Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten
australiaphen375.com

Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid is not a name that springs readily to mind when you think about vitamins. It is though essential for life and part of the vitamin B complex. Because of its role in skin protection you're more likely to see it in cosmetics than on the shelf of the health store. But it is a vital stress fighter, essential for energy and plays a key role in your defences against infection.

Pantothenic acid is a water soluble member of the vitamin B complex and apart from fats and sugars is present in almost all foods, which is why its name derives from the Greek 'panthos' which means 'everywhere'. It used to be known as vitamin B3 but is called vitamin B5 in America Because it's so widely distributed, gross deficiency is rare in humans unless there is some underlying factor which prevents or reduces absorption of this nutrient. Cooking and food processing results in some losses and excessive amounts of alcohol, tea or coffee can all interfere with your uptake. Antibiotics, serious injury or prolonged periods of stress all create an increased demand for this vitamin.

Because pantothenic acid isn't stored in the body but is found in every single cell, it takes around 12 weeks for tissue levels to fall below the required amount. This is even more likely if the diet consists of badly treated foods which may contain less than the expected amount of this nutrient. It leaches out of vegetables into cooking water so unless you use the water you lose the pantothenic acid. Acids like wine and vinegar or alkalis like bicarbonate of soda also cause damage and around a third of pantothenic acid is lost when cooking meat. Up to three quarters disappears during canning but freezing appears to have little harmful effect.

Pantothenic acid forms a part of coenzymes which are essential for the process which releases energy from the food you eat, which in turn is used to create chemical constituents that are essential for life. This vitamin is also part of the whole process of metabolism and if you're intake falls below the required amount you're likely to develop signs of restlessness, fatigue, irritability, mood changes, headaches, stomach pain and the condition known as 'burning feet syndrome'.

Early animal studies showed that deficiency of this nutrient caused hair to turn grey and fall out leaving patches of alopecia. For this reason it has been widely used in a variety of hair preparations, even though there is no scientific evidence that it is of any benefit to human hair.

One of the major functions of pantothenic acid is that it helps the body produce anti-stress hormones so helps you stay calm in stressful situations. Excessive stress causes greater demands for this hormone, uses larger amounts of pantothenic acid and may therefore cause deficiency. It's also important for normal growth and as part of maintaining overall immunity to infection. It's not common for deficiency of this vitamin to occur in isolation which is why I would always advise a B complex supplement as other B vitamins are also likely to be missing. Supplements of pantothenic acid on its own are probably best taken with professional advice only.

The RDA is 6 mg daily

BEST SOURCES

Dried Brewer;s Yeast
This inexpensive and nutritionally valuable powder can be added to breakfast cereals, fruit or milk drinks, and your favourite bread recipe.
9.5 mg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 30% from average 30 g portion
Pantothenic acid score: 3/10

Calves Liver
8.8 mg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 220% from average 150 g portion
Pantothenic acid score: 10/10

Peanuts
2.7 mg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 22% from average 50 g portion
Pantothenic acid score: 2/10

Steak
1 mg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 28% from average 170 g portion
Pantothenic acid score: 3/10

Tofu
2.1 mg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 60% from average 170 g portion
Pantothenic acid score: 6/10

Fresh Salmon
1.8 mg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 51% from average 170 g portion
Pantothenic acid score: 5/10

Taramasalata
2.6 mg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 47% from average 110 g portion
Pantothenic acid score: 5/10

Avocado
1.1 mg / 100 g
Percentage of daily requirement: 26% from average 150 g portion
Pantothenic acid score: 3/10

 

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