What is it?
Vitamin B5 is commercially available as D-pantothenic acid, as well as dexpanthenol and calcium pantothenate, which are chemicals made in the lab from D-pantothenic acid.
Pantothenic acid is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex formulations. Vitamin B complex generally includes vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin/niacinamide), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), and folic acid. However, some products do not contain all of these ingredients and some may include others, such as biotin, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), choline bitartrate, and inositol.
Pantothenic acid has a long list of uses, although there isn't enough scientific evidence to determine whether it is effective for most of these uses. People take pantothenic acid for treating dietary deficiencies, acne, alcoholism, allergies, baldness, asthma, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, burning feet syndrome, yeast infections, heart failure, carpal tunnel syndrome, respiratory disorders, celiac disease, colitis, conjunctivitis, convulsions, and cystitis. It is also taken by mouth for dandruff, depression, diabetic nerve pain, enhancing immune function, improving athletic performance, tongue infections, gray hair, headache, hyperactivity, low blood sugar, trouble sleeping (insomnia), irritability, low blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, muscular cramps in the legs associated with pregnancy or alcoholism, neuralgia, and obesity.
Pantothenic acid is also used orally for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's disease, nerve pain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), enlarged prostate, protection against mental and physical stress and anxiety, reducing adverse effects of thyroid therapy in congenital hypothyroidism, reducing signs of aging, reducing susceptibility to colds and other infections, retarded growth, shingles, skin disorders, stimulating adrenal glands, chronic fatigue syndrome, salicylate toxicity, streptomycin neurotoxicity, dizziness, and wound healing.
People apply dexpanthenol, which is made from pantothenic acid, to the skin for itching, promoting healing of mild eczemas and other skin conditions, insect stings, bites, poison ivy, diaper rash, and acne. It is also applied topically for preventing and treating skin reactions to radiation therapy.
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for PANTOTHENIC ACID (VITAMIN B5) are as follows:
- Pantothenic acid deficiency. Taking pantothenic acid by mouth prevents and treats pantothenic acid deficiency.
Possibly ineffective for...
- Skin reactions from radiation therapy. Applying dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, to areas of irritated skin does not seem to help treat skin reactions from radiation therapy.
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...
- Athletic performance. Some research suggests that taking pantothenic acid in combination with pantethine and thiamine does not improve muscular strength or endurance in well-trained athletes.
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There is conflicting evidence regarding the usefulness of pantothenic acid in combination with large doses of other vitamins for the treatment of ADHD.
- Constipation. Early research suggests that taking dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, by mouth daily or receiving dexpanthenol shots can help treat constipation.
- Dry eyes. Early research suggests that using specific eye drops (Siccaprotect) containing dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, does not improve most symptoms of dry eyes.
- Eye trauma. Some evidence suggests that applying gel or drops containing dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, reduces some symptoms of eye trauma. However, not all research is consistent.
- Osteoarthritis. Early research suggests that pantothenic acid (given as calcium pantothenate) does not reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Recovery after surgery. There is inconsistent evidence on the potential benefits of taking pantothenic acid after surgery. Taking pantothenic acid or dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, does not seem to improve bowel function after stomach surgery. However, taking dexpanthenol by mouth might reduce other symptoms after surgery, such as sore throat.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Developing research suggests that pantothenic acid (given as calcium pantothenate) does not reduce the symptoms of arthritis in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Nasal dryness. Early research suggests that using a specific spray (Nasicur) that contains dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, helps relieve nasal dryness.
- Sinus infection. Early research suggests that using a nasal spray containing dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, after sinus surgery reduces discharge from the nose, but not other symptoms.
- Skin irritation. Research on the effects of pantothenic acid for preventing skin irritations is not consistent. Some early research suggests that a specific product (Bepanthol Handbalsam) containing dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, does not prevent skin irritation when applied to the skin. However, other research suggests that dexpanthenol ointment can prevent skin irritation.
- Sprains. Early research suggests that using a specific ointment (Hepathrombin-50,000-Salbe Adenylchemie) containing dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, as well as heparin and allantoin reduces swelling related to ankle sprains.
- Hair loss.
- Heart problems.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Lung disorders.
- Eye infections (conjunctivitis).
- Kidney disorders.
- Diabetic problems.
- Enhancing immune function.
- Low blood pressure.
- Inability to sleep (insomnia).
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Muscular dystrophy.
- Muscle cramps.
- Other conditions.
How does it work?
Are there safety concerns?
Dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid, is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin, used as a nasal spray, or injected as a shot into the muscle appropriately, short-term.
Special precautions & warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Pantothenic acid is LIKELY SAFE when taken in recommended amounts of 6 mg per day during pregnancy and 7 mg per day during breast-feeding. However, it is not known if taking more than this amount is safe. Avoid using larger amounts of pantothenic acid.
Children: Pantothenic acid is POSSIBLY SAFE for children when taken by mouth appropriately.
Hemophila: Do not take dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid, if you have hemophila. It might extend the time it takes for bleeding to stop.
Stomach blockage: Do not take dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid, if you have a gastrointestinal blockage.
Are there interactions with medications?
- It is not known if this product interacts with any medicines.
Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
- Royal jelly
- Royal jelly contains significant amounts of pantothenic acid. The effects of taking royal jelly and pantothenic acid supplements together aren't known.
Are there interactions with foods?
- There are no known interactions with foods.
What dose is used?
- As a dietary supplement: 5-10 mg of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
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