Diet & Exercise: Essential nutrients: Vitamin B5
Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid and calcium pantothenate, is necessary to all forms of life.
In fact, its name originated from the Greek word “pantos,” which means everywhere. Vitamin B5 acts as a synthesizer of crucial components to the human body.
It’s essential for the formation of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, amino acids and antibiotics.
Here are a few other benefits of vitamin B5:
• It promotes heart health. B5 helps regulate blood cholesterol levels, helps maintain normal blood pressure, and keeps the heart working right.
• Strengthening the immune system is another one of vitamin B5’s jobs. It is needed to intensify a healthy white blood count and immune system to fight infections and disease.
• Along with other B vitamins, pantothenic acid helps develop and maintain healthy skin, hair and eyes.
• This vitamin is needed by the body to build red blood cells. Pantothenic acid also, assists in production of sex-related hormones found in the adrenal glands. B5 has even been shown to relieve stress levels, because of its effects on the adrenals, and assists with the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. It is also necessary for the formation of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, amino acids and antibiotics.
• Pantothenic acid helps keep the digestive tract healthy due to the fact it helps synthesize cholesterol. Cholesterol synthesis and absorption both determine plasma LDL (bad) cholesterol concentrations. In fact, studies show vitamin B5 can help reduce triglyceride levels in the blood while lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and raising HDL (good) cholesterol blood levels.
• Vitamin B5 helps build stamina by setting the body’s metabolic rate. It’s necessary to break down proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates for energy. Therefore, both athletes and active individuals can benefit from pantothenic acid.
The daily recommended allowance for vitamin B5 is 6 months: 1.7mg, 7 months-1 year: 1.8mg, 1-3 years: 2mg, 4-8 years: 3mg, 9-13 years: 4mg, 14-18 years: 5mg, 19-plus: 5mg, expecting women: 6mg, and lactating mothers: 7mg.
As with all B vitamins, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) should be taken in a complex, or together with all the other B vitamins.
Deficiency symptoms include burning foot syndrome, in which the individual experiences lack of feeling in their feet, followed by burning and aching. Other signs include fatigue, weakness, anemia, insomnia, vomiting, muscle contraction and skin problems.
However, vitamin B5 deficiencies are rare. Most folks don’t need to take a pantothenic supplement because vitamin B5 is abundant in many foods.
Rich sources include eggs, milk products, fish, lean beef, legumes, lentils, yeast, whole grain cereals, turkey, chicken, white and sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, cauliflower, avocados, broccoli, collard greens and cabbage.
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David Crocker, of Landrum, has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 30 years.