Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
DSM is a prominent manufacturer of vitamin B5/pantothenic acid - a deficiency in which can lead to problems like depression, fatigue and upper respiratory tract infections.
Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid, belongs to the group of water-soluble B vitamins. Its name originates from the Greek word pantos, meaning ‘everywhere’, because it’s found in all living cells.
The richest vitamin B5 sources are yeast and organ meats (liver, kidney, heart, brain); although eggs, milk, vegetables, legumes and wholegrain cereals are more common sources.
An adequate supply of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is important as it helps the body to:
• Convert food into glucose, used to produce energy
• Break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins for energy generation
• Synthesize cholesterol cholesterol
• Form red blood cells, as well as sex and stress-related hormones.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which provides scientific advice to assist policy makers, has confirmed that clear health benefits have been established for the dietary intake of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) in contributing to:
- Normal energy-yielding metabolism
- Normal mental performance
- Normal synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin D and some neurotransmitters
- The reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Since vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) occurs to some extent in all foods, it’s generally assumed that deficiency is extremely rare. The truth is it probably happens in conjunction with deficiencies in other B vitamins.
Groups at risk of deficiency are alcoholics, women on oral contraceptives, people with insufficient food intake (the elderly, post-operative), and people with impaired absorption (due to certain internistic diseases).
Symptoms of a vitamin B5 deficiency can include fatigue, insomnia, depression, irritability, vomiting, stomach pains, burning feet and upper respiratory infections.
Supplements and food fortification
Pure pantothenic acid is a viscous hygroscopic oil that is chemically not very stable. Supplements therefore usually contain the calcium salt, or alcohol - panthenol. Calcium panthothenate is often included in multivitamin preparations while panthothenate is added to a variety of foods, particularly breakfast cereals and beverages, dietetic and baby foods.