Pantothenic Acid: The Essential Acid

Vitamin B5 SourcesPantothenic acid is also known as vitamin B5. The human body cannot make pantothenic acid by itself, so we must included it in our diets. It’s becoming increasingly popular as a supplement. This is why it’s known as an “essential” acid. Studies have shown that a lack of pantothenic acid is the least common nutrient deficiency in the US, as it is found in such a wide range of foods. In fact, its name comes from the Greek word pantothen – “from all sources”.

Foodstuffs like meat, vegetables, cereal grains, eggs and milk are rich in pantothenic acid. More specifically, cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms, calf’s liver, avocado, sweet potato and chicken all have very high levels of pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid is part of the Coenzyme A molecule (CoA). CoA is central to the body’s metabolising process, also known as the Krebs cycle: without it, fat, protein and carbohydrates could not be converted into fuel.

Cholesterol synthesis, the process which makes vitamin D inside the body, also requires pantothenic acid.
Pantethine is a by-product of pantothenic acid which may be effective in lowering blood cholesterol and triglycerides.

How is pantothenic acid made?

Commercially available products may contain either pantothenic acid or its by-product, pantethine. Pantothenic acid can be turned into pantethine by a process called disulphidation.

Who could benefit from taking pantothenic acid and pantethine supplements?

I. Hypertriglyceridaemia sufferers

People suffering from hypertriglyceridaemia could benefit from taking supplements containing pantothenic acid. A typical therapeutic dose would be 300mg of pantethine tablets 3 to 4 times daily.

II. Those with high cholesterol

Similar to its function treating hypertriglyceridaemia, 3 daily doses of 300mg of pantethine tablets may be useful in treating high cholesterol.

III. Rheumatoid arthritis patients

Pantethic acid deficiency is a common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. By taking 2,000mg of pantethine daily sufferers have noticed a decrease in symptoms like morning stiffness and joint paint.

IV. Acne

Preliminary trials have just begun on panththenic acid’s efficiency in treating acne. Initial findings showed that oral pantethine tablets plus topical application of pantethine cream improved acne symptoms.

V. Candida sufferers

Pantethine has a number of beneficial functions for candida sufferers. It assists the body’s metabolisation of acetaldehyde, one of the toxic by-products of the candida yeast infection. (Acetaldehyde affects sufferers’ metabolism and neurological and immune systems.) Additionally, it boosts adrenal glands, helping to strengthen the immune system which is often weakened by candida.

Is pantothenic acid and pantethine safe?

Panothenic acid and its derivatives are typically very safe substances with mild or no side effects. Some users of pantothenic acid and pantethine experience nausea, stomach pains and diarrhea; you may want to avoid panthetine if you suffer from gastrointestinal problems. Expectant mothers and mothers who are still breastfeeding should avoid these types of supplements as not enough is known about their use during pregnancy and early childcare. There is some evidence that pantothenic acid and its derivatives can slow blood clotting – increasing the risk of severe bleeding in those who have a clotting disorder. If you suffer from a blood clotting disorder, consult your healthcare professional before taking any supplements containing these types of compounds. For the same reason, avoid any of these types of products for at least 2 weeks before any surgical procedures.

How can I use pantothenic acid most effectively?

Taking pantothenic acid or pantethine in conjunction with medications which retard the clotting process can increase the likelihood of bruising and bleeding – be cautious about using pantothenic acid and derivatives alongside medication like aspirin, ibuprofen and enoxaparin. Consult your healthcare professional for further advice.