Pantothenic acid (PA), a B-complex vitamin, is essential for humans and
animals for growth, reproduction, and normal physiological functions. It is
a precursor of the coenzymes, CoA and acyl carrier protein of fatty acid synthase,
which are involved in more than 100 different metabolic pathways including
energy metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, and the synthesis
of lipids, neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, porphyrins and hemoglobin.
Deficiencies: Pantothenic acid deficiency has been induced in animals
when fed natural feedstuffs containing low levels of pantothenic acid. Deficient
animals had growth retardation with reduced food intake, functional impairments
in all systems and sudden death. Pantothenic acid deficiency has also been
induced in humans by use of a metabolic antagonist, w-methyl pantothenic acid
along with a pantothenic acid-deficient diet. Signs and symptoms reported
include depression, personality changes, cardiac instability, frequent infection,
fatigue, abdominal pains, sleep disturbances and neurological disorders including
numbness, paresthesia (abnormal sensation such as "burning feet" syndrome),
muscle weakness and cramps. Biochemical changes include increased insulin
sensitivity, lowered blood cholesterol, decreased serum potassium, and failure
of adrenocorticotropin to induce eosinopenia.
Recommendations: The Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intakes
of pantothenic acid are: 2 mg for infants 0-0.5 yr; 3 mg for children 0.5-3
yrs; 3-4 mg for children 4-6 yrs; 4-5 mg for children 7-10 yrs; 4-7 mg for
children 11+ yrs and adults. The average American diet provides 2-3 mg pantothenic
acid/1000 kcal or 4-6 mg pantothenic acid/2000 kcal, which is within the range
of the suggested intake.
Food sources: Pantothenic acid is found in many foodstuffs. Good
sources of the vitamin (>1 mg/ serving) include organ meats, lobsters, poultry,
soybeans, lentils, split peas, yogurt, eggnog, avocado, mushroom, sweet potato.
Pantothenic acid loss during processing is significant, as it is stable in
neutral solution but is readily destroyed by heat in either alkali or acid.
Toxicity: In humans, the only reported symptom after intakes of
10 to 20 g calcium pantothenic acid was diarrhea.
Recent research: A pantothenic acid derivative, pantethine (two
molecules of pantetheine joined by a disulfide bond), has been reported to
have a hypocholesterolemic effect. A metabolic antagonist of pantothenic acid,
pantoyl g-amino butyric acid (called pantoyl-GABA, homopantothenate, or hopantothenate),
is widely used in Japan as an antidementia drug for treating cognitive impairments
in pathological states such as Alzheimer's disease, presumably through increasing
cholinergic activity in vivo. Reyes-like syndrome has
been reported in patients using pantoyl-GABA, presumably due to pantothenic
acid deficiency. Other recent studies have shown that uptake and metabolism
of pantothenic acid seem to differ among organs and tissues. Fetal growth
retardation and death reported in pantothenic acid deficient animals are due
to impaired placental function.
For further information:
Song, W.O. (1990) Pantothenic acid - How much do we know about this B-vitamin?
Nutr. Today 25: 19-26
Tahiliani, A.G. & Beinlich, C.J. (1991) Pantothenic acid in health and
disease. Vitamins and Hormones 46: 165-228
Annous, K.F., Song, W.O. (1995) Pantothenic acid uptake and metabolism
by the red blood cell. J. Nutr. 125: 2586-2593.
Minerals: Formula Plus