Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid, belongs to the group of twelve B vitamins. It is a major component of coenzyme A (CoA), which is involved in numerous basic metabolic processes in the body. The name of the B-vitamin derives from the Greek word "pantothen", which means "from everywhere" and can be understood in two respects: Pantothenic acid is present in all animal and vegetable foods and is needed almost everywhere in the body.
Vitamin B5 is important for this
As a component of coenzyme A, vitamin B5 is involved in the breakdown and buildup of fats, carbohydrates and proteins and thus in the release of energy from food. In addition, it plays an important role in the synthesis of cholesterol, which in turn is needed for the formation of steroid hormones, such as sex hormones, anti-stress hormones or vitamin D.
In addition, vitamin B5 contributes to the production of various neurotransmitters and hemoglobin, thus indirectly enabling stimulus transmission in the brain and oxygen transport in the blood.
Vitamin B5 in food
The daily requirement of an adult of vitamin B5 is five to six milligrams and can usually be met by a balanced diet. Especially rich in vitamin B5 are animal offal and whole grains. In addition, herring, avocado, eggs, and nuts are also important suppliers of vitamin B5.
For example, daily needs are met by eating one of the following foods:
- 100 grams of veal or beef liver
- 500 grams of chicken
- Four chicken eggs
- 550 grams of oatmeal
- 400 grams of lenses (dry weight)
- Three avocados
- 500 grams of broccoli
When preparing it is important to note that vitamin B5 is water-soluble and sensitive to heat. This can result in losses of up to 30 percent during cooking.
Vitamin B5 deficiency
A vitamin B5 deficiency is very rare due to the widespread distribution of B vitamin. If at all, it often occurs in combination with a deficiency in other B-group vitamins. However, there are high-risk groups, such as alcoholics, diabetics, dialysis patients and intestinal patients, who have a higher tendency to undersupply.
A severe deficiency is often associated with symptoms such as headache, fatigue, insomnia, indigestion and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
The so-called "Burning Feet Syndrome" (burning feet) may be the result of several months of vitamin B5 deficiency. The symptoms range from an initial tingling and numbness in the toes to a burning and stinging in the feet. The syndrome became known during the Second World War in prisoners of war in Burma and Japan, who suffered from vitamin B5 deficiency. By administering vitamin B5 the syndrome could be cured.
No upper limit for vitamin B5
An upper limit for ingestion was not established because no toxicity to humans could be demonstrated. Even with the intake of larger amounts of vitamin B5, no side effects have been reported so far. Very high doses of ten grams or more per day can cause indigestion and, in the worst case, diarrhea.
Treat acne with vitamin B5
Vitamin B5 can be used therapeutically. So it is used in particular for the fight against acne (acne vulgaris) as well as for the support of the wound healing. Rightly, this vitamin B is also referred to as the "queen of skin vitamins".
High-dose vitamin B5 is one way of treating acne. It reduces the production of sebum by regulating certain hormones and fatty acids indirectly. Consequently, pimple formation can be contained and pore size refined. Advocates of this type of treatment recommend a systematic increase in the dose to be taken.
Promote wound healing
In addition, numerous studies have shown that vitamin B5 improves the skin's ability to regenerate and is an effective wound-healing promoter. The B vitamin supports cell proliferation and consequently leads to increased formation of new skin layers.
For example, it can help with scouring or burn wounds and is even used to improve wound healing in diabetic inflammations such as "open leg" or weeping wounds. Many wound and healing ointments contain the active ingredient panthenol or dexpanthenol, which is converted into vitamin B5 in the body.
What vitamin B5 can do
In addition, vitamin B5 should also have positive effects on weight management. An increased dose of this vitamin promotes the formation of coenzyme A, which stimulates fat metabolism. Thus, it can be used as part of a diet supportive.
Controversial is the effectiveness of vitamin B5 as a conditioner in hair shampoos. It promises - as the cosmetics industry promises - long-lasting moisture and shine to the hair and protects it from damage. However, critics point out that this effect has not yet been clearly demonstrated. However, there is evidence that pantothenic acid can promote hair growth and slow down hair loss.