pantothenic acid (generic name)

a vitamin b complex - treats Burns, Athletic performance, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, High cholesterol, Radiation skin irritation, At...
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Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Calcii pantothenas, calcium pantothenate, C9H17NO5, coenzyme A, D-calcium pantothenate, D (+)-N-(2,4-dihydroxy-3, 3-dimethylbutyryl)-beta-alanine, D-panthenol, D-pantothenic acid, D(+)-pantothenic acid, D-pantothenyl alcohol, dexpanthenol, dexpanthenolum, panthenol, pantoic acid, pantothenic, pantothenic acid, pantothenol, pantothenylol, vitamin B-5.

Background

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is essential to all life and is a component of coenzyme A (CoA), a molecule that is necessary for numerous vital chemical reactions to occur in cells. Pantothenic acid is essential to the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, as well as for the synthesis of hormones and cholesterol.

The name pantothenic acid comes from the Greek word pantos, meaning "everywhere," referring to its wide distribution in most plants and animals. Rich food sources include meats, liver, kidney, fish/shellfish, chicken, vegetables, legumes, yeast, eggs, and milk. However, freezing and canning may lead to a loss of much of the pantothenic acid content. Whole grains are also a good source, although refining may degrade much of the pantothenic acid content. In commercial supplement products, vitamin B5 is available as D-pantothenic acid and as the synthetic products dexpanthenol (converted in the body to pantothenic acid) or calcium pantothenate. Pantothenic acid is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex formulations. Only the dextrorotatory (D) isomer of pantothenic acid possesses biologic activity.

Pantothenic acid deficiency is exceedingly rare and likely only occurs only in cases of the most severe life-threatening malnutrition. Most individuals likely obtain sufficient amounts from dietary sources.

Pantothenic acid has been used or studied for numerous health conditions, but has not been clearly demonstrated as beneficial for any. Oral, topical (on the skin), or injected forms have been used.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Pantothenic acid deficiency: Pantothenic acid deficiency has been very rarely observed in humans. In cases of true pantothenic acid deficiency, oral pantothenic acid therapy is accepted as a treatment. It may also be merited as prevention in select patients at high risk for malnutrition. It should be included in tube feeds or parenteral (intravenous) nutrition formulas for patients unable to eat on their own.
Grade: A

Athletic performance: There is currently insufficient scientific evidence in this area in order to form a clear conclusion.
Grade: C

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): There is currently insufficient scientific evidence in this area in order to form a clear conclusion.
Grade: C

Burns: Vitamin supplementation is often recommended in individuals who have sustained severe burns, due to loss of nutrients and increased metabolic needs. It is unclear if vitamin B5 has specific beneficial effects in burn healing beyond its usual functions in the body.
Grade: C

High cholesterol: Pantothenic acid itself has not been shown to have any cholesterol-lowering effects. However, a chemical derivative of pantothenic acid called pantethine has been studied for this purpose, with compelling preliminary evidence in humans.
Grade: C

Osteoarthritis: There is currently insufficient scientific evidence in this area in order to form a clear conclusion.
Grade: C

Rheumatoid arthritis: It has been reported that pantothenic acid levels are lower in the blood of patients with rheumatoid arthritis compared to healthy individuals. However, it is not clear if this is a cause, effect, or a beneficial adaptive reaction. There is currently insufficient scientific evidence in this area in order to form a clear conclusion.
Grade: C

Wound healing: In animal research, oral and topical pantothenic acid has been associated with accelerated skin wound healing. However early human study results conflict. Additional evidence is necessary before a clear conclusion can be reached regarding this use of pantothenic acid or dexpanthenol.
Grade: C

Radiation skin irritation: Based on one study, topical (skin) application of dexpanthenol, an analog of pantothenic acid, to areas of irradiated skin does not appear to reduce erythema, desquamation, itching, or pain following radiation treatment.
Grade: D

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