Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, serves the body in many ways. It is a member of the nutritionally elite group of eight vitamins known collectively as the Vitamin B complex. This powerful group of vitamins has a role nearly every major body system and process. The Vitamin B complex serves to keep both body and mind functioning and in good health.
Vitamin B5, like all of the vitamins that form the B complex, is essential to the body’s ability to use the food it takes in as fuel for its myriad of processes, great and small. It works in the regular maintenance and repair of all bodily tissues, from the cellular level up. This makes it an essential part of the body’s efforts to fight the physical damage that excessive stress contributes to.
Vitamin B5 serves many important functions in the nervous system, especially in terms of nerve function and health. Among the contributions that Vitamin B5 makes to the nervous system is the production of neurotransmitters, which are important to the ability of the nerves to communicate.
Because of its important role in the growth and health of the hair and necessity to healthy skin, it is used frequently in a variety of cosmetic products.
Vitamin B5, acting as a cofactor to other members of the Vitamin B complex and other nutrients, has an important role in the functioning of the adrenal glands and also serves to promote normal growth of the body, due to its role in hormone production throughout the body.
Deficiency in Vitamin B5 can have a variety of negative consequences for the body and the mind. Physical symptoms include fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakened immune system, abdominal pain, neurological disorders, muscle weakness and cramps, increased insulin sensitivity, acne, digestive problems, and slow or retarded growth.
Mental symptoms of Vitamin B5 include depression, personality disorders and change, sleep disturbances, and insomnia, which generally makes most other deficiency symptoms feel much worse.
In general, adults should have about 5mg of Vitamin B5 per day, with women increasing their daily intake to 6mg to 7mg while pregnant or breastfeeding. Children, depending on size and weight, should have about 2mg to 4mg of Vitamin B5 each day.
The importance of the Vitamin B complex to physical health and mental functioning cannot be overstated. For optimum performance of the body and the mind, including cognitive functions and emotional responses and stability, the standard recommended daily intake levels of these vitamins should be achieved every day.
Because these are water-soluble vitamins, they are washed away daily with the urine and thus, the body’s supply of these essential nutrients must be renewed daily.
Nutritional supplements are a reliable and safe way to meet these important nutritional goals, provided that attention is given to the accepted limits of dosage.
Too much of any nutrient can be toxic, and often can cause as much damage as having too little. The body is a delicately balanced system, and requires that balance to be maintained to function at its best.