Anti Aging Today

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

In 1958, biochemists Roger J. Williams and Richard Pelton fed large amounts of vitamin B5 to male and female mice. They found that the treated mice lived an average of 19% longer than controls. A previous study had found that B5 increased the lifespan of fruit flies. The major biochemical role of vitamin B5 appears to be as a constituent of coenzyme A, which is involved in many chemical reactions essential to life, including the detoxification of many dangerous substances. When high doses of vitamin B5 were given to rats they were able to survive in cold water twice as long as controls. Similar results have been found in humans.

Pantothenic acid (PA), a B-complex vitamin, is essential for humans and animals for growth, reproduction, and normal physiological functions. It is a precursor of the coenzymes, CoA and acyl carrier protein of fatty acid synthase, which are involved in more than 100 different metabolic pathways including energy metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, and the synthesis of lipids, neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, porphyrins and hemoglobin.

Deficiencies: Pantothenic acid deficiency has been induced in animals when fed natural feedstuffs containing low levels of pantothenic acid. Deficient animals had growth retardation with reduced food intake, functional impairments in all systems and sudden death. Pantothenic acid deficiency has also been induced in humans by use of a metabolic antagonist, w-methyl pantothenic acid along with a pantothenic acid-deficient diet. Signs and symptoms reported include depression, personality changes, cardiac instability, frequent infection, fatigue, abdominal pains, sleep disturbances and neurological disorders including numbness, paresthesia (abnormal sensation such as "burning feet" syndrome), muscle weakness and cramps. Biochemical changes include increased insulin sensitivity, lowered blood cholesterol, decreased serum potassium, and failure of adrenocorticotropin to induce eosinopenia.

Recommendations: The Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intakes of pantothenic acid are: 2 mg for infants 0-0.5 yr; 3 mg for children 0.5-3 yrs; 3-4 mg for children 4-6 yrs; 4-5 mg for children 7-10 yrs; 4-7 mg for children 11+ yrs and adults. The average American diet provides 2-3 mg pantothenic acid/1000 kcal or 4-6 mg pantothenic acid/2000 kcal, which is within the range of the suggested intake.

Food sources: Pantothenic acid is found in many foodstuffs. Good sources of the vitamin (>1 mg/ serving) include organ meats, lobsters, poultry, soybeans, lentils, split peas, yogurt, eggnog, avocado, mushroom, sweet potato. Pantothenic acid loss during processing is significant, as it is stable in neutral solution but is readily destroyed by heat in either alkali or acid.

Toxicity: In humans, the only reported symptom after intakes of 10 to 20 g calcium pantothenic acid was diarrhea.

Recent research: A pantothenic acid derivative, pantethine (two molecules of pantetheine joined by a disulfide bond), has been reported to have a hypocholesterolemic effect. A metabolic antagonist of pantothenic acid, pantoyl g-amino butyric acid (called pantoyl-GABA, homopantothenate, or hopantothenate), is widely used in Japan as an antidementia drug for treating cognitive impairments in pathological states such as Alzheimer's disease, presumably through increasing cholinergic activity in vivo. Reyes-like syndrome has been reported in patients using pantoyl-GABA, presumably due to pantothenic acid deficiency. Other recent studies have shown that uptake and metabolism of pantothenic acid seem to differ among organs and tissues. Fetal growth retardation and death reported in pantothenic acid deficient animals are due to impaired placental function.

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