Vitamin B5, otherwise known as Pantothenic Acid or the "anti-stress vitamin," plays a vital role within the body. It helps quickly metabolize food, regulate the nervous system, fatigue and stress and maintain clear, healthy skin.

It is such an effective hydrator of the skin that Vitamin B5, in the form of Panthenol, is employed in many skincare, anti-aging and beauty products.

Common vitamin B5 benefits and side effects are discussed in brief here and we’ll kick off with some important facts on vitamin B5. Firstly it’s a water-soluble vitamin, not able to be stored by the body, needing to be regularly replenished through the diet to avoid depletion and deficiency symptoms.
Vital Vitamin B5 Benefits Tips

Vitamin B5 deficiency is extremely rare. It is only seen in victims of starvation. Vitamin B5 deficiency can be reversed by supplementation.
Symptoms of vitamin B5 deficiency include:
elevated cholesterol
burning sensation and/or pain in arms, legs or feet
premature greying of hair loss
elevated heart rate
susceptibility to infection.

Where is vitamin B5 found?

Good sources of vitamin B5 are chicken, beef, potatoes, porridge, tomatoes, kidney, eggs, broccoli and wholegrains.
Breakfast cereals may be fortified with vitamin B5.
What are the effects of cooking on vitamin B5?
Vitamin B5 is mildly destroyed by exposure to heat.
When cooking, it is important to use fresh food, steam rather than boil and avoid overly long cooking times to preserve vitamins.
Do I need to take vitamin B5 supplement?
A balanced healthy diet should provide you with sufficient vitamin B5.
The Department of Health advises that if you do wish to take vitamin B5 supplements, take no more than 200mg a day.
What are the side effects and safety precautions of taking a vitamin B5 supplement?
Vitamin B5 supplements are deemed likely to be safe for most people when used at 5mg per day.
A larger dose of vitamin B5 may increase the risk of side effects, such as diarrhoea.
People with haemophilia are not advised to take vitamin B5 as it may take longer for bleeding to stop.
What happens if I take too much vitamin B5?
Vitamin B5 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that any excess vitamin is excreted in the urine.
However, it is not impossible to overdose on vitamin B5.
Excess vitamin B5 intake may lead to diarrhoea, heartburn, nausea, dehydration, oedema, joint pain, calcification in blood vessels and depression.

Symptoms of a vitamin B5 deficiency may include fatigue, insomnia, depression, irritability, vomiting, stomach pains, burning feet, and upper respiratory infections.
The richest vitamin B5 sources are yeast and organ meats (liver, kidney, heart, brain), but eggs, milk, vegetables, legumes and wholegrain cereals are more common sources.

Vitamin B5 is considered safe at doses equivalent to the daily intake, and at moderately higher doses. Very high doses may cause diarrhea and may potentially increase the risk of bleeding.

Effects of Vitamin B5

Abundant in many foods, vitamin B5 is also manufactured by intestinal bacteria. Vitamin B5 is important for the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and is required for extracting energy from food, building red blood cells and haemoglobin, the production of bile, the creation of lipids, steroid hormones, and neurotransmitters.

Vitamin B5 has an important role in the secretion of hormones, in particular cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’ produced in the adrenal glands, necessary for the functioning of almost every part of the body.

Deficiency or excess cortisol can lead to a variety of physical symptoms and disease states. Vitamin B5 is essential for proper functioning of the immune system.

Vitamin B5 Benefits and Side Effects

One of the more commonly known vitamin B5 benefits and side effects is the reference to it as the ‘anti-stress vitamin’ and is popularly taken as a supplement when feeling stressed. Vitamin B5 benefits and side effects also include enhancing the ability of the adrenal gland to produce the ‘stress hormone’, cortisol.

Vitamin B5 benefits and side effects also prove important for maintaining healthy skin, nerves, glands and muscles, and helps to maintain the digestive tract and fight allergies.

Some think vitamin B5 benefits and side effects may help fight hair graying. Creams and lotions contain pantothenic acid to reduce skin inflammation and speed the healing of wounds.

Vitamin B5 benefits stamina, helps with anxiety and depression, and increases omega-3 essential fatty acids in the body.

Vitamin B5 side effects also cover the relief of painful inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis, and can be effective as a gout remedy because it breaks down the excess uric acid which causes gout.

Vitamin B5 Deficiency

Factors that may increase Vitamin B5 deficiency include alcohol consumption, caffeine, allergies, stress, and too much processed food.

Vitamin B5 deficiency can lead to fatigue, muscular weakness and cramps, hypoglycemia, nausea, abdominal pains, neurological disorders like tingling hands, burning feet and numbness, headaches, insomnia, depression and personality changes.

Drug interactions

Please note:
Because of the potential for interactions, dietary supplements should not be taken with medication without first talking to an experienced healthcare provider.

Hydration: Panthenol is a natural humectant, making it a good hydrating ingredient. It provides the skin a soft and smooth appearance by penetrating into the lower skin layers for absorption by skin cells.

Foods with Vitamin B5

The best dietary food sources of vitamin B5 include meat, fish, chicken, vegetables, whole grain cereals, legumes, eggs and milk.
Other reasons why you may need more
A deficiency or abundance of a single B vitamin may cause problems in the metabolism of other B group vitamins.
There are some factors that increase your demand for more vitamin B5. These include excessive alcohol, coffee, stress, mercury exposure and ageing.

How much vitamin B5 we need?

Daily recommended intake of pantothenic acid for adults is 5 mg. Pregnant women and nursing mothers have a greater need for this vitamin (pregnant women – 6 mg, while breastfeeding around 7 mg).
Taking enough vitamin B5 can reduce stress, fatigue and depression, and infections.

Vitamin B5 Deficiency

Deficiency of this vitamin is very rare, because it is present in almost all foods. Symptoms include: vomiting, agitation, abdominal pain, muscle cramps, infection of the upper respiratory organs and more.

Quali-B logo

Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid, belongs to the group of water-soluble B vitamins. Its name originates from the Greek word pantos, meaning ‘everywhere’, because it’s found in all living cells.

The richest vitamin B5 sources are yeast and organ meats (liver, kidney, heart, brain); although eggs, milk, vegetables, legumes and wholegrain cereals are more common sources.

Key benefits
Health functions
An adequate supply of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is important as it helps the body to:

• Convert food into glucose, used to produce energy
• Break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins for       energy generation
• Synthesize cholesterol cholesterol
• Form red blood cells, as well as sex and stress-related hormones.

Milk being poured into a glass 

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which provides scientific advice to assist policy makers, has confirmed that clear health benefits have been established for the dietary intake of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) in contributing to:

Normal energy-yielding metabolism

Normal mental performance
Normal synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin D and some neurotransmitters
The reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Since vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) occurs to some extent in all foods, it’s generally assumed that deficiency is extremely rare. The truth is it probably happens in conjunction with deficiencies in other B vitamins.

Provitamin B5: The Hydrator

Provitamin B5 is commonly billed in personal care products as dexpanthenol, d-panthenol or dl-panthenol and is most noted for its ability to function as a humectant--a water-binding substance that attracts and retains water. 
As a humectant, provitamin B5 stabilizes the skin barrier function, reducing the amount of water lost through the skin. By applying a provitamin B5 formulation to the skin, you will not only increase its hydration but improve its softness and elasticity, making provitamin B5 ideal for the treatment of dry, scaly or rough skin.

 Metabolize Food Quickly

There are a number of different vitamins that can help your metabolism. Vitamin B5 is one of the most important. Vitamin B5 helps your body to break down the protein, fat and carbohydrates present in most of the food that you eat. As a result, your body can turn food into energy more quickly and keep you energized. This is very important for maintaining a healthy weight and can also give you the energy you need to exercise.

 Maintain Clear, Healthy Skin

Studies have suggested that vitamin B5 is one of the supplements that helps your body maintain healthy skin. It helps keep your skin balanced and looking its best. Some tests have indicated that vitamin B5 is actually great for treating acne. Because of this, vitamin B5 is something you might want to try if you have issues with your skin.

 Nervous System

Getting enough vitamin B5 helps to regulate your nervous system. As a result, B5 is seen as a vitamin that can help to treat symptoms like fatigue and even stress. It plays a very important role in the maintenance of your body's nerves.

Supply Situation
National nutrition surveys have shown that the estimated daily intakes of vitamin B5 in most people meet the recommendations.


Since vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) occurs to some extent in all foods, it is generally assumed that deficiency is extremely rare. However, pantothenic acid deficiency in humans is not well documented and probably does not occur in isolation but in conjunction with deficiencies of other B vitamins.

Vitamin B5: Recommended Daily Intake

The recommended RDI for vitamin B5 is displayed in the table below.

Age group Age RDI
Infants 0-6 months 1.7 mg
Infants 7-12 months 1.8 mg
Children 1-3 years 2 mg
Children 4-8 years 3 mg
Children 9-13 years 4 mg
Adult men and women 14+ years 5 mg
Pregnant women (vs. 5) 6 mg
Breastfeeding women (vs. 5) 7 mg
Deficiency of vitamin B5 is rare and medical study has been minimal. All cases of deficiency are reversible with the reintroduction of pantothenic acid to the diet. Deficiency symptoms are similar to other B vitamins and include apathy, fatigue, paresthesia, muscle cramps, hypoglycemia, and increased sensitivity to insulin.

Vitamin B5 Side Effects and Dosage

Recommended dietary allowance (minimum daily dose to ward off serious deficiency) dosage to avoid vitamin B5 deficiency is about 4 to 7 mg, although up to 500 mg is commonly used in vitamin supplements.

Not toxic in high doses, but vitamin B5 side effects may include water retention, diarrhea and digestive problems, and sensitive teeth.

Foods That Contain Vitamin B5

Here are examples of where to find foods that contain vitamin b5:

Animal foods that contain vitamin b5 : Organ meats such as liver, heart and kidney, pork, beef, brewer’s yeast, fish, egg yolk, poultry.

Plant vitamin B5 food sources : Wholegrain products, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, nuts, legumes, whole/enriched cereal, mushrooms, oranges, strawberries.

If we do not include these foods in our diet we could then miss out on these vitamin B5 benefits and side effects.

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