Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, is part of the B-complex vitamins that are essential to the human body. The benefits of this vitamin are countless and include decreasing mental stress levels, improving acne prone skin, boosting the immune system, lowering high cholesterol and converting foods into energy. Since vitamin B5 is water soluble and cannot be stored in the body, it is important to consume this nutrient daily. Some may find it crucial to take supplements, but are pantothenic acid supplements necessary?
Where is it?
Pantothenic acid can be found in virtually every meat and poultry product. It is particularly high in egg yolk, fish, milk, peanuts, whole grain products, soya beans, liver and peas. Most vegetables are also high in this vitamin, including fruits like bananas and oranges. Its presence in a variety of foods makes pantothenic acid deficiency rare. As a result, guidelines for recommended daily intake do not formally exist and any excess of this vitamin will be eliminated through urination. It's important to keep in mind that the heat breaks down pantothenic acid in food.
Although vitamin B5 deficiency is extremely rare for most people, it is still very dangerous and life threatening. Symptoms of this particular deficiency may include muscle cramps, vomitting, diarrhea, nausea, loss in muscle strength, fatigue, intestinal problems, decreased cholesterol levels, sleep disturbances, numbness, and depression. Remember that these symptoms may also be an indicator for other B-vitamin deficiencies.
There are no high risks associated with or without taking pantothenic acid supplements since it's found in several foods and water soluble. However, always consult a health physician before you begin taking these vitamins.