March 19, 2018
Pantothenic acid: also known as vitamin B5, is an essential nutrient for energy production.
It is a water soluble vitamin that we use in the production of Coenzyme A.
Coenzyme A is a critical coenzyme in the synthesis as well as the degradation of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. You may remember HMG CoA and Acetyl CoA from previous articles discussing cholesterol synthesis and fat break down.
Acetyl CoA and Succinyl CoA are critical for steroid and hormone production as well as energy cycles like the infamous citric acid cycle.
Vitamins A and D require pantothenic acid for production as does the sleep hormone melatonin.
Acetyl CoA is a donor for acetylation reactions that are epigenetic and alter the function of proteins encoded by our DNA.
Finally, this amazing vitamin is involved in many cell signaling pathways.
That list of hard science reactions boils down to the knowledge that pantothenic acid is necessary for many life giving reactions in our body and cannot be taken lightly. The good news is that it is rarely missing in most humans because the vitamin is found in many food sources.
B5 deficiency although rare can happen in extreme cases of malnutrition and presents with headache, fatigue, insomnia, intestinal disturbances, and numbness and tingling of their hands and feet.
Clinical applications of higher doses of pantothenic acid have centered around its lipid lowering effects in hypercholesterolemia. It has been found to lower LDL and triglyceride levels.
It has been used for wound healing as well as troublesome acne. Combining pantothenic acid and L carnitine as a shuttle has been successful in controlling acne for many of my friend's patients.
B5 is one of the few vitamins that can be synthesized by intestinal bacteria.
Food sources of B5 are predominantly from animal flesh, eggs, dairy, avocado, sweet potatoes, whole grain wheat and legumes. The US government has been fortifying breads and cereals for years as an added source.
Toxicity from supplements is almost unheard of. There are exceedingly rare cases of diarrhea and skin irritation.
Most adults need 5 mg/day. Incrementally less for kids. This nutrient is easily obtained from a anti inflammatory diet.
People at risk for insufficiency or deficiency have: alcoholism, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, HIV, eating disorders, celiac disease, heart disease and certain drugs including isoniazid, anti cancer immunosuppressants like 6MP.
Know the vitamin insufficiency symptoms and you can treat many issues safely,
*With many of these micronutrients, you will see a pattern that the brain, gut and skin are often affected. These highly metabolic and rapid cell turnover organs are most susceptible to insufficiency states that occur with a modern human processed, government subsidized diet that promotes gut dysfunction, malabsorption and inflammation.