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Pantothenic Acid

Other name(s):

vitamin B5, chick antidermatitis factor (archaic), pantothenyl alcohol

General description

Pantothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin. It belongs to the B group of vitamins. Like the other B vitamins, pantothenic acid plays a role in energy production. It’s also needed to make fatty acids and important hormones. It helps keep muscles and the digestive system healthy.

Pantothenic acid is an essential part of coenzyme A. This works in the metabolism of fatty acids, triglycerides, and cholesterol. Pantothenic acid plays a role in the synthesis of adrenocortical hormones. This includes cortisone and its intermediates. It also plays a role in the synthesis in hemoglobin and myoglobin, a chemical in the muscles like hemoglobin in the blood.

Medically valid uses

Pantothenic acid is used to treat pantothenic acid deficiency. This is rare in most people. It’s linked with poverty. It’s also linked with severe nutritional deficiencies. These include Kwashiorkor or marasmus.

It’s also been used to treat of paralytic ileus. In this condition, peristalsis is stopped. It’s also used to treat diabetic neuropathy. This is patches of abnormal skin due to nerve damage from diabetes.

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have not yet been substantiated through studies.

Pantothenic acid may enhance athletic performance. It may also make wounds heal more quickly. This claim is not supported in current research findings.

Recommended intake

Pantothenic acid is measured in milligrams. No Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) has been set for this vitamin. The Adequate Intake (AI) is listed below.



Infants (0–6 months)

1.7 mg

Infants (7–12 months)

1.8 mg

Children (1–3 years)

2 mg

Children (4–8 years)

3 mg

Children (9–13 years)

4 mg

Children and adults (14 years and older)

5 mg

Pregnant women

6 mg

Breastfeeding women

7 mg


Food source

Nutrient content per 100 grams

Dried yeast

9.5 mg

Beef liver

7.3 mg

Chicken liver

4.1 mg

Peanut butter

2.5 mg


2.1 mg


1.7 mg


1.3 mg


0.3 mg

Pantothenic acid is unstable in heat. This means it needs to be refrigerated. Cooking can destroy up to 15–75% of the vitamin. This depends on the food source and length of cooking time.

Most foods are neutral, but pantothenic acid degrades quickly in both acidic and alkaline foods. However, there are few foods alkaline enough to cause significant degradation.

You’ll need more pantothenic acid during prolonged periods of stress, extreme athletic activity, or demanding physical work.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may need to take vitamin supplements. But talk to your healthcare provider before doing so.

Because pantothenic acid is abundant in many food sources, even poor diets generally contain enough of it. This should prevent deficiency.

Mild deficiencies have been produced in humans in experiments. Symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, insomnia, and upper stomach pain. They also include nausea, sensory changes in the arms and legs, and muscle spasms.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

There are no known side effects of too much pantothenic acid. Excess pantothenic acid comes out in urine.

There are no known food or drug interactions linked with pantothenic acid.



Online Medical Reviewer: Poulson, Brittany, RD, CDE
Online Medical Reviewer: Wilkins, Joanna, R.D., C.D.
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2016
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