Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)

What Does Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) Do?

Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B-complex group of vitamins. It plays a crucial role in several important bodily functions. It is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It helps convert the food you eat into energy that your body can use.

Vitamin B5 is necessary for the synthesis of coenzyme A (CoA), a molecule that plays a central role in various metabolic pathways. CoA is involved in the production of fatty acids, cholesterol, and the breakdown of carbohydrates and fatty acids for energy.

B vitamins are also needed for:

  • Healthy skin, hair, and eyes
  • Proper functioning of the nervous system and liver
  • Healthy digestive tract
  • Making red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body
  • Making sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands
  • Cell growth and division

Food Sources

Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, can be found in a variety of food sources. Here are some common dietary sources of vitamin B5:

  • Animal products: Animal-based foods tend to be rich in vitamin B5. Good sources include organ meats (such as liver and kidney), beef, chicken, turkey, pork, fish (such as salmon and tuna), and eggs.
  • Dairy products: Milk and dairy products like yogurt and cheese contain vitamin B5. Opt for low-fat or skim options if you are watching your fat intake.
  • Legumes: Legumes, including lentils, chickpeas, and peas, are excellent sources of vitamin B5. They also provide other beneficial nutrients like fiber and protein.
  • Whole grains: Whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and whole wheat pasta contain vitamin B5. These foods also provide dietary fiber and other essential nutrients.
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds, such as sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, and walnuts, are good sources of vitamin B5. They are also rich in healthy fats, protein, and other vitamins and minerals.
  • Vegetables: Some vegetables contain vitamin B5, although in smaller amounts compared to other food sources. Broccoli, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, avocados, and tomatoes are examples of vegetables that provide vitamin B5.
  • Fortified foods: Certain foods are fortified with vitamin B5 to increase their nutritional content. Check food labels for products like breakfast cereals, energy bars, and nutritional supplements that have added pantothenic acid.

It’s important to note that vitamin B5 is sensitive to heat, light, and processing. To preserve the vitamin content, it’s best to consume foods in their natural or minimally processed form. Additionally, a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods can help ensure adequate intake of vitamin B5 and other essential nutrients.

How much vitamin B5 should you get?

The recommended daily intake of vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, varies depending on age, sex, and life stage. The values provided here are general guidelines, but it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin B5 in adults is as follows:

  • Adult men and women (aged 19 years and older): 5 mg per day

During pregnancy and lactation, the requirements for vitamin B5 increase slightly to support the needs of the developing fetus and breastfeeding. The recommended intakes during these periods are as follows:

  • Pregnant women: 6 mg per day
  • Lactating women: 7 mg per day

It’s worth noting that the Adequate Intake (AI) values are also sometimes used when there is insufficient scientific evidence to establish an RDA. For vitamin B5, the AI values for infants and children are as follows:

  • Infants (0-6 months): 1.7 mg per day
  • Infants (7-12 months): 1.8 mg per day
  • Children (1-3 years): 2 mg per day
  • Children (4-8 years): 3 mg per day
  • Children (9-13 years): 4 mg per day
  • Adolescents (14-18 years): 5 mg per day

It’s important to note that deficiencies of vitamin B5 are relatively rare in individuals with a balanced diet. However, specific health conditions or factors may require higher amounts of vitamin B5, and in such cases, a healthcare professional may recommend supplementation.


Vitamin B5 deficiency, also known as pantothenic acid deficiency, is relatively rare because the vitamin is found in a wide range of foods, and it is required in small amounts. However, certain conditions or factors can increase the risk of deficiency. Here are some key points about vitamin B5 deficiency:


  • Inadequate intake: A diet that is consistently low in foods containing vitamin B5 can lead to deficiency. This is more likely to occur in individuals who have a very limited or highly processed diet.
  • Malabsorption disorders: Certain medical conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and chronic diarrhea, can interfere with the absorption of nutrients, including vitamin B5.
  • Alcoholism: Chronic alcohol abuse can impair the absorption and utilization of vitamin B5, leading to deficiency.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as certain antibiotics, can interfere with the absorption or metabolism of vitamin B5 and contribute to deficiency.


  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet (paresthesia)
  • Headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Digestive issues, such as abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting
  • Difficulty in maintaining proper blood sugar levels
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Mood changes, such as irritability or depression

It’s important to note that vitamin B5 deficiency symptoms may overlap with symptoms of other nutrient deficiencies or underlying health conditions. A healthcare professional can help diagnose and determine the cause of such symptoms through medical evaluation, including blood tests.

Treatment and Prevention

The treatment and prevention of vitamin B5 deficiency typically involve dietary changes and, in severe cases, supplementation. Increasing the intake of foods rich in vitamin B5, such as organ meats, poultry, fish, legumes, whole grains, and nuts, can help prevent deficiency.

Supplementation with vitamin B5 may be recommended in cases where deficiencies are diagnosed, or when certain medical conditions or lifestyle factors increase the risk of deficiency. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on the appropriate dosage and duration of supplementation.

Overall, maintaining a balanced and varied diet that includes sources of vitamin B5 is the best way to prevent deficiency and ensure adequate intake of this important nutrient.

Cosmetic uses of B5

Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is commonly used in cosmetic and skincare products due to its potential benefits for the skin. Here are some of the cosmetic uses of vitamin B5:

  • Moisturization: Vitamin B5 has humectant properties, which means it helps attract and retain moisture in the skin. It can help improve skin hydration and prevent dryness, making it a popular ingredient in moisturizers, serums, and creams.
  • Skin barrier support: Vitamin B5 plays a role in maintaining a healthy skin barrier. It helps strengthen the outer layer of the skin, which can enhance its ability to retain moisture and protect against external irritants. Products containing vitamin B5 may be used to support the skin’s natural protective barrier.
  • Skin healing and regeneration: Vitamin B5 is believed to aid in the healing process of the skin. It may help promote the regeneration of skin cells and support wound healing. This property makes it useful in products intended for soothing and repairing damaged or irritated skin.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects: Vitamin B5 has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce redness, irritation, and inflammation in the skin. It may be beneficial for individuals with sensitive or reactive skin conditions.
  • Anti-aging effects: Some studies suggest that vitamin B5 may have anti-aging effects on the skin. It may help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as promote a more youthful and plump complexion. It is often included in anti-aging skincare formulations.

Vitamin B5 can be found in various cosmetic products, such as moisturizers, serums, masks, cleansers, and even hair care products. It is generally considered safe for topical use, although individuals with specific skin sensitivities should always check the product ingredients and consult with a dermatologist if needed.

It’s important to note that while vitamin B5 can provide certain benefits for the skin, it is often used in combination with other beneficial ingredients to maximize the effectiveness of skincare products.


Overall, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is a vital nutrient that is involved in numerous physiological processes in the body. It is essential for energy production, metabolism of macronutrients, and the synthesis of various compounds necessary for the body’s proper functioning.

It’s important to note that while vitamin B5 can provide benefits, it is typically used in combination with other nutrients and as part of a balanced diet or skincare regimen. Consulting with a healthcare professional or dermatologist can provide personalized guidance on the appropriate use of vitamin B5 for specific health concerns or skincare needs.