Vitamin B5, pantothenic acid, as is often called, is a member of the family of B-complex vitamins, a necessary factor for the growth of many types of organisms.
In its metabolic active form, vitamin B5 is combined with another small, sulfur-containing molecule to form coenzyme A. This transformation allows vitamin B5 to participate in a wide range of chemical reactions.
Functions of Vitamin B5
- Release of energy from carbohydrates and fats - when it is in the form of coenzyme A, Vitamin B5 plays a major role in helping release energy from sugars, starches and fats. The majority of this energy appears in places that allow it to produce energy in your cells, namely mitochondria.
- Production of fat - A coenzyme form of vitamin B5 is equally as important for the creation of fat. The two main types of fat - fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis are required for coenzyme A. A molecule that is constantly engaged in the supply of chemical messages within cells, also requires vitamin B5 for its synthesis.
- Changes the shape and function of proteins - sometimes it is important for the body to make small chemical changes in the form of cellular proteins. For example, if a cell does not want its proteins to be chemically broken down into other substances, it can change their structure in order to prevent chemical breakdowns. One way for cells to accomplish this task is by adding a special chemical group called acetyl to the protein. Vitamin B5, in the form of coenzyme A, may be used to support the acetyl proteins, thereby protecting them from chemical breakdown.
Deficiency of Vitamin B5
Since vitamin B5 is required for the release of energy from carbohydrates and fats, its deficiency is often associated with symptoms of deficiency of energy. These symptoms include fatigue, listlessness and feeling of weakness. A rare symptom of B5 deficiency is called "burning feet syndrome". This condition is characterized by numbness, tingling and pain in the legs. While other vitamins (such as vitamin B1 and vitamin B3) help reduce the symptoms of burning feet syndrome, B5 is needed to put an end to the burning sensations.
Vitamin B5 is relatively unstable in food and large quantities of this vitamin can be lost through cooking, freezing and processing. For example, a study of frozen foods, shows a loss of 21-70% for vitamin B5 in animal products (such as meats) and similar losses for processed grains and canned vegetables. Fruits and fruit juices lose 7-50% of their vitamin B5 during processing and packaging.
Vitamin B12, folate and biotin are necessary for the proper use of vitamin B5 in the body's biochemical pathways. In addition, vitamin C is needed to prevent a deficiency of B5.
Sources of Vitamin B5
Excellent sources of vitamin B5 are mushrooms and cauliflower. Good sources of this vitamin are kind: broccoli, beef liver, turnips, sunflowers, tomatoes, strawberries, yogurt, eggs, winter squash and corn.
Vitamin B5 can play an important role in the prevention and / or treatment of the following diseases: adrenal insufficiency syndrome, burning feet, cataracts, chronic fatigue, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and others.
Pantothenic acid is a common form of vitamin B5 available as dietary supplements. More expensive forms called pantethines are also available. This form of vitamin B5 is associated with the addition of a small molecule containing sulfur (called cisteamine) to pantethine acid.