Updated on September 23, 2020, 2:54 p.m.
Pantothenic acid, formerly also known as vitamin B5, is one of the most important vitamins for all metabolic processes. It is present in every cell in the body and keeps the body’s functions running. Read here which foods you can use to meet your needs.
Vitamin B5: function, need and deficiency
Function of vitamin B5
Vitamin B5 is now called pantothenic acid. It is water-soluble and belongs to the large group of B vitamins. The effect of vitamin B5 is noticeable in over 100 metabolic processes and reactions in the body. If we do not regularly take in vitamin B5 through food, all functions come to a standstill. Because the nutrient is important for, among other things
- Energy metabolism
- Formation of hormones and neurotransmitters
- Strengthening the adrenal glands
Vitamin B5 is also involved in all processes of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. As a component of coenzyme A, it ensures the conversion of nutrients into energy. It is also called the “anti-stress vitamin” as it is in stressful phases stimulates cortisol production in the adrenal gland.
Pantothenic acid is also used in cosmetics. Here it is primarily intended to help against blemished skin, pimples and acne. In high doses it can reduce the production of sebum and thereby improve the complexion. In combination with biotin, vitamin B5 should also strengthen the hair.
Daily requirement of vitamin B5
The daily dose of vitamin B5 recommended by the DGE (German Society for Nutrition) is around 6 mg. Pregnancy, a lot of stress, illness and injuries increase the daily vitamin B5 requirement. The dosage should be adjusted accordingly by consuming foods that contain vitamin B5 in particular. Overdosing has no known side effects.
Vitamin B5 deficiency
A deficiency is extremely rare, as vitamin B5 is contained in almost all animal and vegetable foods. However, there are certain risk factors that can lead to an undersupply. These include smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, constant stress, beverages containing caffeine, the use of medication or liver disease. A deficiency can cause the following symptoms:
- a headache
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Susceptibility to infection
- Inflammation of the mucous membranes
- itchy skin
- Hair loss or premature graying
- Gastrointestinal diseases
- Burning of feet and toes
Which foods contain a lot of vitamin B5?
The good news: With a balanced, healthy diet, the need for vitamin B5 is covered quickly. As a rule, there is no need to fear a deficiency, because pantothenic acid is found in almost all natural foods. However, heat is harmful to the vitamin, so the food should only be cooked gently or consumed raw. Here you can see which foods have a particularly high vitamin B5 content:
Plant foods with vitamin B5
Fruits, vegetables and grains offer a varied selection of vitamin B5 sources. Here you can freely help yourself, preferably raw or only lightly cooked:
- Whole grain cereals
- Sunflower seeds
- Sweet potato
- green peas
- Wheat germ
Animal foods with vitamin B5
Offal have a high vitamin B5 content, but fish and dairy products also provide sufficient supplies. In order not to lose too much vitamin B5, it is best to only briefly fry meat.
- lean pork
- lean beef
Which vitamin B5 supplements are there?
In general, an undersupply of vitamin B5 is unlikely. Nevertheless, there are various preparations to buy that contain high doses of vitamin B5 or as part of a vitamin B complex, which is used against nerve pain or adrenal fatigue, among other things. The preparations are offered as tablets, capsules, drops, ampoules, powders or as a solution for injection. However, it should only be taken after consulting a doctor. (ch)
- Münzing-Ruef, Ingeborg (2000): “Course book on healthy nutrition” (20th edition). Munich: Heyne.
- Vitamine.com: “Vitamin B5 – The all-round helper”
- Vitamine.com: “Vitamin B5 Food: A vitamin found almost everywhere “
- Consumer advice center: “Are vitamin B5 products useful or unnecessary?”
- Netdoktor: “Pantothenic acid”