Pantothenic Acid

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Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, is essential and found throughout living cells in the form of coenzyme A (CoA), a vital coenzyme in numerous chemical reactions. CoA is required for chemical reactions that generate energy from food (fat, carbohydrates, and proteins). The synthesis of essential fats, cholesterol, and steroid hormones requires CoA. Metabolism of a number of drugs and toxins by the liver requires CoA.

Pantothenic acid is available in a variety of foods such as liver and kidney, yeast, egg yolk, broccoli, fish, shellfish, chicken, milk, yogurt, legumes, mushrooms, avocado, and sweet potatoes are all good sources. Whole grains are good sources of Pantothenic acid, but processing and refining grains may result in a 35% to 75% loss. Freezing and canning of foods have been found to result in similar losses.

Naturally occurring Pantothenic acid deficiency in humans is extremely rare and has been observed only in cases of severe malnutrition. World War II prisoners in the Philippines, Burma, and Japan experienced numbness and painful burning and tingling in their feet, which was relieved through Pantothenic acid use. Because it is so rare, most information regarding the effects of Pantothenic acid deficiency comes from experimental research in animals.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine felt the existing scientific evidence was insufficient to calculate a RDA for Pantothenic acid, so they set an Adequate Intake level (AI). The AI for Pantothenic acid was based on estimated dietary intakes in healthy population groups and is set at 5 mg of Pantothenic acid per day. The only adverse effect noted was diarrhea resulting from very high intakes of 10 to 20 grams/day of calcium D-pantothenate. Oral contraceptives containing estrogen and progestin may increase the requirement for Pantothenic acid.

If it occurs naturally in our bodies and rarely is there a case of Pantothenic deficiency so there should be no reason why a person would want to supplement with Pantothenic. Beyond that, there is nothing in the scientific data that supports the use of Pantothenic acid in weight loss.

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