Pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5, is a water-soluble vitamin involved in the Kreb's cycle of energy production and is needed to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is also essential in producing, transporting, and releasing energy from fats. Synthesis of cholesterol (needed to manufacture vitamin D and steroid hormones) depends on pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid also activates the adrenal glands.1 Pantethine—a byproduct of pantothenic acid—has been reported to lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
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3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
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1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
300 mg pantethine taken two to four times per day
Pantethine, a byproduct of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), may help reduce the amount of cholesterol made by the body.
Pantethine, a byproduct of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), may help reduce the amount of cholesterol made by the body. Several preliminary and several controlled trials have found that pantethine (300 mg taken two to four times per day) significantly lowers serum cholesterol levels and may also increase HDL.However, a double-blind trial in people whose high blood cholesterol did not change with diet and drug therapy, found that pantethine was also not effective. Common pantothenic acid has not been reported to have any effect on high blood cholesterol.
300 mg pantethine three times per day
Pantethine, a byproduct of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), has been shown to lower triglyceride levels in several clinical trials.
Pantethine is a byproduct of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). Several clinical trials have shown that 300 mg of pantethine taken three times per day will lower TG levels. Pantothenic acid, which is found in most B vitamins, does not have this effect.
2,000 mg daily
People with rheumatoid arthritis may be partially deficient in pantothenic acid. In one trial, taking pantothenic acid resulted in less morning stiffness, disability, and pain.
Research suggests that people with RA may be partially deficient in pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). In one placebo-controlled trial, those with RA had less morning stiffness, disability, and pain when they took 2,000 mg of pantothenic acid per day for two months.
Refer to label instructions
In a preliminary trial, taking panthothenic acid supplements and applying a topical cream improved moderate acne in two months and severe acne within six months.
In a preliminary trial, people with acne were given 2.5 grams of pantothenic acid orally four times per day, for a total of 10 grams per day—a remarkably high amount. A cream containing 20% pantothenic acid was also applied topically four to six times per day. With moderate acne, near-complete relief was seen within two months, while severe conditions took at least six months to respond. Eventually, the intake of pantothenic acid was reduced to 1 to 5 grams per day—still a very high amount.
How It Works
How to Use It
Most people do not need to supplement with pantothenic acid. However, the 10–25 mg found in many multivitamin supplements might improve pantothenic acid status. So-called primitive human diets provided greater amounts of this nutrient than is found in modern diets. Most cholesterol researchers using pantethine have given people 300 mg three times per day (total 900 mg).
Where to Find It
Liver, yeast, and salmon have high concentrations of pantothenic acid, but most other foods, including vegetables, dairy, eggs, grains, and meat, also provide some pantothenic acid.
Pantothenic acid deficiencies may occur in people with alcoholism but are generally believed to be rare.
Best Form to Take
Calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5) is the most commonly used form of supplemental pantothenic acid for oral administration. Dexpanthenol (also called D-pantothenyl alcohol or D-panthenol) is the most commonly used injectable form of pantothenic acid. There has been no research comparing the effectiveness of these different forms of vitamin B5.2
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
There is one report of a 76-year-old woman who developed a life-threatening condition (eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion) while taking 300 mg of pantothenic acid per day and 10 mg of biotin per day.3 However, it is not clear whether the vitamins caused the problem.
Interactions with Medicines
No serious side effects have been reported, even at intakes of up to 10,000 mg (10 grams) per day. Very large amounts of pantothenic acid (several grams per day) can cause diarrhea.
1. Fidanza A. Therapeutic action of pantothenic acid. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1983;suppl 24:53-67 [review].
2. Gaby, AR. Nutritional Medicine. Concord, NH: Fritz Perlberg Publishing, 2011.
3. Debourdeau PM, Djezzar S, Estival JL, et al. Life-threatening eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion related to vitamins B5 and H. Ann Pharmacother 2001;35:424-6.
Last Review: 05-28-2015
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.
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