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  Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)  
 
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Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5) is required for the synthesis of certain steroids produced in the adrenal glands via the action of coenzyme A. The RDA for adults is 5mg but the optimal daily intake may be 100mg. The average intake of teenagers is about 5mg per day.

The best food sources are brewer's yeast, wheat germ, wheat bran, royal jelly, whole-grain breads and cereals, green vegetables, peas, beans, peanuts, crude molasses, liver and egg yolk. The highest levels are found in beef liver at 4.8mg per 3 ounces. Pantothenic acid supplementation is usually required for a desired therapeutic effect.
Pantothenic Acid is water-soluble and stable in moist heat, but unstable in dry heat and acid or basic pH situations. Little is lost during normal cooking but 50% loss occurs in vegetables when they are frozen and 65% when they are canned. In addition, processed and refined grains lose about 50%, while processed meats lose up to 70% of vitamin B5.

Pantothenic acid is readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. It is stored in high amounts in the adrenal glands but about 70% of absorbed pantothenic acid is excreted in the urine. Before pantothenic acid is utilized it must first be converted to the sulfur-containing pantotheine. Pantotheine is currently fairly expensive and should be used only in select cases.

A serious deficiency of pantothenic acid is uncommon because of its wide distribution in foods. Experimentally-induced human vitamin B5 deficiency has caused insomnia, leg cramps, paresthesias of the hands and feet, mental depression, decreased antibody formation, easy fatigue, gastrointestinal disturbance, and upper respiratory infections.

It is hard to overdose on pantothenic acid. There is a lack of data regarding acute or chronic toxic effects of pantothenic acid compounds (calcium or sodium pantothenate, panthenol) at very high doses (approximately 10,000mg per day in some cases for a number of years), although such levels have been associated with diarrhea and gastrointestinal disturbances.
 

 
 

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) can help with the following:
 
 
Allergy  Allergic Rhinitis / Hay Fever
 Pantothenic acid supplementation may reduce allergic reactions, especially allergic rhinitis. Clinical observation: The majority of over 100 patients with allergic rhinitis who took 250mg of pantothenic acid twice daily had almost instant relief. [Martin W. On treating allergic disorders. Townsend Letter for Doctors Aug/Sept 1991: pp.670-1]

Clinical observation: A physician with allergies took 100mg at bedtime and found that his nasal stuffiness cleared in less than 15 minutes and that he stopped awakening at 4 or 5 AM with cough and mucous secretion. He subsequently found that many of his patients also noted significant relief of nasal congestion from supplementation. [Crook WG. Ann Allergy 49: pp.45-46, 1987]

Clinical observation: Observations made in our laboratory indicated that pantothenic acid at about 500mg daily could be used to combat allergy. Subsequently a pharmaceutical house found that, while it was somewhat effective, it was not superior to certain available antihistaminics. [Williams RJ. The expanding horizon in nutrition. Texas Rep Biol Med 19[2]: pp.245- 58, 1961]

Note: Pantothenic acid is quite effective in treating nasal congestion caused by allergy. However, if the dosage is too high, it can cause nasal dryness and pruritus. [Roger Williams, U. of Texas at Austin - personal communication to Wayne Martin, quoted in Martin W. Pantothenic acid for allergies. Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients June, 1997: p.108]

Szorady conducted allergy skin tests on 24 children injecting them with histamine. Pantothenic acid reduced the intensity of skin reaction by 20-50% in all children. [Marz, p.209, 1997]

  Allergies Indoor
 Pantothenic acid supplementation may reduce allergic reactions, especially allergic rhinitis. 500mg per day often produces satisfactory results. Pantothenic acid is quite effective in treating nasal congestion caused by allergy. However, if the dosage is too high, it can cause nasal dryness and pruritus (Roger Williams, U. of Texas at Austin - personal communication to Wayne Martin, quoted in Martin W. Pantothenic acid for allergies. Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients June, 1997: p.108).

Szorady conducted allergy skin tests on 24 children injecting them with histamine to induce symptoms. Pantothenic acid reduced the intensity of skin reaction by 20-50% in all children. (Marz, p.209, 1997)

  Post Nasal Drip
  Allergy / Intolerance to Foods (Hidden)
 Please see the link between Food Allergy and Digestive Enzymes.

Autoimmune

  Myasthenia Gravis
 To enhance acetylcholine levels take pantothenic acid 100mg daily. There is sufficient evidence to believe that coenzyme A, which is the physiologically active form of pantothenic acid in animals, is in limited supply in cases of myasthenia gravis.

  Multiple Sclerosis / Risk
 Please also see the article about the approach that Fred Klenner, MD used with MS.

Hormones

  Low Adrenal Function / Adrenal Insufficiency
 Key nutrients to aid adrenal function include vitamin C, B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, zinc, and magnesium. These nutrients not only play a critical role in the health of the adrenal gland, but also in the manufacture of adrenal hormones. Possibly the most important nutrient for the adrenal glands is pantothenic acid.

Mental

  Stress

Metabolic

  Bruxism (Clenching/Grinding Teeth)

Not recommended for:
  Metabolic Diet Type

Musculo-Skeletal

  Rheumatoid Arthritis
 Low pantothenic acid levels are implicated in the development of human osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as whole blood pantothenic acid levels have been reported to be lower in rheumatoid arthritis patients compared with normal controls. In addition, disease activity was inversely correlated with pantothenic acid levels.

Nutrients

  Vitamin Pantothenic Acid Requirement
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
Reasonably likely to cause problems







GLOSSARY

Acute:  An illness or symptom of sudden onset, which generally has a short duration.

Antibody:  A type of serum protein (globulin) synthesized by white blood cells of the lymphoid type in response to an antigenic (foreign substance) stimulus. Antibodies are complex substances formed to neutralize or destroy these antigens in the blood. Antibody activity normally fights infection but can be damaging in allergies and a group of diseases that are called autoimmune diseases.

Calcium:  The body's most abundant mineral. Its primary function is to help build and maintain bones and teeth. Calcium is also important to heart health, nerves, muscles and skin. Calcium helps control blood acid-alkaline balance, plays a role in cell division, muscle growth and iron utilization, activates certain enzymes, and helps transport nutrients through cell membranes. Calcium also forms a cellular cement called ground substance that helps hold cells and tissues together.

Chronic:  Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.

Coenzyme:  A heat stable molecule that must be associated with another enzyme for the enzyme to perform its function in the body. It is necessary in the utilization of vitamins and minerals.

Diarrhea:  Excessive discharge of contents of bowel.

Gastrointestinal:  Pertaining to the stomach, small and large intestines, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

Milligram:  (mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.

Pantothenic Acid:  A B-complex vitamin necessary for the normal functioning of the adrenal gland, which directly affects growth. It is also essential for the formation of fatty acids. As a coenzyme, it participates in the utilization of riboflavin and in the release of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

pH:  A measure of an environment's acidity or alkalinity. The more acidic the solution, the lower the pH. For example, a pH of 1 is very acidic; a pH of 7 is neutral; a pH of 14 is very alkaline.

RDA:  Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins or other nutrients as determined by the FDA. U.S. RDAs are more widely used than RDAs, and focus on 3 age groups: Infants of 0-12 months; Children of 1-4 years; Adults and children of more than 4 years.

Sodium:  An essential mineral that our bodies regulate and conserve. Excess sodium retention increases the fluid volume (edema) and low sodium leads to less fluid and relative dehydration. The adult body averages a total content of over 100 grams of sodium, of which a surprising one-third is in bone. A small amount of sodium does get into cell interiors, but this represents only about ten percent of the body content. The remaining 57 percent or so of the body sodium content is in the fluid immediately surrounding the cells, where it is the major cation (positive ion). The role of sodium in the extracellular fluid is maintaining osmotic equilibrium (the proper difference in ions dissolved in the fluids inside and outside the cell) and extracellular fluid volume. Sodium is also involved in nerve impulse transmission, muscle tone and nutrient transport. All of these functions are interrelated with potassium.

Steroid:  Any of a large number of hormonal substances with a similar basic chemical structure containing a 17-carbon 14-ring system and including the sterols and various hormones and glycosides.

Yeast:  A single-cell organism that may cause infection in the mouth, vagina, gastrointestinal tract, and any or all bodily parts. Common yeast infections include candidiasis and thrush.