Pantothenic Acid: The Benefits And Risks Of Vitamin B-5 Supplements

Why is vitamin B-5 called the anti-stress vitamin? Read on to find out what B-5, or pantothenic acid, can do for you.

Are you feeling a little stressed these days?Perhaps you are deficient in vitamin B-5.Vitamin B-5, or pantothenic acid, is often called the "anti-stress" vitamin.Pantothenic acid is part of the B-vitamin group which helps change carbohydrates and glucose, or sugar, into energy, helps breakdown fats and proteins, and helps keep the body's nervous system running and healthy. Like the rest of the B-group vitamins, B-5 is water soluble and can not be stored in your body for future use. What is not immediately used is sent out of your body as waste.

What specifically does B-5 do for you? B-5 is thought to help maintain the immune system.The immune system is negatively affected by stress, thus the vitamin's "anti-stress" title.Pantothenic acid is helps to form red blood cells, antibodies, lipids, and neurotransmitters. It also helps form hormones and antibodies. B-5 also assists the body use other vitamins, particularly B-12, or riboflavin. Some think that B-5 in combination with vitamin C may help wounds heal more rapidly. There is thought that B-5 can benefit those who suffer from depression. There are some who think that B-5 may help with the reduction of cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream, may help prevent wrinkles, may help prevent hair from graying with age, and may help with relieving arthritis, but none of these assertions have been completely proved.

Where is pantothenic acid found?Vitamin B-5 is readily available in most living cells.Foods with high B-5 content include avocados, eggs, milk, beef, legumes, salmon, grains, mushrooms, broccoli, collard greens and other fresh vegetables. In addition, pantothenic acid can be manufactured in the intestine.So basically, you are surrounded by pantothenic acid.Almost everything you eat has B-5 and your body can make it, too.

What happens to you if you are B-5 deficient?Since almost everything you consume has B-5 and your body makes it as well, it is very difficult to not have enough of the vitamin. There are reports that some alcoholics may suffer from a lack of B-5, but this condition appears to be very rare.Some people may not be able to manufacture B-5 in their intestines after taking tetracycline because tetracycline kills the bacterial flora in the intestine that helps the body produce B-5, but again, this does not seem to affect people seriously.If there are any problems at all, they will probably relate to deficiencies in consuming the entire vitamin-B group.

How much pantothenic acid should you take on a daily basis?There is not a Recommended Daily Allowance, as health officials consider B-5 to be a trace vitamin.You should be able to get all the pantothenic acid that you need from eating properly.If you are taking a daily multivitamin supplement, you will probably be adding about 10-25 mg of B-5 per day. Experts differ on whether taking this additional amount of the vitamin helps your body, but it certainly will not hurt. There do not seem to be any serious side effects of taking too much B-5 aside from diarrhea, but you would have to take a truly huge amount of the vitamin to get that ill.

Consult your physician if you are considering increasing the amount of pantothenic acid in your diet.Your doctor will know whether an increased dosage will benefit your health.In addition, there may be problems with drug interactions, particularly with tricyclic antidepressants.Your physician will be able to advise you to help you on how to keep healthy, happy, and well with or without additional vitamin B-5.

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