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Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) and your healthBetter known as pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 plays important part in energy conversion from the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It aids adrenal gland function (which makes it an important anti-stress factor), as well as in the formation of antibodies, cellular metabolism and in the synthesis of cholesterol and fatty acids. It is important for healthy digestive tract.
Being widely distributed in foods and, in addition, synthesized by friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract, vitamin B5 deficiency is unlikely. However, since it is easily destroyed through food processing and preparation (by heat in either acid or alkali), with the possibility of compromised bacterial contribution, certain degree of deficiency is possible in some individuals.
Symptoms of vitamin B5 deficiency include gastrointestinal disturbances, suppressed immune-system function and insomnia, to arthritic symptoms, kidney stones and edema.
There is no acute vitamin B5 toxicity (possible diarrhea); however, long term excessive intake can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, edema, calcification, fatigue and depression.
Vitamin B5 DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes, the most recent set of dietary recommendations set by the government) for an average healthy adult is 5mg.
Best natural food sources of vitamin B5 are liver, eggs, whole grains, vegetables and fruit.