What is it?
Vitamin B5 is commercially available as D-pantothenic acid, as well as dexpanthenol and calcium pantothenate, which are chemicals made in the lab from D-pantothenic acid.
Pantothenic acid is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex formulations. Vitamin B complex generally includes vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin/niacinamide), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), and folic acid. However, some products do not contain all of these ingredients and some may include others, such as biotin, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), choline bitartrate, and inositol.
Pantothenic acid has a long list of uses, although there isn't enough scientific evidence to determine whether it is effective for most of these uses. People take pantothenic acid for treating dietary deficiencies, acne, alcoholism, allergies, baldness, asthma, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, burning feet syndrome, yeast infections, heart failure, carpal tunnel syndrome, breathing problems, celiac disease, colitis, pink eye (conjunctivitis), seizures, and bladder infections. It is also taken by mouth for dandruff, depression, diabetic nerve pain, enhancing immune function, improving athletic performance, tongue infections, gray hair, headache, hyperactivity, low blood sugar, trouble sleeping (insomnia), irritability, low blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, leg cramps associated with pregnancy or alcoholism, general nerve pain, and obesity.
Pantothenic acid is also taken by mouth for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's disease, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), enlarged prostate, protection against mental and physical stress and anxiety, reducing side effects of thyroid therapy for people with decreased function of the thyroid gland, reducing signs of aging, reducing the risk of getting a cold or other infection, delayed growth, shingles, skin disorders, stimulating adrenal glands, sore mouth (stomatitis), chronic fatigue syndrome, toxicity related to medications such as salicylates or streptomycin, dizziness, constipation, and wound healing. It is also used following surgery to improve movement in the intestines and to reduce sore throat.
People apply dexpanthenol, which is made from pantothenic acid, to the skin for itching, promoting healing of mild eczemas and other skin conditions, insect stings, bites, poison ivy, diaper rash, and acne. It is also applied topically for preventing and treating skin reactions to radiation therapy. It is also applie to reduce skin reactions to radiotherapy treatment, for dry eyes and eye trauma, and for sprains.
Dexpanthenol is given with a needle in to the vein or muscle to improve intestinal movement (intestinal peristalsis), possibly following surgery of the gut, for abdominal bloating (distension) due to reduced intestinal function, and for gas following surgery or pregnancy.
A nasal spray containing dexpanthenol is used to reduce the feeling of having a stuffed nose (nasal obstruction) and to reduce a runny nose (nasal discharge).
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for PANTOTHENIC ACID are as follows:
- Pantothenic acid deficiency. Taking pantothenic acid by mouth prevents and treats pantothenic acid deficiency.
Possibly ineffective for...
- Skin reactions from radiation therapy. Applying dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, to areas of irritated skin does not seem to reduce skin reactions caused by radiation therapy.
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...
- Athletic performance. Some research suggests that taking pantothenic acid in combination with pantethine and thiamine does not improve muscular strength or endurance in well-trained athletes.
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There is conflicting evidence regarding the usefulness of pantothenic acid in combination with large doses of other vitamins for the treatment of ADHD.
- Constipation. Early research suggests that taking dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, by mouth daily or receiving dexpanthenol shots can help treat constipation.
- Eye trauma. Early research shows that applying drops containing dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, reduces eye pain and discomfort after surgery to the retinal. But applying dexpanthenol ointment doesn't seem to help improve wound healing after surgery to the cornea.
- Osteoarthritis. Early research suggests that pantothenic acid (given as calcium pantothenate) does not reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Recovery of the bowels after surgery. Taking pantothenic acid or dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, does not seem to improve bowel function after gallbladder removal.
- Sore throat after surgery. Taking dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, by mouth might reduce sore throat symptoms after surgery.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Early research suggests that pantothenic acid (given as calcium pantothenate) does not reduce the symptoms of arthritis in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Nasal dryness. Early research suggests that using a specific spray (Nasicur) that contains dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, helps relieve nasal dryness.
- Sinus infection. Early research suggests that using a nasal spray containing dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, after sinus surgery reduces discharge from the nose, but not other symptoms.
- Skin irritation. Applying dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, does not seem to prevent skin irritation caused by a certain chemical in soap. But it might help treat this type of skin irritation.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Diabetic problems.
- Enhancing immune function.
- Eye infections (conjunctivitis).
- Hair loss.
- Heart problems.
- Inability to sleep (insomnia).
- Kidney disorders.
- Low blood pressure.
- Lung disorders.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Muscle cramps.
- Muscular dystrophy.
- Other conditions.
How does it work?
Are there safety concerns?
Dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid, is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin, used as a nasal spray, or injected as a shot into the muscle appropriately, short-term.
Special precautions & warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Pantothenic acid is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in recommended amounts of 6 mg per day during pregnancy and 7 mg per day during breast-feeding. However, it is not known if taking more than this amount is safe. Avoid using larger amounts of pantothenic acid.
Children: Dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid, is POSSIBLY SAFE for children when applied to the skin.
Hemophila: Do not take dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid, if you have hemophila. It might increase the risk of bleeding.
Stomach blockage: Do not receive injections of dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid, if you have a gastrointestinal blockage.
Ulcerative colitis: Use enemas containing dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid, cautiously if you have ulcerative colitis.
Are there interactions with medications?
- It is not known if this product interacts with any medicines.
Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
- Royal jelly
- Royal jelly contains significant amounts of pantothenic acid. The effects of taking royal jelly and pantothenic acid supplements together aren't known.
Are there interactions with foods?
- There are no known interactions with foods.
What dose is used?
- As a dietary supplement to prevent deficiency: 5-10 mg of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
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