Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, is one of the eight B vitamins naturally occurring in food. Its importance is closely tied to the health benefits it offers.
We provide detailed information on everything you need to know about it—its discovery, functions, the best vitamin B5 foods, their health benefits, deficiency symptoms, and recommended daily intake.
Lastly, we answer some frequently asked questions about vitamin B5, shedding light on the most intriguing details about this essential nutrient. Let’s get right into it.
Vitamin B5—Name and Discovery
Vitamin B or pantothenic acid is one of the water-soluble B-complex vitamins in charge of multiple functions in the body. It was discovered in 1919 and then isolated in 1933 by the American scientist Dr. Roger John Williams.
The name pantothenic acid comes from the Greek word “panto,” meaning “everywhere”—implying the widespread availability of this vitamin in foods. Namely, there’s at least a small amount of vitamin B5 in all plants and animals.
Vitamin B5 Functions
A crucial vitamin B5 function is coenzyme-A synthesis. This chemical compound is in charge of converting ingested food into fatty acids and cholesterol and provides the body with the energy for daily activities by initiating the Krebs cycle.
Additionally, it helps with the production of sphingosine, a fat-like molecule that plays a critical role in the cellular conduction of chemical transmissions. Furthermore, pantothenic acid helps convert other B vitamins into suitable forms for the body to use.
It’s also responsible for carbohydrate, protein, and fat synthesis and metabolism. Moreover, it stimulates new red blood cell production, neuron activity, and steroid metabolism.
Since it aids antibody production, it‘s also in charge of boosting the immune system. Besides that, pantothenic acid is an excellent antioxidant that offers powerful wound-healing properties.
Melatonin synthesis is another pantothenic acid function. This hormone secreted by the pineal gland is responsible for the sleep-wake cycle control, stress management, tiredness control, and insomnia prevention, enabling the body to relax and regenerate.
Lastly, vitamin B5 is critical for maintaining a healthy digestive tract and absorbing other vitamins (especially riboflavin).
Pantothenic Acid Foods
As previously mentioned, a wide variety of nutritional ingredients contain vitamin B5. Below, we provide a detailed description of 27 foods containing vitamin B5.
Milk is an excellent source of many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients necessary for proper body function. Only one cup of whole milk provides 0.91 mg (18% DV) of pantothenic acid, ranking relatively high among foods high in vitamin B5.
Steak is an excellent animal-sourced pantothenic acid source. Namely, a 6 oz serving of grilled skirt steak provides a whopping 2.26 mg (45% DV) of vitamin B5.
Besides vitamin B5, steak contains other vitamins and minerals essential for good health, such as niacin, vitamin B12, iron, selenium, and zinc.
Although not a favorite among beef products, beef liver is a nutrient-dense food. Aside from being affordable and widely available, it’s an excellent protein, vitamin, and mineral source.
Beef liver is among the few pantothenic-acid-rich foods providing over 100% DV per serving. Namely, a single pan-fried slice weighing roughly 2.85 oz contains 5.62 mg (112% DV) of vitamin B5.
However, you should consume this food item with caution, as the excessive consumption of beef liver may lead to vitamin A and copper toxicity and the absorption of residual antibiotics present in it.
Lamb liver is one of the incredibly nutritionally dense B5 foods with unique polarizing flavor and texture and nutrient content similar to beef liver.
A single slice of lamb liver can satisfy your daily needs for several minerals and vitamins since it contains significant amounts of various vitamins and minerals, such as folate, copper, iron, vitamins A, B, and C.
Namely, a 3 oz serving of pan-fried lamb liver contains 5.38 mg (108% DV) of vitamin B5, making it an excellent pantothenic acid food source.
One cup of roasted duck meat offers 2.1 mg (42% DV) of pantothenic acid, tanking it relatively high among animal sources of B5.
Additionally, duck is rich in many other vitamins and minerals, such as niacin, iron, protein, selenium, etc. What’s more, since it contains much less fat than chicken breasts and the fat can be easily removed from it, it can be a better pantothenic acid source than other meats with higher fat content for those on a low-fat diet.
Roasted goose meat offers 2.62 mg (52% DV) of vitamin B5 per pound. Besides being a rich pantothenic acid food source, it’s also an excellent source of protein, vitamin B2, and iron.
Chicken (especially chicken legs) is rich in nutrients, minerals, protein, and vitamins. A 100 g serving of roasted chicken legs with skin provides 3.39 mg (68% DV) of vitamin B5, making it one of the top foods with B5.
However, this staple food, particularly popular in the US, also contains a moderate amount of fat (3.7 g per drumstick and 6.2 g per thigh). Therefore, to reduce the amount of saturated fat, it’s advised to remove skin and fat from chicken legs before cooking.
The second largest avian species in the world, native to Australia, is also an excellent source of the B5 vitamin. Namely, a 3 oz serving of broiled emu fan fillet provides up to 2.88 mg (58% DV) of pantothenic acid.
Besides being an excellent source of vitamin B5, emu-based products such as emu oil derived from fat beneath the skin have excellent anti-inflammatory properties and are used to treat arthritis, ear inflammation, etc.
Salmon is one of the most nutrient-packed B5 foods that provides many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of several diseases such as heart disease and memory decline.
This delicious, widely available fish contains plenty of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, potassium, and many vitamins, including vitamin B5.
A single cooked sockeye salmon fillet weighing 6 oz contains up to 2.2 mg of pantothenic acid, ranking fairly high on the vitamin B5 foods list.
Wild Atlantic Salmon
Wild Atlantic salmon is a nutrient-rich fish that provides a high daily dose of several vitamins, including vitamin B5, allowing you to reap all vitamin B5 benefits easily. A 3 oz serving of wild Atlantic salmon prepared using dry heat cooking methods provides 1.63 mg (28% DV) of vitamin B5.
However, wild Atlantic salmon can’t be found in the US markets due to fishing prohibitions on this variety of salmon caused by previous overfishing.
Farmed Atlantic Salmon
In contrast to wild Atlantic salmon, farmed Atlantic salmon is available in abundance across the US markets. Centuries of salmon overfishing led this species to the brink of extinction and the rise of the need for salmon farming.
Despite containing slightly lower amounts of B5 vitamin than wild Atlantic salmon, the pantothenic acid content of farmed Atlantic salmon isn’t negligible.
Namely, 3 oz of farmed Atlantic salmon prepared using dry heat cooking method provides 1.26 mg (26% DV) of pantothenic acid, ranking it fairly high among foods with vitamin B5.
Its reddish-orange meat is regarded as the most delicious among salmon. Although it costs less than other salmon varieties, it’s packed with nutrients and listed among the best foods with pantothenic acid. This is because a single coho salmon fillet (6 oz) cooked with dry heat provides up to 2.2 mg (43% DV) of vitamin B5.
Bluefin tuna is both delicious and offers significant health benefits. For example, it helps with cell functions and eliminates free radicals in the body.
Southern bluefin tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. Furthermore, it belongs to the category of foods rich in vitamin B5, as a 6 oz fillet cooked using dry heat provides 2.32 (46% DV) of pantothenic acid.
Groupers belong to one of the largest and most widely available species of sea fish. Red groupers are more common in marketplaces due to their availability and flavor, while black groupers are in short supply.
They rank relatively high among foods high in pantothenic acid, as there’s up to 1.8 mg (35% DV) of vitamin B5 in a single fillet cooked with dry heat.
This responsibly harvested and sustainably managed fish is also an excellent pantothenic acid source. A 6 oz fillet cooked with dry heat provides 1.7 mg (34% DV) of vitamin B5.
This coastal schooling herring species inhabiting eastern and western areas of the Pacific ocean is also a valuable vitamin B5 food item. A single fillet weighing 6 oz provides about 1.7 mg (33% DV) of pantothenic acid.
Abalone is a large marine snail commonly found in the cold waters of New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Africa, and North America (western coasts). This rich-in-flavor mollusk is one of the most expensive seafood items due to its delicious and nutrient-rich flesh.
It’s also one of the best foods containing vitamin B5, providing 2.44 mg (49% DV) of pantothenic acid per 3 oz serving of fried abalone. Raw abalone consumed straight out of the shell, on the other hand, offers 2.55 mg of vitamin B5 per 3 oz.
Sunflower seeds are also excellent foods high in vitamin B5. A typical serving weighing roughly 1 oz provides you with 2 mg (40% DV) of pantothenic acid.
Besides providing high amounts of vitamin B, it also contains plenty of fiber, protein and healthy fats useful for heart health and fighting off inflammation.
Avocados are excellent B5-rich foods that also contain an abundance of other nutrients like potassium and folate. However, different varieties of this creamy nutty-flavored fruit provide different pantothenic acid content.
For example, one cup of pureed California avocados provides 3.36 mg (67% DV) of vitamin B5, making it one of the valuable vitamin B5 sources.
On the other hand, water-rich pureed Florida avocados offer 2.14 mg (43% DV) of pantothenic acid per cup. This light-flavored vitamin B5 food also has less fiber, 25% fewer calories, 30% lower fat, and higher vitamin C and E content than California avocados.
This banana-resembling fruit is one of the top vitamin B5 foods for vegetarian and vegan diet followers. Namely, you can get 1.01 mg (20% DV) of vitamin B5 from a single cup of fried yellow plantain.
Plantains contain more starch than bananas, but it’s less sweet, which is why it’s usually used for preparing savory dishes.
Furthermore, plantains have similar nutritional content to potatoes but contain more minerals and vitamins than the latter. They’re stacked with fiber, vitamins A, C, B5, B6, magnesium, and potassium.
White Button Mushrooms
White button mushrooms are also excellent foods that contain pantothenic acid. Their vitamin B5 content largely depends on the preparation method.
For example, one cup of sliced raw white button mushrooms contains the lowest amounts of vitamin B5—1.05 mg (21% DV). Stir-fried mushrooms offer slightly higher B5 content, getting you 1.6 mg (31% DV).
On the other hand, boiled unsalted white button mushrooms are the best B5 sources, containing 3.37 mg (67% DV) per cup.
Additionally, due to its rich nutrient content, this white and fleshy mushroom is an excellent raw material for vitamin B5 supplement products. Some of its health benefits include boosting the immune system and helping against cancer.
Portobello mushrooms are a mature version of white button mushrooms and are also great vitamin B5 sources. Their pantothenic acid content also varies depending on the preparation method.
Namely, one cup of raw portobello mushrooms contains 0.98 mg (about 20% DV) of vitamin B5. Grilling, sautéeing, or broiling, besides bringing out this meaty-textured mushroom’s earthlike or smoky flavors, also elevates its pantothenic acid content. Therefore, one cup of grilled portobello mushrooms provides up to 1.52 mg (31% DV).
Shiitake mushrooms are one of the best vitamin-B5-rich foods. Only one cup of cooked shiitake mushrooms provides a whooping 5.2 mg (104% DV) of vitamin B5, more than enough to satisfy your pantothenic acid daily needs.
Besides being one of the best vitamin B5 foods, this delicious woodsy-flavored mushroom offers an abundance of other nutrients. Therefore it can also serve as raw material for manufacturers of vitamin B5 supplements.
Jew’s ear is a mushroom that grows in the woods of temperate regions of the world throughout the year. It’s another species of edible fungus rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B5. Providing up to 1.97 mg (39% DV) per cup makes it one of the best sources of vitamin B5.
Sweet potatoes are one of the most widely available foods worldwide. These sweet, starchy root vegetables rank relatively high among foods high in vitamin B5.
One cup of boiled sweet potatoes without skin may contain up to 1.9 mg (38% DV) of pantothenic acid. Other forms provide lower amounts of this essential nutrient per cup—1.3 mg per cup of mashed sweet potatoes and 1 mg per medium baked sweet potato.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carbs, and fiber. Additionally, the presence of antioxidants provides many health benefits, from cancer-fighting properties and heart disease prevention to slowing down aging.
A cup of boiled lentils offers 1.26 mg (25% DV) of vitamin B5 per cup, making them a decent pantothenic acid food source.
Furthermore, they’re pretty rich in potassium, folate, and iron. Since they’re also high in protein (so much that combining them with whole grains yields protein content equivalent to that of meat), they can serve as a great meat substitute for vegetarians, vegans, and those with other diet restrictions.
Finally, it helps with red blood cell formation, supports the heart, and lowers blood pressure.
Chili is a nutrient-rich food, especially when cooked with beans. It’s high in protein, fiber, vitamin C, and it also categorizes under the best foods high in pantothenic acid. You can get a staggering 3.64 mg (73% DV) of vitamin B5 by consuming just one cup of canned chili with beans.
Additionally, chili is also suitable for diabetic patients as it helps regulate blood glucose levels.
Vitamin B5 Health Benefits
Vitamin B, like other essential vitamins and nutrients, is essential for our health. Studies show there are many health benefits of vitamin B5. For example, this vitamin helps lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, making it an excellent supplementation option for people with high cholesterol. It can even help increase good cholesterol and has positive effects on diabetic patients.
The following sections present some of the most critical pantothenic acid uses and benefits. Let’s get into it.
What Does Vitamin B5 Do For Skin?
One of the main reasons some people consume vitamin B5 supplements is their incredible skin-nurturing properties. It is this vitamin’s derivative (panthenol, or pro-vitamin B5) that’s in charge of revitalizing skin, which is why it’s a common ingredient of various cosmetic products.
Scientific studies corroborate that panthenol-based formulations have moisturizing and protective effects on the skin. They also prove that the B5 vitamin can help manage general skin sensitivity and dryness. In other words, including this substance in skin care products can lead to radiant and fresh-looking skin.
Other studies link vitamin B5 supplements with improved wound healing after surgery, especially when combined with vitamin C.
You can also use vitamin B5 for acne management due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Scientific evidence indicates pantothenic can reduce the severity and count of acne-related blemishes.
Namely, a particular study describes the positive effect of pantothenic acid on acne, indicating that taking vitamin B5 supplements for 12 weeks could significantly reduce facial acne skin lesions.
What Does Vitamin B5 Do For Hair?
Many commercial hair care products contain pantothenic acid since this ingredient adds shine, texture, and volume to hair. What’s more, some studies indicate that vitamin B5 can slow down, reduce, and even reverse greying.
Finally, it can help strengthen the hair and repair damage caused by sun exposure, heat, or styling.
Vitamin B5 and Rheumatoid Arthritis
There’s also some evidence that supplementing with pantothenic acid can help with rheumatoid arthritis, reducing morning stiffness and pain. Rheumatic patients often have very low vitamin B5 levels that are related to causing the previously mentioned symptoms.
Other Vitamin B5 Benefits
There are reports that vitamin B5 is also effective in treating respiratory illnesses such as asthma, reducing the severity and frequency of attacks. It also reduces bronchial issues, cough, and cold symptoms.
Furthermore, it plays a vital role in removing toxic materials from the body. This is because vitamin B5 aids the synthesis of coenzyme A—a substance that promotes healthy liver function by eliminating harmful compounds from the body.
One of the critical pantothenic acid benefits for cardiovascular patients is lowering high blood pressure and preventing heart failure.
Vitamin B5 can also improve eyesight, reduce pain and inflammation, and address eye problems like dry eyes. Other functions include burning feet syndrome, yeast infections, celiac disease, and convulsions management and prevention.
Vitamin B5 Deficiency
Just like other B vitamins, pantothenic acid helps provide energy for your body. Therefore, the lack of this vitamin can lead to a host of problems, including the reduced breakdown of carbs, fats, and proteins. This, in turn, leads to developing many distressing symptoms.
The main pantothenic acid deficiency symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor sleep
- Reduced blood sugar levels
- Burning feet syndrome
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle cramps
It’s important to note that pantothenic acid deficiency is rare. This is because most people manage to get sufficient amounts of vitamin B5 through the daily diet due to its virtual omnipresence.
However, vitamin B5 deficiency can occur due to severe malnutrition and specific genetic mutations that prevent metabolizing pantothenic acid.
Vitamin B5 Side Effects
There’s no evidence of vitamin B5 supplements producing any severe side effects when taken in moderation.
Vitamin B5 Overdose
Though there’s no evidence that taking high vitamin B5 doses leads to severe toxicity, it’s important to be careful when dosing pantothenic acid. Despite the fact that the excess of pantothenic acid is commonly excreted through urine, taking high doses can produce particular side effects in more sensitive individuals.
For example, though rarely, consuming 10 g or more per day can upset the stomach or cause diarrhea. Other possible pantothenic acid side effects include headache, excessive stress, and bleeding.
It’s also important to note that these precautions mainly refer to the supplements since there’s no record of B5 foods overdose.
Vitamin B5 Recommended Daily Intake
Lacking pantothenic acid can lead to various vitamin B5 deficiency diseases and distressing symptoms. Therefore, it‘s crucial to maintain adequate daily vitamin B5 intake.
On the other hand, taking excessive amounts of vitamin B5 may cause specific health problems. Although pantothenic acid toxicity is rare, experts recommend following the following recommended daily dosages.
|Infants (0–6 months)||1.7|
|Infants (7–12 months)||1.8|
|Toddlers (1–3 years)||2.0|
|Children (4–8 years)||3.0|
|Children (9–13 years)||4.0|
|Adult males and females (14+ years)||5.0|
Not only are vitamin B5 foods widely available, but they’re also affordable. Any well-fed individual is unlikely to suffer from vitamin B5 deficiency. That’s why deficiency cases are generally rare and more frequently occur due to diseases that hamper the proper use of the vitamin than from its lack in daily diet.
Hopefully, this article taught you everything you need to know about pantothenic acid, its benefits, the most important sources, and, most importantly, how to reduce the risk of vitamin B5 deficiency diseases by incorporating the best nutritious food sources into your daily diet.
What foods contain vitamin B5?
Almost all foods, plant-based and animal-sourced, contain some vitamin B5, which is how this vitamin got its name. Beef liver, lamb liver, shiitake mushrooms, chicken legs, salmon, and avocado are only some foods high in this essential vitamin.
How much vitamin B5 should I take daily?
The adequate dosage mainly depends on your age and physical activity levels. For example, individuals over 14 shouldn’t exceed 5 mg per day. On the other hand, athletes and more physically active people can tolerate higher doses.
Can you take too much vitamin B5?
Taking high doses of vitamin B5 most likely won’t result in severe consequences, as the excess is usually excreted through urine. More sensitive individuals might develop mild symptoms such as headache, stomach upset, diarrhea, etc., upon consuming excessive doses of this vitamin.
It’s important to note that your daily requirements and tolerance of vitamin B5 greatly depend on your physical activity levels and daily routine. For example, strength athletes require higher doses of pantothenic acid and, therefore, have a higher tolerance than ordinary people.
What does vitamin B5 do?
Vitamin B5 provides many health benefits. Helping with energy production is only one critical pantothenic acid function. Furthermore, this vitamin supports the immune system, neural health, skin health, fat metabolism, etc. It also helps the body use other B vitamins by converting them into adequate forms. Additionally, it can reduce rheumatoid arthritis and asthma symptoms.
Is vitamin B5 good for hair?
Pantothenic acid can help make your hair shiny and strong, which is why people choose to use supplements and products with vitamin B5 for hair. This nutrient can help add texture and volume and even delay greying.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B5 deficiency?
The lack of this essential nutrient may cause plenty of health issues. Headache, irritability, poor sleep, diarrhea, vomiting, hand and feet numbness, and muscle cramps are some of the most common vitamin B5 deficiency symptoms.
In case of experiencing such symptoms, you should consult your doctor. Additionally, to prevent deficiency from occurring, you should try to include vitamin B5 foods in your diet.