Springboard Health Nutrition notebook Health information
Vitamins 296 pixels Return home
2 pixels


472 pixels



Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B-5) is a heat-labile, water-soluble vitamin that is vital to all the energy requiring processes of the body because it is the precursor of coenzyme A (CoA).

Because it is heat-labile, it is readily destroyed by cooking with dry heat, such as occurs in canning. Canning destroys 20 to 35% of the vitamin in animal sources, and 46 to 78% of the vitamin found in plant foods. Grain loses 50% of its pantothenic acid content during milling.

Pantothenic acid is found in all naturally-occurring foods.

Return to top

Method of Action

Pantothenic acid is a simple chemical which contains alanine. In the body, it couples with a sulfur-containing compound to form pantothenine. The addition of a phosphate group and adenine molecule results in the formation of coenzyme A (CoA).

Pantothenic acid, by virtue of being the precursor of CoA, is directly involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids, and plays a role in all the energy-requiring processes of the body.

Pantothenic acid makes possible the biosynthesis of fatty acids, phospholipids, cholesterol, and steroid hormones. A deficiency may cause adrenal cortex insufficiency or even necrosis.

Pantothenic acid, through CoA, fuels the metabolism of porphyrin and therefore controls the formation of hemoglobin.

Pantothenic acid is responsible for the production of isoprene units, the basic building blocks of fat soluble vitamins.

The synthesis of niacin from its precursor tryptophan is facilitated by pantothenic acid in conjunction with biotin.

Return to top

Properties and Uses

Pantothenic acid reverses the graying of hair in rats and dogs. It does not, however, correct graying in human beings.

Pantothenic acid can be administered after surgery to correct residual paralysis of the gastrointestinal tract. This treatment is effective because the vitamin appears to stimulate gastric motility. The patient must be carefully monitored because high levels (10 to 20 grams) may cause diarrhea.

Return to top

Consequences of Deficiency

The following symptoms have been associated with pantothenic acid deficiency in animal models:

• Dermatitis - chick • Graying of the hair - rat • Adrenal gland necrosis - rat
• Blood whiskers - rat • Baldness - mice  

There have been no reports of spontaneous, uncomplicated deficiency diseases for humans. This is not surprising given its widespread availability in natural-occurring foods, and possible synthesis by intestinal bacteria.

Experimental deficiencies have been produced in humans. The following symptoms were exhibited by various subjects:

• Insomnia • Depression • Quarrelsomeness
• Sullenness • Personality changes • Leg Cramps
• Numbness • Malaise • Abdominal discomfort
• Increased susceptibility to infection • Tingling of the hands and feet • Vomiting

Return to top

Toxicity Levels

Pantothenic acid is considered to be nontoxic because excessive dosages produce no known serious effects. This vitamin does, however, stimulate gastric hypermotility at dosages of 10 to 20 grams, producing diarrhea.

Return to top

Recommended Dietary Allowances

• RDA for adults: 4 to 7 mg
• RDA for adolescents: 4 to 7 mg
• RDA for children: 3 to 5 mg
• RDA for infants: 2 mg

Lactating and pregnant women may require more than the standard 4 to 7 mg of pantothenic acid per day.

Return to top

Summary Deficiency Symptoms

• Loss of Appetite • Indigestion
• Sullenness • Pains In the Arms and Legs
• Fainting Sensations • Lowered Blood Pressure
• Susceptibility to Allergies • Rheumatoid Arthritis
• Nausea • Abdominal Pain
• Mental Depression • Repeated Infections
• Disturbed Electrolyte and Water Balance • Rapid Pulse

Return to top

2 pixels
2 pixels

Copyright © 2004 Springboard All rights reserved.
2 pixels
Left tab 436 Pixels Right tab