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.

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