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Your guide to vitamin B5

We tend to group all the B vitamins together, but each one has several different roles in the body. Discover why everybody needs vitamin B5.

Like the seven other B vitamins, B5 – also known as pantothenic acid – helps your body convert the carbohydrates you eat into glucose for energy.

B vitamins help your body process fats and proteins, and are needed to help keep your nervous system, skin, hair, eyes and liver in a healthy condition too.1 But there are some specific benefits of vitamin B5 that you should be aware of.

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What does vitamin B5 do?

Vitamin B5 is a busy B. Its roles in the body include: 2

• making red blood cells
• synthesising cholesterol
• producing sex and stress hormones
• helping the body use other vitamins, especially vitamin B2
• maintaining a healthy digestive system

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It can counter high cholesterol

Our body needs vitamin B5 to metabolise cholesterol, but B5 could also help lower levels of LDL, or ‘bad’, cholesterol in the blood.

One Canadian-led study published in the journal Vascular Health and Risk Management in 2014 found that when people with high levels of LDL cholesterol were given 300mg of vitamin B5 every day over 16 weeks, their levels dropped significantly.3

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B5 is a skin-health booster

Pantothenic acid can your skin recover from acne. In 2014, US researchers discovered that people with acne taking 2.2g of B5 every day for 12 weeks reported fewer spots and improved skin quality. The team say this may be for two reasons – pantothenic acid has both antibacterial and skin-softening activities.4

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Could it delay the grey?

Vitamin B5 is rumoured to help prevent grey hairs, based on one laboratory study in 2007 that found a deficiency could lead to premature greying.5 But sadly there isn’t enough evidence to show upping your intake of B5 can really make a difference to restoring your hair to its former (crowning) glory.

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Where to find vitamin B5

The name ‘pantothenic’ comes from the Greek word ‘pantou’ that means ‘everywhere’, as it’s found in so many different foods6, so a vitamin B5 deficiency is highly unlikely. Keep your levels topped up with foods such as wholegrains, porridge, chicken, potatoes, eggs and broccoli.7 Processing – such as canning and freezing – destroys B5, so try to keep your diet as fresh as possible.
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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1. University of Maryland Medical Center. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid). Available from: https://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b5-pantothenic-acid
2. Medical News Today. Vitamin B5: Everything you need to know. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/219601.php
3. Evans M, et al. Pantethine, a derivative of vitamin B5, favorably alters total, LDL and non-HDL cholesterol in low to moderate cardiovascular risk subjects eligible for statin therapy: a triple-blinded placebo and diet-controlled investigation. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24600231
4. 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. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4065280/
5. Kuo YM, Hayflick SJ, Gitshier J. Deprivation of pantothenic acid elicits a movement disorder and azoospermia in a mouse model of pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17429753
6. See source 2.
7. NHS Choices. B vitamins and folic acid. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/#pantothenic-acid

Vitamin B