Posted by Judy Cheung-Wood on

Derived from the Greek word “Pantos”, meaning “ found everywhere”, Pantothenic Acid (also known as Vitamin B5) acquired its name in reference to its wide availability in foods.1 While deficiency of Vitamin B5 isn’t common, considerable amounts are lost through our modern food production methods. Milling and refining of grains, canning, freezing, cooking and other processing techniques cause a large amount of Vitamin B5 to be lost.1

The science behind Vitamin B5

Co-enzyme A (CoA) is the biologically active form of Pantothenic Acid, which is in involved in a number of essential metabolic roles, including the production of some hormones and neurotransmitters. CoA is also important for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which are energy-producing compounds. 2 The synthesis of cholesterol, bile salts, fatty acids and steroid hormones requires CoA, as does a variety of other chemical reactions that are essential to sustain life.3 A derivative of Pantothenic acid, Pantethine, has been reported to be effective at lowering elevated triglycerides and LDL cholesterol while raising the levels of the beneficial HDL cholesterol, improving abnormal lipid profiles. 4

Vitamin B5 for stress

Vitamin B5 is often used with other B vitamins to improve the body’s response to stress. (braun) It is necessary for adrenal function, and during periods of stress is required to restore adrenal nutrient level when it substantially decreases.5 Counteracting the stress response, vitamin B5 supports the adrenal glands in the making of cortisone and other adrenal hormones, assisting the body to cope during stressful times.6

Vitamin B5 and the Immune system

Working as our natural defence network, our immune system needs a boost so that it can effectively protect us from organisms that are we are exposed to daily. There are many reasons our immune system can be compromised and research has demonstrated that a deficiency of Vitamin B5 impairs immune system function and is, therefore, necessary for proper immune response and function.6

Vitamin B5 for Acne

Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder that can impact self-esteem and consequently affect emotional health. Contributing factors range from hormonal changes, inherited conditions, stress, nutritional deficiencies, but it is also likely to result from overactive oil glands.7 While oil is essential for lubricating, moisturizing and protecting the skin, when there is an increase in the fatty secretion of the sebaceous glands (sebum), the skin's cells have no choice but to expand to accommodate the changes. This leads to enlarged skin pores resulting in acne.8 In a study by Leung, it was shown that with the administration of Vitamin B5, this process may be reversed. By regulating lipid metabolism, a decrease in sebum excretion occurs, resulting in pore sizes becoming smaller, leaving the skin's appearance smooth.9 Further results from a study conducted in 2014, found that while reducing facial lesions, supplementation of a pantothenic- based dietary supplement showed that it is well tolerated, safe and showed no adverse effects no changes in serum blood chemistries. 10 1 Braun L and Cohen M. Herbs and Natural Supplements An Evidence Based Guide, 4th ed. Elsevier Mosby. pp. 1070-78. 2 GlobinMed Monographs. Global Information Hub on Integrated Medicine. 2011 3 Higdon, J. An Evidence Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals, Thieme. Pp 23-26 4 Gropper S and Smith J. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism 6th Ed. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Pp. 334-338 5 Pizzorno JE & Murray MT, Textbook Of Natural Medicine 4th Ed. Elsevier Churchill Livingstone. Pp. 552 6 Wisneski, M.D. The Professional Reference to Conditions, Herbs and Supplements. Integrative medicine communications Access 7 Balch P Balch J. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Avery. pp.125 8 Leung LH. Pantothenic acid deficiency as the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris; Med Hypotheses. 1995 Jun;44(6):490-2. 9 Leung, LH. Stone that Kills two Birds: How Pantothenic Acid Unveils the Mysteries of Acne Vulgaris and Obesity. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 12, No. 2, 1997 10 Yang, M et al. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of a Novel Pantothenic Acid-Based Dietary Supplement in Subjects with Mild to Moderate Facial Acne. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb) (2014) 4:93–101
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