26th Jan, 2020

Vitamin B5: Functions, Food Sources, Deficiencies And Toxicity

Vitamin B5 commercially well-known as D-pantothenic acid or pantothenate is one of the potent water-soluble vitamins of the vitamin B complex. The word pantothenic comes from the Greek word "pantou," which means ‘everywhere’, as almost all foods contain small quantities of pantothenic acid in them.

Vitamin B5 is present in all plants and animal sources. Animals mostly need pantothenic acid in order to synthesize the coenzyme-A (CoA), as well as to synthesize and metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Also Read: Vitamin B2: Functions, Food Sources, Deficiencies and Toxicity

It is extremely beneficial for human life as it facilitates the body in breaking down food i.e. complex carbohydrates into simple forms of sugar i.e. glucose, and fats and proteins which in turn provides energy for carrying out various bodily activities. It also helps in making new red blood cells, synthesize cholesterol and a wide number of hormones in the adrenal glands.

Vitamin B5 was discovered by an American biochemist Roger John Williams in the year 1933, which is a precursor of coenzyme A (CoA), which is used by many different enzymatic pathways in the body.


Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid plays a significant role in the conversion of energy for various bodily activities. It also takes part in the conversion of the various other B vitamins into forms which is acceptable by the body.

Vitamin B5 is a potent antioxidant and a neural compound which helps in boosting the immune system and neural functions. It also aids in metabolising fat and reducing stress levels.

Vitamin B5 is extremely useful in treating allergies, alcoholism, baldness, autism, burning feet syndrome, yeast infections, heart failure, carpal tunnel syndrome, conjunctivitis, respiratory disorders, asthma, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), celiac disease, colitis, convulsions, and cystitis.

It plays a pivotal role in the treatment of depression, diabetic nerve pain, boosting immune function, maintaining blood sugar levels, refining athletic performance, treating tongue infections, grey hair, dandruff, headache, hyperactivity, insomnia, irritability, hypotension, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, muscular cramps in the legs, neuralgia, and obesity.

Vitamin B5 plays an active part in the synthesize of the coenzyme A. It converts the consumed food into fatty acids and cholesterol and hence helps in the synthesis of fatty acids. It is also necessary for the production of a fat-like molecule known as sphingosine which in turn helps to conduct chemical transmissions at the cellular level.

Several types of research show that regular intake of vitamin B5 reduces the pain and inflammation in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. It is also extremely beneficial for metabolising cholesterol. It keeps a healthy balance of the cholesterol levels in the blood. It lowers the level of bad cholesterol (i.e. LDL or Low-Density Lipoprotein) and ups the level of good cholesterol (i.e. HDL or High-Density Lipoprotein). Also Read: 5 Superfoods To Keep Good Cholesterol Up

Vitamin B5 plays a crucial role in the synthesis of the hormone called melatonin which is secreted by the pineal gland located deep inside the brain. It controls the wake/sleep cycle, prevents insomnia, and helps the body to deal with tiredness and stress. It is highly beneficial in improving eyesight and reducing pain and inflammation in case various vision problems like dry eyes.

Vitamin B5 is an excellent choice for enhancing heart health. By lowering the bad cholesterol in the body, it prevents the risk of cholesterol-related heart issues like heart block, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, etc. It treats dilated cardiomyopathy, lowers high blood pressure and prevents heart failure. Also Read: World Heart Day: 5 Simple Ways To Care For Your Heart

Studies reveal that vitamin B5 supplements are also good for treating respiratory issues. It reduces cough and cold symptoms treat asthma and other bronchial issues. Since vitamin B5 helps in the synthesis of Coenzyme A, the high concentration of this enzyme in the liver helps in removing harmful toxins from the body and in turn promote liver functions.

Vitamin B5 is a potent antioxidant and effectively takes part in healing wounds and reducing inflammation conditions of the skin like acne, pimple, blemishes, etc and also hydrates and moisturises the skin. Commercially, vitamin B5 is used as an ingredient in hair, skin and makeup products since they help in adding volume, texture, and shine to the hair and also reduce greying. As a skincare ingredient, it helps in improving the radiance and quality of the skin.

It is also used for various skin problems like itching, diaper rash, insect stings, bites, infection, etc. It is also useful in preventing and treating skin reactions to radiation therapy.


Vitamin B5 is extremely vital for the healthy functioning of the body. Unlike the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K, this water-soluble vitamin is produced in very minute quantity in the body, hence to fulfil the dietary needs one has to strictly depend on external food sources and supplements. And much to our respite, Mother Nature has blessed us with a bountiful amount of natural food sources laden with vitamin B5 that suffices our daily requirements of this healthful nutrient.

The most prominent sources of vitamin B5 are:

Vegetable sources include broccoli, sweet potatoes, corn, cauliflower mushrooms, avocado, kale, tomatoes, and legumes like lentils, split peas, and soybeans.

Grain sources include whole-grain bread and cereals.

Dairy sources include egg yolk, milk, yogurt, and milk products.

Animal Sources include chicken and other meat variety and fish sources include salmon, lobster, and shellfish


Like other B complexes, vitamin B5 is also essential for providing energy to the body for carrying out various bodily functions. Hence, the lack of it can decrease the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates leading to underlying deficiency syndromes. Although extremely rare, there are certain cases where unhealthy or poor diet has led to severe deficiency conditions.

The reduced levels of energy due to lack of vitamin B5 may cause fatigue, irritability, etc. It can also cause an imbalance in the sugar levels by reducing the sugar level below normal. Deficiency symptoms are also characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps restlessness, malaise, numbness, paraesthesia, muscle cramps, and sleep disturbances.

Deficiency symptoms can also be seen in some animals which include problems related to the nervous, gastrointestinal, and immunity system of the body, decreased food intake, reduced growth rate, skin lesions and changes in body hair.


It is highly unlikely to have toxicity in the case of vitamin B5. The Recommended Dietary Intake of vitamin B5 is 5mg for adults. It is extremely necessary to get consulted with a doctor or health supervisor before taking Vitamin B5 in supplement form as an overdosage might cause diarrhea, stomach trouble, headache, excessive stress and might also increase the risk of bleeding, etc. Vitamin B5 supplements are mostly prescribed to be taken with water, preferably after eating.


Being a quintessential ingredient, this water-soluble vitamin is highly beneficial for a host of health benefits like metabolising fat, improving skin and eyesight, maintaining a healthy nervous system and promoting cardiac health. It is also beneficial for complications and ailments related to the stomach, muscles, sleep patterns and hence one must undergo proper consultation with a doctor and fulfil the recommended dietary intake of pantothenic acid.