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Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) - Deficiency Risk and Symptoms

Monday January 18, 2016 at 6:22pm
Vitamin B5 - Deficiency Risk and Symptoms

Nutrient Name

Vitamin B5 - otherwise known as Pantothenic Acid. Its name originates from the Greek word ‘pantos’, meaning ‘everywhere’, as it can be found in all living cells.

Potential for deficiency


Groups at risk of deficiency are alcoholics, women on oral contraceptives, the elderly, and people with impaired absorption due to certain digestive disorders.

What does Vitamin B5 do?

Like all of the 8 B vitamins, niacin plays a role in converting carbohydrates into glucose, metabolising fats and proteins, and keeping the nervous system working properly. B-complex vitamins are needed for a healthy liver, healthy skin, hair, and eyes, and to help the nervous system function properly. Pantothenic Acid also helps the body make sex and stress-related hormones. It also helps improves circulation and cholesterol levels.

Early studies suggest that pantothenic acid supplements might help with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirms that clear health benefits have been established for the dietary intake of pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) in contributing to: 

  • normal energy-yielding metabolism
  • normal mental performance
  • normal synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin D and some neurotransmitters
  • the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

Food Sources

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) occurs to some extent in all foods however the richest source are: brewers yeast, organ meats (liver, kidney, heart, brain), eggs, milk, vegetables, legumes and wholegrain cereals.

Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) is a water-soluble vitamin and as such, it is unlikely to reach toxic levels. There is little danger of niacin toxicity when it is taken orally. Very high doses may cause diarrhoea and may potentially increase the risk of bleeding.

Symptoms of deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pains
  • Burning feet
  • Respiratory infections.


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