Vitamin B5 is one of the most important vitamins for human life. It’s necessary for making blood cells and helps you convert the food you eat to energy. It’s got other uses too. Read on to find out what they are.
Vitamin B5 is one of eight B vitamins. All B vitamins help you convert the protein, carbohydrates and fats you eat into energy. They're also needed for healthy skin, hair, and eyes, and help the nervous system and liver work properly.
Vitamin B5 has other important functions, too. It helps you maintain a healthy digestive tract and is critical in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. It's also needed to make sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands.
Vitamin B5 is the easiest vitamin to get in your diet. It’s found in most vegetables — especially broccoli and members of the cabbage family — plus white and sweet potatoes and whole-grain cereals.
Other good sources include:
- dairy products
All B vitamins are water-soluble, which means your body can’t store them. The best way to make sure you're getting enough vitamin B5 is to eat a healthy, balanced diet every day.
As with most nutrients, the recommended intake of vitamin B5 varies by age.
|Recommended Daily Intake|
|Infants 6 months and younger||1.7mg|
|Infants 7 to 12 months||1.8mg|
|14yrs or older||5mg|
|Pregnant/ Breast Feeding Women||7mg|
It’s very rare to have a vitamin B5 deficiency. According to Mayo Clinic, it’s unlikely to cause any medical problems. Generally, only people who are malnourished will have a B5 deficiency.
- impaired muscle coordination
- gastrointestinal problems
Symptoms generally go away once the vitamin B5 deficiency is rectified.
People take vitamin B5 supplements and derivatives to help with a range of conditions. These include:
- leg cramps
- low blood sugar
- low blood pressure
- diabetic nerve pain
- rheumatoid arthritis
- Parkinson's disease
- wound healing
Both the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) say there is little evidence that vitamin B5 helps most of the conditions it's taken for. There is some early evidence that doses of B5 could help treat ADHD and rheumatoid arthritis, but more scientific study is needed to determine its effectiveness.
However, it can help clear up skin problems. One study found that a cream containing panthenol — a form of B5 — along with vitamin B3 could improve women’s skin tone and texture. It can also prevent side effects like dry skin and rashes when it’s added to acne creams and medications.
Dexpanthenol, a chemical made from B5, is used in creams and lotions designed to moisturize the skin and reduce the discomfort of insect stings and rashes. It's also used to prevent and treat skin reactions from radiation therapy.
Some even claim that vitamin B5 supplements can reduce or eliminate gray hair. One study found that it could help fight the effects of thinning hair (but won’t make your hair grow back).
It may have a future in lowering cholesterol. Another chemical made from B5, pantethine, is being studied to see if it helps lower cholesterol levels. One study found that taking daily doses of it for up to 16 weeks can lower LDL-C, or “bad” cholesterol and help lower the risk of coronary heart disease. According to NYU Langone Medical Center, evidence from some medical trials did indicate pantethine might lower blood triglycerides too.
As long as you eat a balanced and relatively healthy diet that incorporates a variety of foods, it’s unlikely you’ll ever suffer from vitamin B5 deficiency or need to use supplements.