Pantothenic acid is also known as vitamin B5 and is one of the water-soluble vitamins. Since the body cannot store excess amounts of this vitamin, it is important that this is replenished by eating foods that contain a significant amount of pantothenic acid. Currently, there is no recommended daily allowance for pantothenic acid. However, experts suggest that adults take about 4 up to 7 mg of pantothenic acid everyday. This amount is normally already absorbed from food and so supplements are rarely required, unless in special cases.
Food Sources of Pantothenic Acid
Common foods that contain pantothenic acid include cheese, eggs, meats, peas, corn, liver and peanuts. Other food sources of pantothenic acid include brewer’s yeast, soybeans and wheat germ, cauliflower, broccoli, avocado, legumes, turkey and cereals. Despite pantothenic acid being readily available in a number of foods, this micronutrient is easily destroyed when food is heated, processed or canned.
Functions of Pantothenic Acid in the Body
Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, is important in a number of normal processes in the body. It is an important vitamin for healthy reproduction and growth. Pantothenic acid helps in the metabolism of nutrients, as well as in creating antibodies for the production of vitamin D. Without this micronutrient, fats cannot undergo metabolism in order to become energy that the body can use.
Pantothenic acid helps in the faster healing of wounds. It plays a role in the production of glutathione, a cellular antioxidant. It is also an important micronutrient in the production of red blood cells and adrenal gland hormones.
Pantothenic acid is also important for the digestive tract because it helps maintain the tract’s healthy condition. Studies suggest that this micronutrient may help manage stress caused by migraines, smoking, psychological strain and chronic fatigue.
Too Much Pantothenic Acid, Side Effects and Toxicity
Currently, there have not been reports about pantothenic acid being toxic to humans. There are, however, side effects experienced if too much of it is taken in by the body. Diarrhea is a symptom that is commonly exhibited due to an overdose of pantothenic acid.
Pantothenic Acid Deficiency
A deficiency in pantothenic acid is very rare, mainly because it is found in almost all kinds of food. However, a deficiency in this micronutrient can happen in people with alcoholism problems. The most common sign of pantothenic acid deficiency is fatigue. Depression, heart problems, sleep disturbances, muscle weakness, a decreased blood cholesterol and a decreased level of potassium in the body are also symptoms of pantothenic acid deficiency.