What Is Pantothenic Acid?

Learn more about what pantothenic acid is, and its essential function in the human body.

Pantothenic acid comes in three forms, and it is alternately known as vitamin B5, panthenol and calcium pantothenate. Pantothenic acid is integral to many of the activities of enzymes in the human body. It is necessary for the manufacture of energy from both sugars and fats in the system as well as the utilization of other vitamins. Pantothenic acid is also essential to the manufacture of fats, corticosteroids and the sex hormones, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. It is also integral to the proper functioning of the adrenal glands and nervous system as well as for normal growth and development throughout the human body.

The dietary sources for pantothenic acid are vast and varied. Brewer's yeast and wheat germ are good sources, as is royal jelly a substance often touted mostly as a beauty aid but which is also rich in this vitamin. Pantothenic acid can also be found in almost all vegetables, as well as cereals. It is is just about every meat product and pantothenic acid can be found in abundance in liver, kidney, heart, and fish as well as egg yolks.

Even though it is so important to proper functioning of the human organism, pantothenic acid deficiency does occur. Severe pantothenic acid deficiency often occurs in individuals who have general ill health. Symptoms of deficiency may include fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, headache and numbness or tingling in the limbs and extremities. Pantothenic acid deficiency may also cause cramping of the muscles and a lack of coordination. It can also make a person faint and confused.

Recommended intakes of pantothenic vary, but the common agreement among professionals seems to be between 5 to 20 milligrams daily. Of course, before starting any form of supplementation you should consult your health care practitioner.

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