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Vitamin B-5
(Pantothenic Acid)

Pantothenic acid is a B vitamin named after the Greek word pantos, meaning "everywhere" because it is found in both plant and animal food sources. Pantothenic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin that cannot be stored in the body but must be replaced daily, either from diet or from supplements.

Pantothenic acids' most important function is as an essential component in the production of coenzyme A, a vital catalyst that is required for the conversion of carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy. Pantothenic acid is also referred to as an antistress vitamin due to its vital role in the formation of various adrenal hormones, steroids, and cortisone, as well as contributing to the production of important brain neuro-transmitters such as acetylcholine. In addition to helping to fight depression Pantothenic acid also supports the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and is required for the production of cholesterol, bile, vitamin D, red blood cells, and antibodies.

There is no specific deficiency disease associated with inadequate intake of pantothenic acid, though under severe dietary conditions a lack of B5 can lead to a variety of symptoms including hypoglycemia, skin disorders, fatigue, depression, digestive problems, lack of coordination and muscle cramps. The current RDA for pantothenic acid is 10 mg.

Pantothenic acid is found in a wide variety of foods including beans, beef, liver, salt-water fish, chicken, cheese, eggs, whole grain breads and cereals, avocados, cauliflower, green peas, beans , nuts, dates, and potatoes. Most common B-complex formulas contain from 10 to 100 mg. of B5, though daily doses up to 1000 mg are not uncommon, especially for treatment of arthritis and allergies.