What is Pantothenic Acid?

L. Hepfer

Pantothenic acid is commonly known as vitamin B5 and is one of eight different B vitamins. Pantothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that helps to convert carbohydrates into fuel inside the body and produce energy. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, and any extra water-soluble vitamins inside the body that are not used are excreted through the urine. For this reason, pantothenic acid must be replaced on a daily basis through food or through taking supplements.

Kale, which contains pantothenic acid.
Kale, which contains pantothenic acid.

All of the B vitamins combined are often referred to as B complex vitamins. These B vitamins are used to metabolize protein and fats within the body. B complex vitamins are essential for healthy hair, skin, eyes and liver and encourage proper function of the nervous system.

Avocados are a good source of pantothenic acid.
Avocados are a good source of pantothenic acid.

Pantothenic acid is essential to the body in its own way. It manufactures red blood cells and sex-related and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands. It sometimes is considered the "anti-stress" vitamin because of its effect on the adrenal glands. Pantothenic acid also helps the body maintain a healthy digestive tract.

Cauliflower contains pantothenic acid.
Cauliflower contains pantothenic acid.

Pantothenic acid contains a derivative called pantethine. Pantethine is thought to lower high levels of triglycerides for people with high cholesterol. Some studies have proven that pantothenic acid lowers bad cholesterol while raising levels of good cholesterol, and other studies have shown that it helps wounds heal faster. A deficiency in pantothenic acid can warrant signs of fatigue in a person, along with a feeling of weakness.

Salmon contains high levels of pantothenic acid.
Salmon contains high levels of pantothenic acid.

Fresh meats, whole grains and vegetables contain higher levels of this powerful B vitamin than canned, processed or frozen food. Often times this vitamin is lost when the food processing begins. Foods that include good sources of pantothenic acid are brewer's yeast, cauliflower, broccoli, avocados, corn, kale, legumes and lentils. Foods high in protein such as beef liver, turkey, chicken, duck, lobster, salmon, milk, peanuts and soybeans also contain high levels of pantothenic acid. Whole grain breads and cereals are great sources as well.

Supplements for this vitamin can be taken in pill form. Sometimes adding pantothenic acid supplements to your daily routine can cause side effects with various medications. Pantothenic acid can interfere with the effectiveness of an antibiotic called tetracycline. It can increase the effects of cholinesterase inhibitors, which are a type of medication taken by those with Alzheimer's disease. As with any supplement, you should consult your physician beforehand to avoid any possible side effects.

Vitamin B-5, or pantothenic acid, helps the body turn carbohydrates into fuel.
Vitamin B-5, or pantothenic acid, helps the body turn carbohydrates into fuel.

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Discussion Comments


My aunt started using pantethine to help control her cholesterol, and it actually worked.

She had been on another medication before, but it didn't have the right effect. After her doctor switched her to the pantethine, her cholesterol levels were back on track.

What I don't know is whether or not you have to get pantethine in pill form or if there are foods you can eat to get extra pantethine. The article mentions having deficiencies, so I assume we have to get a certain amount naturally. I'd be curious to know what foods have it. It might be a good way to keep cholesterol in check before it becomes a problem.


Is anyone familiar with using pantothenic acid for acne? I read that taking it would help with lessening acne, but I wanted a little bit more information first.

The article mentions that the vitamin is used for building healthy skin, but that doesn't necessarily mean getting rid of acne.

I have used quite a few different products, but have had little success. Most of the over the counter products really dry out my skin, so recently I've been looking for more natural remedies. Thanks for the help, guys.


@JimmyT - I would be interested in the last part of your post, as well. What is the daily recommended amount of panthothenic acid to consume? Do we really need to be taking any type of supplements, or do most people get plenty by eating a regular, healthy diet. It seems like B5 can be found in quite a few foods, so I would go with the latter.

Can anyone explain what puts a vitamin in a certain class. For example, there is vitamin A, C, D, E, but there are 12 B vitamins I believe. Why are there so many Bs but only one of the others? I have often wondered that when I look at food labels.


@anon128734 - I know that sports drinks have a lot of B vitamins in them. I'm not always so sure how necessary they are, though. Since the article says this one converts carbohydrates, it might be one of the more necessary ones, though. On the other hand, I'm not sure how much B5 we usually have in our bodies. Maybe most people have plenty as it is.


I didn't know this, but apparently this is found in energy drinks too.

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