Vitamin B5, Pantothenic acid, is essential in numerous metabolic processes in our bodies. Its meaning is derived from the Greek word pantothen, defined as “all quarters, everywhere, or universal.” Vitamin B5 is critical in the processes of hormone production, neurotransmitter production and function, and and equally integral in the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Pantothenic acid is defined through two compounds; calcium pantothenate and panthenol. These two compounds are extremely active in our liver, kidney, adrenal glands, heart, and brain. B5 is also part of the coenzyme A. Coenzyme A’s central function is in cholesterol and fatty acid synthesis, and energy metabolism.
Vitamin B5 is distributed through all foods consumed in our diets. The word panto (all quarters, everywhere) is especially relevant in Westernized diets because of the high bioavailability of pantothenic acid in all foods. The most concentrated forms of pantothenic acid are found in organ meats (and most meat sources), legumes, and whole grains. The specificity of intake per food source is not defined (via food graph) for this vitamin, as it is readily available in all foods
There have been various clinical research studies over the past two decades into determine the physiological use and benefit of pantothenic acid supplementation. Its most common application seems to be in the arena of stress relief, primarily in the ability to produce anti-stress related hormones in the adrenal glands. Vitamin B5 is often referred to as the “anti-stress” vitamin because of this hormone secretion, and also for its ability to aid in immune system function. 
Primary studies may also show pantothenic acid to be a proven supplement in the ability to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in adults and children.  The most stable form of Vitamin B5, pantethine, has been evaluated for its potential to decrease the specific risk factors of high cholesterol (i.e. LDL) levels. As well, panthethine has also been implemented to increase of HDL (good cholesterol) levels, treat symptoms of diabetes, and to assist in pre- and post-menopausal symptoms. [3, 4] Although more study is needed, current research indicates that pantethine may also aid in the prevention of heart disease and aid in weight loss.
A compound of B5, calcium pantothenate, was first studied in 1980. It was administered to participants in the study with intakes of 2000mg/day. Calcium pantothenate was shown to improve symptoms related to rheumatoid arthritis, such as stiffness (specifically morning stiffness) and pain.  It may also be a distinct wound healing supplement, being especially useful in post-operative patients. Its capabilities to heal wounds seem to work the best in conjunction with Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. [6, 7]
RDA and DRI defined for pantothenic acid:
|10 mg/day||10 mg/day||3 mg/day||3 mg/day|
Vitamin B5 Toxicities
Higher doses of pantothenic acid has been given to patients undergoing clinical study. There has been sides effects reported in the “mega dosing” of this vitamin. Signs of an overdose include the increased need for thiamine (Vitamin B1), water retention, and diarrhea.
Vitamin B5 Deficiencies
Deficiencies of Vitamin B5 are unlikely to occur unless one’s diet is inadequate. This may be seen in those with drug addictions and eating disorders, as an array of other nutrients are likely to be deficient as well. However, there has has been no specific demonstration of a dietary deficiency of pantothenic acid in medical literature.
1. Pizzorno JE, Murray MT. Textbook of Natural Medicine. Vol 1. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 1999
2. Bertolini S, Donati C, Elicio N, et al. Lipoprotein changes induced by pantethine in hyperlipoproteinemic patients: adults and children. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1986;24:630–637.
3. Naruta E, Buko V. Hypolipidemic effect of pantothenic acid derivatives in mice with hypothalamic obesity induced by aurothioglucose. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2001;53(5):393-398.
4. Gaddi A, Descovich GC, Noseda G, et al. Controlled evaluation of pantethine, a natural hypolipidemic compound in patients with different forms of hyperlipoproteinemia. Atherosclerosis. 1984;50:73–83.
5. General Practitioner Research Group. Calcium Pantothenate in Arthritic Conditions. Practitioner. Feb 1980; 224 (1340): 490-92.
6. De-Souza DA, Greene LJ. Pharmacological nutrition after burn injury. J Nutr. 1998;128:797-803.
7. Lacroix B, et al. Role of Pantothenic and Absorbic Acid in Wound Healing Processes: In Vitro Study on Fibroblasts. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1988; 58(4): 407-13