The Ketontrack Nutritional Series – The Worker Pantothenic Acid (B5)

Today we will discuss B5 or pantothenic acid, an essential nutrient and a water-soluble B vitamin. When we break down food for energy, we break the food molecules into pieces and extract the energy from them. Pantothenic acid is what helps break apart the pieces.  Thiamin, Niacin, and Riboflavin extract the energy. Let’s look at the Worker Vitamin B5!

What does B5 do?

  • B5 takes food molecules and starts building things with them. And starts moving them around, re-arranging things in the cell, until everything is just right.
  • B5 helps convert serotonin to melatonin, a hormone that makes us sleep at night.
  • B5 helps with making Hemoglobin which is what carries oxygen to your muscles and helps us feel energized.
  • It helps Ammonia gets cleaned up. When eating protein, you generate a little ammonia. If you don’t get rid of it, you smell funny and feel really tired.
  • It might also help wounds heal faster and maybe keep our hair from going gray.

Recognizing B5 deficiencies

B5 deficiencies are similar to other B vitamins which is reasonable since they are all related to energy metabolism. A few things that stand-out are, the funny feelings in the hands and feet and the mood and gut is impacted.

However Pantothenic acid is so easy to get from food that you can’t become deficient if you eat natural foods. It even is difficult to even become deficient by eating junk food. In fact, pantothenic acid takes its name from the Greek word “pantos,” which means “everywhere”. Pantothenic acid is everywhere and therefore, it is improbable to become deficient.

How to get B5 from food

Due to the fact that it is difficult to become deficient it is unclear how much we need to be healthy. There is a recommendation of an “adequate intake” or “AI” but not an RDA. The official recommendation is 5 milligrams per day (mg/d),  but better to go for 10-12 mg/d since B5 gets destroyed by heat, processing and storage.

  • 2 heaping teaspoons of unfortified nutritional yeast gives you the needed amount.
  • 200gr of chicken, beef, lamb liver and roasted sunflower seeds.
  • 300gr of beef pancreas or kidney, pork liver and many muscle meat.
  • You can then compliment your meal with eggs, fresh wild caught salmon, avocado, peanuts, peanut butter, cashews, mushrooms.

Some causes of deficiency

  • Refining flour removes half of the B5 and B5 is not added to enriched flours.
  • Sugar, fat, refined flour, canned, heavily cooked or processed foods have little to no pantothenic acid.
  • Burning fat requires about 20% more pantothenic acid than burning carbs.
  • Alcohol inhibits the activation of B5 and prevents us from using it properly.
  • Pantothenic acid is harder to extract from food other than B vitamins. A healthy person may only extract half of the B5 from food and someone with poor digestion might get even less.

Key Takeaways

  • Pantothenic acid deficiency is most likely to cause fatigue and tireness. It may also cause poor mood, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.
  • A little nutritional yeast and liver gives all what we need.

The Fat Burning Riboflavin (B2)

The Fat Burning Riboflavin (B2)

Vitamin B2 is also known as Riboflavin and similarly to B1 it’s main role is to help extract energy from the food we eat. However opposite to B1, B2 specializes in burning fat since burning fat requires almost twice as much riboflavin as burning carbs.  Let’s learn about the fat-burning Riboflavin !

What does Riboflavin do?

Riboflavin does lots of other amazing things besides burn fat.

  • It helps absorb and utilize iron, which prevents anemia.
  • It keeps the eyes healthy by preventing cataracts.
  • It lowers homocysteine, which may protect against heart disease and cancer.
  • It supports a process called methylation, which contributes to mental and physical health.
  • Riboflavin makes the migraines go away.

Recognizing Riboflavin deficiencies

Riboflavin deficiency is frequently associated with deficiencies in one or more of the other B-complex vitamins and has been found in some countries to be alarming high. It can be identified when :

  • The outer edges of the lips get red and crusty.
  • The corners of the mouth crack.
  • The tongue gets red and swollen.
  • The skin gets red, scaly, itchy, greasy.
  • The hands and feet can get unusually sensitive to touch, heat, or pain.

If interested in testing the B2 levels the Erythrocyteflavin nucleotides (FMN +FAD) concentration is probably the best measure of riboflavin status.

Riboflavin and fat burning

Although we called Riboflavin as fat burning, this doesn’t mean that riboflavin will help you lose weight. It is quite the opposite!

  • Losing weight increases the need for riboflavin by 60%.
  • Doing cardio six days a week increases your need for riboflavin by 60%.

How do we get enough Riboflavin?

The RDA is 1.3 milligrams per day (mg/d) for men and 1.1 for women. However due to the reasons explained above it is probably best to go with 2-5mg/d.

  • 120 grams of liver or seaweed (spirulina) gives between gives you 2-5 mg
  • 240 grams of kidney, heart, parsley and almonds gives the needed amount of B2.
  • Then we have the foods that give around 0.5 mg for every 120gr. These are foods are red meat, cheese, eggs, salmon, mushrooms, sesame.
  • Other foods contain B2 but require a huge amount of servings and since we are looking for nutritional density they will not be considered here.




Disclaimer : There are many other foods according to the USDA that contain B2, and this is due to the fact that many foods such as cereal are being fortified as a publich health measure. In this post we are not considering them since we are only looking into natural, non-processed, low-carb foods.

Note also that fat contains zero riboflavin (as does sugar). These hurt the riboflavin status by displacing foods that have riboflavin. Interesting enough, burning fat requires more riboflavin, yet fat doesn’t have any riboflavin! Hence, meal planning is quite important when switching from a high-carb to a low-carb diet, since removing refined flour will remove Riboflavin from your diet.

Although Riboflavin is not a “fat-soluble vitamin,” it mixes quite a bit with both water and fat. So it is better absorbed with a meal and with some fat.

Other Causes of Deficiency

Riboflavin deficiency isn’t all about diet. Here are some other causes of deficiency.

  • Low stomach acid hurts protein digestion, which is needed to release riboflavin.
  • Exposure to sunlight.
  • Exposure of food to light kills riboflavin. For example, putting milk in sunlight for two hours destroys half the riboflavin.
  • Alcohol hurts your ability to absorb and use riboflavin.


Riboflavin has no known toxicity! Normal riboflavin is the first form and Riboflavin 5′-phosphate the second one.

Key Takeaways

  • Include liver in your weekly eating plan and compliment with some almonds.
  • B2 helps with iron absorption and can help with migraines.

Further reading

The Carb Burning Thiamin (B1)

Vitamin B1 is also called Thiamin and it’s main role is to help extract energy from the food we eat. Thiamin specializes in burning carbs or any type of energy we get from sweet or starchy foods, (like sugar, fruit, potatoes, beans, and grains) since we need twice as much Thiamin to burn carbs as we need to burn fat. Let’s learn about the carb-burning Thiamin!

What does Thiamin do?

Thiamin is needed to burn all types of energy, including protein and fat. Similarly as we need all the other Vitamin B’s to burn carbs. But as mentioned, no other B vitamin has such a special role in burning carbs. Eating carbs won’t depleteThiamin. But not getting enough Thiamin will prevent from burning carbs. This will result in carbs (i.e. glucose ) build up in the blood and if there is too much in our blood after we eat, we call it “glucose intolerance.” which can eventually lead into diabetes.

Recognizing Thiamin deficiencies

Modest deficiencies of Thiamin make us bad carb-burners, whereas in worst scenarios

  • They make our hands and feet tingle, or become weak, numb, or painful.
  • They cause the muscles around the eyes to become weak, paralyzed, or disordered. This can cause twitching or drooping.
  • They can cause the heart rate to go up, or cause other heart trouble.
  • They can make it harder to control our own body movements.
  • They can make us feel weak or apathetic.

When severe Thiamin deficiency affects our hands, feet, and heart, it’s called “beriberi.” When it affects eye muscles or control over the bigger movements we make in day-to-day life, it’s called “Wernicke’s encephalopathy.” When it affects the mind, it’s called “Korsakoff’s psychosis.” it is often the case that B1 deficiency is diagnosed very late as it is quite often mis-diagnosed.

Thiamin helps in many areas

  • It helps protect us from oxidative stress. This is the wear and tear on our tissues that happens as we age.
  • It helps us recycle other vitamins, like vitamin K and folate.
  • We use it to synthesize a lot of different things. For example, fats, cholesterol, and the building blocks of our DNA.

Thiamin and the diet type

Thiamin is critical for the brain and nerves. This is because the nervous system, far more than any other system in the body, requires glucose to function. Every day, the brain consumes 120 grams of glucose and this doesn’t just provide energy. It’s also needed to make many of the neurotransmitters, the chemicals that the brain cells use to communicate with each other. These neurotransmitters are also what the nerves use to control the muscles.

However in a keto diet, the nervous system re-adjusts how it uses its energy, and it starts consuming 75% less glucose than it usually does. And what are ketogenic diets most effective for? Epilepsy! That’s what they were first invented for. So they help the brain. Many people report feeling calmer or sleeping better on them. One of the benefits of a keto diet is to help with the cognitive function and brain fog.

How do we get enough Thiamin?

  • 2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast (per day)
  • 120 grams of legumes (lentils, peas, beans) measured before cooking (per day)
  • 120 grams of whole grains, measured before cooking (per day)

Fun fact : Flour is usually enriched with Thiamin as a public health measure!

The Thiamin content of meat is a confusing topic. Older databases say that red meat animals (beef, lamb, bison) have the most Thiamin. The newest databases say that pork is an awesome source, while red meat animals and poultry have very little, so we will ignore them.

Fat does not have any Thiamin! Although ketogenic diets spare Thiamin better than any other diet, if they aren’t designed carefully they can give a Thiamin deficiency. Even though we need twice as much Thiamin to burn carbs as we need to burn fat, we still need Thiamin to burn fat.

Other food sources require us to consume huge amounts so we can get sufficient Thiamin so we will also ignore them. These are okra, artichokes, garlic, squash, asparagus, kale, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, potatoes, beet greens.

The Thiamin Blockers

Another consideration in food absorbtion is always the so called blockers
Here are a list of that contain things that actually hurt Thiamin status:

  • Raw fish and shellfish. These are destroyed by heat. Their content in these foods vary a lot.
  • Sulfite,  used as a food additive, also produced by gut bacteria when we eat a diet high in animal protein and low in legumes.

Other Causes of Thiamin Deficiency

  • Alcohol hurts its absorption, its storage in the liver, and its activation for use with our enzymes.


  • Thiamin has no known toxicity. There are a few different types. Thiamin hydrochloride or Thiamin HCl is the cheapest and most common.

Key Takeaways

  • Thiamin is critical for the brain and nerves.
  • We need twice as much Thiamin to burn carbs as we need to burn fat.
  • Get Thiamin from nutritional yeast, legumes and the RDA is 1mg.
  • Subscribe and follow the evolution of the Ketontrck Diet Pyramid. http://bit.ly/2HVuJvb

The Ketontrack Nutritional Series – The Amazing Vitamin-A

The Amazing Vitamin-A

This article explains about the amazing Vitamin A. It will also help you understand that when talking about nutrient absorption not all food is created equal as in some foods certain nutrients cannot be easily converted into a form that our body can use.

What does Vitamin-A do?

  • It promotes Healthy Vision
  • It makes Eyes Moist, skin smooth and our Immune System Strong
  • It protects against kidney stones
  • It protects against “autoimmune” diseases
  • It protects against asthma and allergies
  • It protects against food intoleranses like celiac disease, and helps make hormones like testosterone and estrogen

Do your eyes ever feel dry? Or do you have trouble seeing at night?

Maybe your eyes are fine, but you get colds a lot. Or your sleep is really messed up…

you don’t know when it’s time to sleep or time to wake up. Or maybe your skin gets crusty underneath your hair.

Recognizing Vitamin A deficiency and poor eye-sight

Your eyes use vitamin A to become moist, and also sense light. When the light enters your eye, it hits a molecule of vitamin A, which triggers a reaction that sends an impulse to your brain. These impulses make your sense of vision. The eyes have two different types of cells : Rods help you see shadows in the dark, cones help you see colors in the day. Vitamin A is equally important to both of them, but when you’re running low, your body starts setting priorities. So we sacrifice our night vision when we become deficient in vitamin A. This helps make sure we have enough vitamin A to see during the day!

How do we get enough vitamin A

There are two forms of vitamin A:

  1. In plant foods
    • The plant form is actually a collection of compounds. One of them is beta-carotene. The others are similar to it and called “carotenoids.” These are named after carrots.
  2. In animal foods
    • The animal form of vitamin A is called retinol. This is named after the retina, the part of the eye where most of the vitamin A is found.


We don’t need the plant form (carotenoids), we do need however the animal form (retinol). But we can convert the plant form into the animal form.

In other words, we can convert carotenoids to retinol. However, there are many different carotenoids but not all of them act as vitamin A. For example, lutein and zeaxanthin, found in spinach and eggs, might help protect us in various ways but they don’t act as vitamin A. Only about 10% of carotenoids act as vitamin A, and these are called “provitamin A carotenoids.” The PRO in “provitamin A” refers to the fact that they can be converted into the active form of vitamin A, retinol. Which plants have Carotenoids? The colorful ones.! They are mostly all the  red, orange, or yellow plants!

When we eat vitamin A this is stored in our livers! And just like we store vitamin A in our livers, so do fish, cows, chickens, and all the other animals. So, the best source of animal-form vitamin A is liver.

Most other animal foods are not a good source of vitamin A, with two exceptions: eggs and milk. These are the two foods meant to nourish young animals, who need lots of vitamin A to grow correctly. In fact, an egg has a rather marvelous task to fulfill: it has to fit enough nourishment to last the chick 21 days until it hatches and eats its first worm. It has to pack a lot of nutrition. And milk is meant to nourish the growing calf. Both of these have vitamin A… but nowhere near as much as liver.

Getting Vitamin A From Plant Foods Is Hard!

Most people think they can get vitamin A from plants and animals equally well. But here’s the thing: We need the animal form, retinol, not the plant form, carotenoids. So when we get vitamin A from plant foods, everything comes down on how good we are at converting the carotenoids to retinol. And there are many things that get in the way, fiber, toxic metals like mercury and lead, iron deficiency, zinc deficiency. But more importantly about half the population has their ability to get vitamin A from plant foods cut at least in half. So our colorful vegetable friends might not be a good source of vitamin A for you! If you are a poor converter of beta-carotene, you could be getting just 0.5mg from a cup of pure carrot juice.

Boost the intake of Vitamin A

  • Vitamin A mixes with fats and oils better than it mixes in water. That means eating it with fat helps us absorb it.
  • The best fats to use are animal fats and traditional oils like palm oil and olive oil.
  • Cooking or pureeing vegetables helps us get more vitamin A from them.
  • Vitamin E helps us get more vitamin A from plant foods.

Best way to get vitamin A

  • Eat 120 grams of liver once a week
  • Eat up to three whole eggs a day.
  • Drink up to three cups of full-fat dairy per day.
  • Eat 3 or 4 cups of red, orange, yellow, and green vegetables a day.
  • Use grass-fed butter, olive and red palm oil for your added fats.


Red palm oil is a great plant source of vitamin A. It is rich in carotenoids and  vitamin E and all the right fats. Because it is an oil, the carotenoids are already perfectly dissolved and you don’t need to do much digesting to extract them.


Cod liver oil provides 3000 IU per day from a non-synthetic source.

Things to be aware of

  • Too much vitamin A without enough vitamin D can be a risk factor for osteoporosis.
  • In the first 8 weeks of pregnancy, too much might cause birth defects.
  • Taking way too much for way too long a time can cause,  Fatigue, Hair loss, Upset stomach, itchy skin, Cracked lips, Headache

Key Takeaways

  • Vegetables are not the best source of Vitamin-A since carotenoids need to be converted to retinol and most people are not very good convertors.
  • Liver is the best source of Vitamin-A since this is where it is stored in all animals.

Further reading

The Longevity Solution, Dr. DiNicolantonio

Chris MasterJohn’s website

USDA Food Database