Pantothenate (Vitamin B5)
Pantothenate is essential as a component of coenzyme A (CoA), which is required to generate ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from food and to make cholesterol, fats and steroid hormones, acyl carrier protein, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and the manufacture of heme for hemoglobin. It also has a role in DNA replication and transcription of messenger RNA.
The acyl-carrier protein requires pantothenate and is essential for making fatty acids, and myelin sheaths important in nerve conduction and the phospholipids of all cell membranes. While little known, this nutrient is essential for life.
Pantothenate has been shown to help wound healing and seems to have a cholesterol lowering effect.
SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY
Deficiency is very rare as this vitamin is present in many foods. Initial symptoms, usually associated with malnutrition, include feeling tired and listless. There can be numbness and tingling in the feet or even a burning sensation. Headache, fatigue, and insomnia have been reported as well. If you have any of these symptoms but yet have a good diet, I doubt it is due to pantothenate deficiency. However, if you have also been found (perhaps by micronutrient testing) to be deficient, then supplementing this nutrient might be in order.
The highest amounts are found in avocados, dairy, chicken, sweet potatoes, eggs, legumes, mushrooms, and broccoli. There is some in sea food and meat, seeds, wheat germ, whole grains, yeast, nuts, vegetables, and supplements. It seems that our intestinal bacteria also produce pantothenate.
SAFETY AND TOXICITY
The usual daily dose needed for optimal function is 5 mg a day. It is known to be well tolerated up to 20 times that dose, and even at doses up to 1200 mg daily.