. So B5, okay, is a fuel or a food for the adrenal glands and that helps us to produce cortisol, which helps us fight inflammation, but also helps us to fight allergies.

Okay, the other component here under its ability to help our immune system, and that's to produce antibodies like IgG, IgA, IgE et-cetera; the antibodies that we make, that our immune systems make to help defend our body from all of the different types of allergenic responses that we might be exposed to: environmental responses, viruses, bacteria, parasites, et-cetera. We have to be able to produce these antibodies in order to be able to function. One of the other main components to vitamin B5 deficiency, and again this is all - these are all functions of B5 - is there's a nickname, you sometimes hear this term or you may have if you took biochemistry: acetyl CoA. And this is a, sometimes in biochemistry, nickname for vitamin B5 but its primary role is in the formation of a molecule called aceytlcholine. And maybe you have, or maybe you haven't heard of aceytlcholine: this is the primary nerve chemical that allows your nervous system to talk to your organs. Okay, so your nervous system, your spinal cord, your brain, communicates with your heart and your lungs and your spleen and your kidney and your liver through the part of the nervous system that is dependent upon this chemical for that communication. Additionally, your nerves communicate to your muscles through acetylcholine so without vitamin B5 we can develop neuropathy, we can start to develop signs of nerve damage.

Comment: Neuropathy would be an extreme deficiency of the nutrient, so it's probably best to look for earlier warning signs and address the imbalance before it reaches that level of severity.

So that brings us to, you know, what are some the symptoms of a choline deficiency or of, not a choline deficiency, but an acetylcholine deficiency: neuropathy. And one of the classic signs of a vitamin B5 deficiency is what we call a "burning feet" neuropathy. In other words, the feet will feel actually like they're quite on fire. Other symptoms associated to these effects of vitamin B5 deficiency would include: headaches, many people develop GI pain - gastrointestinal pain. So one of the functions of vitamin B5 is its role in the aid of digestion. So GI pain: an inability to properly digest the food can occur as a symptom or a side effect. Generalized symptoms of fatigue is quite common as well. So we can have a lot of these types of symptoms, we can have a lot of these types of problems when we suffer from vitamin B5 deficiency for a long enough period of time.

Where do we get B5? B5 comes from the Greek word, if we look at at the Greek root of pantothenate right, which is what we said earlier, pantothenate was what vitamin B5 is a synonym for, right, and this word right here Panto, actually add an s, Pantos, is a Greek word that means everywhere, or found everywhere. So this particular B vitamin is actually found in all foods, and so where we see problems with people developing a deficiency is when they are chronically stressed. If you think about it, B5, we said earlier, it plays a role feeding the adrenal glands which helps us make cortisol and this is a big part of the adaptive stress response. And so what happens with B5 deficiency is we actually lose our ability to respond appropriately to stress; we become stress intolerant. So even things that may have not bothered us five or ten or fifteen years ago will wipe us out today. Some people become exercise intolerant. Some people will get sick at the drop of a hat. So we can't exercise or we get increased illness, and that could be upper respiratory infections, it could be urinary tract infections, it could be chronic viral infections, et cetera, but we lose our ability to cope and adapt to stress so even small forms of stress tend to build and to affect us much, much sooner than what they should or otherwise would.

Again we said that B5 means everywhere, right, Pantos means "found everywhere", so all foods are going to generally tend to contain vitamin B5 and meats, fish, and egg, and milk products, are probably some of the foods that contain the most vitamin B5, so very, very important that you have adequate quantities of those foods in your diet especially if you suspect B5 deficiency.

Comment: Aside from butter and ghee, it's best to avoid dairy altogether:

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According to Chris Kresser, 100g of beef liver contains 8.8mg of Pantothenic Acid.

Now one of the other things and I get this question asked a lot because we said before it's the "anti-graying" factor, right, some people have asked whether or not adding B5 to the diet or adding B5 as a supplement could reverse graying of the hair and the answer to that question, clinically, is no. I haven't really seen a whole lot of that happen. I have seen halting of graying hair, in essence. I've seen gray hair coming slow down in patients when we started to correct their B5 deficiency, but typically you don't get a reversal of gray hair. Now, in lab rats we do see anti graying, we do see reversal of graying at the hair when giving vitamin B5, but not humans. So don't think that you should take B5 if you're graying prematurely and you want to reverse the color of your hair but you might want to take it if you're graying prematurely and you're under a lot of stress and you can't figure out why.

So again vitamin B5 deficiency causes adrenal problems, can cause nervous system problems, causes the inability to cope and adapt to stress, causes immune system dysfunction, reduces your body's ability to produce antibodies, and overall it's not a deficiency that we want to cross. In essence, we want to make sure there our levels of vitamin B5 are always adequate. One of the best ways to measure B5 deficiency is through a test called lymphocyte proliferation. This test was actually designed at the University of Texas. There was a research study - took about seventeen years to do lymphocyte proliferation. As a result of that, there is a test that came out where we can actually measure the storage of vitamin B5 within the white blood cells, so it gives an average of B5 levels over a six-month period of time. So, if you're asking your doctor to measure your vitamin B5 levels, please don't have him measure B5 in the serum, it's not going to be very effective. Have him measure your lymphocyte proliferation levels for vitamin B5 and in so doing, you're going to get a much more accurate representation and much more accurate reading.

Hope this was helpful. If you like this information, please hit the subscribe button down below and click the link to get more information on vitamin B5. Have a great day.