Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, is important to all forms of life. It is part of a molecule called coenzyme A, which is needed for many chemical reactions in cells. Vitamin B5 is needed for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It is also involved in the creation of hormones and cholesterol.
Vitamin B5 can be found in meats, liver, kidney, fish, shellfish, chicken, vegetables, legumes, yeast, eggs, milk, and whole grains. However, freezing, canning, refining, cooking, and processing may reduce the vitamin B5 content of food.
In commercial supplements, vitamin B5 is available as D-pantothenic acid, dexpanthenol, or calcium pantothenate. Vitamin B5 is often used together with other B vitamins.
Vitamin B5 deficiency is very rare and likely occurs in cases of severe, life-threatening malnutrition. Most people get enough vitamin B5 from food.
Vitamin B5 has been studied for many health conditions. It has been taken by mouth, applied to the skin, and injected. However, clear benefits are lacking at this time.
(+)-2,4-Dihydroxy-N-(3-hydroxypropyl)-3,3-dimethylbutyramide, ácido pantoténico (Spanish), B5, Bepanthen®, Bepanthene®, Bepanthol® Handbalsam, C9H17NO5, calcii pantothenas, calcium pantetheine-S-sulfonate (PaSSO3Ca), calcium pantothenate, coenzyme A, D-calcium pantothenate, D(+)-N-(2,4-dihydroxy-3,3-dimethylbutyryl)-beta-alanine, D-panthenol, D-pantothenic acid, D(+)-pantothenic acid, D-pantothenyl alcohol, dexpan, dexpanthenol, dexpanthenolum, dexpanthenon, homopantothenic acid, hopantenic acid, Lemuval®, Nasicur®, NoAll Bimbi Pasta Trattante®, Ophtovitol®, pantethine, pantetheine, panthenol, pantogam, pantoham, pantoic acid, pantothenic, pantothenol, pantothenylol, provitamin B5, sodium pantothenate, Thiopheol®, Tonimer® nasal gel spray, vitamin B5.
Select combination products: Bepanthen®, Bepanthene®, Bepanthol® Handbalsam, Lemuval® (heparinoid, hyaluronidase, vitamin B5, vitamin A, menthol), Mar® plus (sea water and dexpanthenol), Nasic® (xylometazoline and dexpanthenol), NoAll Bimbi Pasta Trattante®, Oleovit® (dexpanthenol and vitamin A), Ophtovitol® (multivitamins, adenosine, androstanolone), Pantogar® (vitamin B1, calcium pantothenate, yeast, L-cystine, keratin, para-aminobenzoic acid), Siccaprotect®, Slim339® (Garcinia cambogia extract with calcium pantothenate, standardized for the content of hydroxycitric acid and pantothenic acid, and extracts of Matricaria chamomilla, Rosa damascena, Lavandula officinalis, and Cananga odorata), Thiopheol®, Tonimer® nasal gel spray.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Pantothenic acid deficiency
Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, is essential to humans, and deficiency is rare. However, in cases of deficiency, vitamin B5 may be taken by mouth as treatment. It may help prevent deficiency in people who are at high risk for malnutrition. For those who cannot eat on their own, vitamin B5 may be given through an intravenous tube or through tube feeding.
Vitamin B5 in the form of dexpanthenol is often added to eye drops and gels to help reduce pain and inflammation, as well as treat dry eyes. There is evidence supporting its effectiveness, although some studies suggest that newer products may be of more benefit.
There is evidence that a nose spray containing vitamin B5 (as dexpanthenol) may benefit people who have chronic sinus infection after surgery, compared to a common saline spray. Further research is needed in this area.
Some sources report that people who have rheumatoid arthritis may have lower vitamin B5 levels compared to healthy people. However, the reasons behind this are unclear. Early research suggests that calcium pantothenate may benefit people with rheumatoid arthritis, but effects may be lacking in those who have osteoarthritis. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
Early research suggests that combination products containing vitamin B5 may have mixed results on athletic performance. More research is needed to understand the effects of vitamin B5 alone.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Early research suggests that combination products containing vitamin B5 may lack benefits on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). More research is needed to understand the effects of vitamin B5 alone.
Blood vessel disorders
An ointment containing vitamin B5 (as dexpanthenol) has been used to treat nosebleed in people with blood vessel disorders. This ointment was considered to be less effective than one containing estriol. More research is needed in this area.
Vitamin supplements have been suggested for people with severe burns, due to nutrient loss. However, it is unclear whether vitamin B5 has benefits in burn healing. More research is needed in this area.
Vitamin B5 is one of many ingredients in Red Bull® Energy Drink, which has been shown to improve driving performance over a long period of time. However, further studies are needed to understand the effects of vitamin B5 alone.
Vitamin B5 as Bepanthene® (dexpanthenol) has been studied for the treatment of constipation. Although benefits were seen, more research is needed in this area.
Fibromyalgia (chronic muscle pain and tenderness)
Myers' Cocktail is commonly used in people who have fibromyalgia. However, significant effects on symptoms were lacking in comparison to placebo. More research is needed to understand the potential benefits of this cocktail, as well as the effects of vitamin B5 alone.
Early studies show that a combination product containing vitamin B5 may improve hair structure and growth in women with hair loss. More research is needed to determine the effects of vitamin B5 alone.
Healing after photorefractive keratectomy (laser eye surgery)
Early research suggests that vitamin B5 may lack significant effects on wound healing after laser eye surgery. Further research is needed before conclusions may be made.
Calcium pantothenate has been studied for treating chronic heart failure. Although some benefit was seen in terms of heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure, more research is needed before conclusions may be made.
Inflammatory bowel disease
Early research suggests that a dexpanthenol enema (inserting liquid into the anus to clean the rectum and colon) may lack an effect on ulcerative colitis (disease of the colon). More studies are needed in this area.
Early studies suggest that an ointment containing vitamin B5 (as dexpanthenol) may help improve joint swelling after injury. However, the effect of vitamin B5 alone is unclear, and more research is needed in this area.
Early research suggests that a nose spray containing vitamin B5 (as dexpanthenol) may benefit people with nasal problems. However, the effect of vitamin B5 alone still needs to be determined.
Radiation skin irritation
Results are mixed on the effects of applying vitamin B5 (as dexpanthenol) to skin that has been irritated by radiation exposure. Skin itching, pain, peeling, and redness after radiation treatment may be improved in some studies. More research is needed.
Recovery after surgery
Early studies have looked at the effects of vitamin B5 (in the form of dexpanthenol pills) on sore throat after surgery. Effects on the stomach after surgery have also been studied. However, more research is needed in this area.
The effects of vitamin B5 (as dexpanthenol) added to a moisturizing cream have been studied. However, results are conflicting. More research is needed in this area.
Early studies suggest that skin creams containing vitamin B5 (as dexpanthenol) may help reduce irritation. However, more research is needed before conclusions may be made.
Some studies suggest that vitamin B5 taken by mouth and applied to the skin may help speed up wound healing. However, a combination therapy containing vitamin B5 has been found to lack and effect on wound healing. More research is needed before a conclusion may be made.