Pantothenic Acid

Other name(s):

vitamin B5, chick antidermatitis factor (archaic), pantothenyl alcohol

General description

Pantothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin. It is part of the B group of vitamins. Like the other B vitamins, pantothenic acid helps turn the food you eat into energy. It’s also needed to make fatty acids and important hormones. It helps keep muscles and the digestive system healthy.

Pantothenic acid helps make the coenzyme A and acyl carrier protein. This breaks down fatty acids, triglycerides, and cholesterol in your body.

Medically valid uses

Pantothenic acid is used to treat pantothenic acid deficiency. This deficiency is rare. It only occurs in people with severe forms of malnutrition. These include Kwashiorkor or marasmus.

It’s also been used to treat of paralytic ileus. In this condition, movement of the intestine is stopped. It’s also used to treat diabetic neuropathy. This is nerve damage from diabetes.

Unsubstantiated claims

There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.

Pantothenic acid may boost athletic performance. It may make wounds heal more quickly. This claim is not supported in current research findings.

Recommended intake

Pantothenic acid is measured in milligrams (mg). No Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) has been set for this vitamin. The Adequate Intake (AI) is listed below.



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

Children and adults (14 years and older)

5 mg

Pregnant women

6 mg

Breastfeeding women

7 mg

Food source

Nutrient content per 100 grams

Dried yeast

9.5 mg

Beef liver

7.3 mg

Chicken liver

4.1 mg

Peanut butter

2.5 mg


2.1 mg


1.7 mg


1.3 mg


0.3 mg

Pantothenic acid is unstable in heat. This means it needs to be refrigerated. Cooking can destroy up to 15–75% of the vitamin. This depends on the food source and length of cooking time.

Most foods are neutral, but pantothenic acid breaks down quickly in both acidic and alkaline foods. But there are few foods alkaline enough to cause a lot of break down.

You’ll need more pantothenic acid during prolonged periods of stress, extreme athletic activity, or demanding physical work.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may need to take vitamin supplements. But talk to your healthcare provider before doing so.

Pantothenic acid is abundant in many food sources. Because of this, even diets with less nutrition often have enough of it. This should prevent deficiency.

Symptoms of deficiency include:

  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

  • Upper stomach pain

  • Nausea

  • Sensory changes in the arms and legs

  • Muscle spasms

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

There are no known side effects of too much pantothenic acid. Excess pantothenic acid comes out in urine.

There are no known food or medicine interactions linked with pantothenic acid.

Online Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Godsey
Online Medical Reviewer: Diane Horowitz MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2019