Vitamin B5, also known as the pantothenic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin belonging to the b complexes. The name pantothenic acid is derived from the Greek work ‘’pantos’’ meaning everywhere, hence, describes its presence in all cells and virtually in all dietary sources. Vitamin B5 have been shown to help in the extraction of energy from the organic macromolecules present in foods; the carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This energy is needed to drive other metabolic activities. Firstly, they play a role in the catalytic breakdown of these complex molecules into the usable units or end products thus; glucose from carbohydrate breakdown, fatty acids from lipids and amino acids from proteins.
Additionally, Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, is needed to synthesize coenzyme-A. CoA is important in energy metabolism, hence drives the entry of pyruvate into the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle) as acetyl-CoA, as well as the transformation of α-ketoglutarate to succinyl-CoA in the cycle. This is essential for energy metabolism and biosynthesis of many needed substances such as cholesterol and acetylcholine. Cholesterol, for example, is needed in almost all cell walls. Again, this coenzyme-A is required for both acylation and acetylation processes. These processes are important in signal transduction, enzyme activation and deactivation.
In foods, most pantothenic acid occurs as CoA or acyl carrier protein (ACP). This CoA has to be converted into the free pantothenic acid for intestinal absorption. In the lumen of the intestine, CoA and ACP are first hydrolyzed into 4′-phosphopantetheine. This chemical compound is then dephosphorylated into pantetheine. Finally, the Pantetheine is hydrolyzed by an intestinal enzyme, pantetheine, into free pantothenic acid. This Free pantothenic acid is absorbed into intestinal cells through a sodium-dependent active transport system.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) plays a vital role in a variety of different functions which is necessary for maintaining good health. Some of which include:
1. Helps in quick metabolism of food for quick energy supply
Of all the different vitamins required for metabolism, Vitamin B5 proves to be one of the most important. Due to the fact that Vitamin B5 helps the body to break down the protein, fat and carbohydrates present in most of the diets, the body cells convert complex molecule into chemical energy more quickly which helps keep the body energized. This is very important for maintaining a healthy weight and can also give you the energy you need to exercise.
2. Helps Maintain Clear, Healthy Skin
Studies have shown that vitamin B5 is one of the supplements that help the body maintain healthy skin. It helps keep the skin balanced and smooth in appearance. Further analysis has proven vitamin B5 to be potent in the treatment of acne. However, vitamin B5 have been incorporated in formulations; creams, lotions for use on the skin.
3. Helps Regulate the Nervous System
Enough vitamins B5 in diets helps has proven important in the regulation of the nervous system. Hence, vitamin B5 has been shown to be vital in the treatment of symptoms such as fatigue and even stress. It plays a very important role in the maintenance of body’s nervous coordination. Vitamin B5 in supplements have may improve oxygen utilization efficiency and reduce lactic acid accumulation in athletes.
As stated earlier, pantothenic acid is present in a wide variety of foods. However, most times it is lost during food processing. This explains why it is more in fresh meats, vegetables, and whole unprocessed grains than in the refined, canned, and frozen food. The best dietary sources of vitamin B5 are brewer’s yeast, corn, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, legumes, lentils, egg yolks, beef (especially meats from organs such as liver and kidney), turkey, chicken, duck, milk, split peas, peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, whole-grain breads and cereals, lobster, salmon, and wheat germ.
Besides the natural food sources, pantothenic acid can also be found in multivitamins as supplements. Commercially, they can be marketed in a variety of forms including tablets, soft gels, and capsules. In these forms they may be available as calcium pantothenate or even as pantothenic acid. Studies have shown that daily consumption of at least 5 milligrams of vitamin B5 for both men and women is ideal for good health.
Due to availability in a large variety of foods, vitamin B5 deficiency is relatively rare. However, in extreme cases, symptoms have been shown to include fatigue, insomnia, depression, irritability, vomiting, stomach pains, burning feet, and upper respiratory infections. Studies have shown that therapeutic uses of vitamin B5 may result to allergies, arthritis and hypoglycemia.