INDEX

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)

Background

  • 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.

Scientific Evidence

Uses

Grade*

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.

A

Eye problems

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.

B

Sinus infection

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.

B

Arthritis

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.

C

Athletic performance

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.

C

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.

C

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.

C

Burns

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.

C

Cognitive performance

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.

C

Constipation

Vitamin B5 as Bepanthene® (dexpanthenol) has been studied for the treatment of constipation. Although benefits were seen, more research is needed in this area.

C

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.

C

Hair growth

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.

C

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.

C

Heart disease

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.

C

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.

C

Joint problems

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.

C

Nasal problems

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.

C

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.

C

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.

C

Skin care

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.

C

Skin problems

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.

C

Wound healing

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.

C

*Key to grades:

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use;

B: Good scientific evidence for this use;

C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use;

D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work);

F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).

Tradition

  • Acne, adrenal gland stimulation, aging, alcoholism, allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, asthma, autism, bladder inflammation, burning feet syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, celiac disease, cold prevention, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), dandruff, dental conditions, depression, diabetic nerve pain, diaper rash, dizziness, fatigue, glossitis (tongue inflammation), growth, hair tonic, headache, high cholesterol, hypertriglyceridemia (high triglycerides), immune enhancer, infection, insect bites, irritability, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, lung disorders, lupus (inflammation), mouth and throat inflammation, multiple sclerosis, muscle cramps, muscle wasting, nerve pain, neuroprotection (protects nervous system), pain from nerve disorders, Parkinson’s disease, peristalsis stimulation (injected dexpanthenol), plaque, poison ivy, poisoning, postoperative ileus (blocked bowel after surgery), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), prostate inflammation, rash, reducing body fat mass, seizure, shingles, sleep aid, stress, thyroid disease (thyroid therapy side effect prevention), weight loss, yeast infection.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • The U.S. Institute of Medicine suggests a daily adequate intake (AI) of five milligrams of vitamin B5 daily for people over 19. The AI is six milligrams daily for pregnant women and seven milligrams daily for breastfeeding women.

  • Vitamin B5 is often used with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex formulas. In supplements, it may be found as calcium pantothenate.

  • To treat arthritis, one 500-milligram tablet of calcium pantothenate has been taken by mouth daily for two days, then twice daily for three days, then three times daily for four days, then four times daily, for a total of two months.

  • To treat constipation, 400 milligrams of vitamin B5 has been taken daily by mouth in tablet form for five days.

  • To improve hair growth and reduce hair loss in women, 100 milligrams of calcium pantothenate has been taken by mouth twice daily for 4-5 months.

  • To improve recovery after surgery, two milliliters of pantothenic acid (Bepantol, Roche) has been taken by mouth once daily for three days. Two vitamin B5 pills (200 milligrams) have been taken by mouth 30 minutes before surgery.

  • To treat eye problems, eye drops containing vitamin B5 (Siccaprotect®) have been applied to the eyes five times daily for six weeks. Two drops of five percent D-panthenol have been applied to the eyes four times daily for 28 days after surgery. An eye gel containing five percent provitamin B5 has been applied to the eye for 15 minutes.

  • To treat skin problems, a vitamin B5-containing cream (Bepanthen®) has been applied to the skin twice daily for seven days.

  • To treat nasal problems, 100 microliters of a vitamin B5 spray has been sprayed into the nose four times daily for up to four weeks.

  • To treat sinus inflammation, a vitamin B5 nose spray (Mar®Plus) has been used before surgery, four times daily during the first, second, fourth, and sixth weeks.

  • To treat constipation, two vials of 500 milligrams of vitamin B5 have been injected into the muscles daily for five days.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • The following daily adequate intake (AI) have been suggested: 1.7 milligrams for infants ages 0-6 months old; 1.8 milligrams for infants 7-12 months old; two milligrams for children 1-3 years old; three milligrams for children 4-8 years old; four milligrams for children ages 9-13 years old; and five milligrams for adolescents ages 14-18 years old.

  • There is not enough evidence to recommend specific doses for children, except in amounts found in foods or multivitamins.

References

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  2. Baumeister M, Buhren J, Ohrloff C, et al. Corneal re-epithelialization following phototherapeutic keratectomy for recurrent corneal erosion as in vivo model of epithelial wound healing. Ophthalmologica 2009;223(6):414-418. View Abstract
  3. Becker-Schiebe M, Mengs U, Schaefer M, et al. Topical use of a silymarin-based preparation to prevent radiodermatitis : results of a prospective study in breast cancer patients. Strahlenther.Onkol. 2011;187(8):485-491. View Abstract
  4. Castello M and Milani M. Efficacy of topical hydrating and emollient lotion containing 10% urea ISDIN(R) plus dexpanthenol (Ureadin Rx 10) in the treatment of skin xerosis and pruritus in hemodialyzed patients: an open prospective pilot trial. G.Ital.Dermatol.Venereol. 2011;146(5):321-325. View Abstract
  5. Daeschlein G, Alborova J, Patzelt A, et al. Kinetics of physiological skin flora in a suction blister wound model on healthy subjects after treatment with water-filtered infrared-A radiation. Skin Pharmacol.Physiol 2012;25(2):73-77. View Abstract
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  7. Ivy JL, Kammer L, Ding Z, et al. Improved cycling time-trial performance after ingestion of a caffeine energy drink. Int.J.Sport Nutr.Exerc.Metab 2009;19(1):61-78. View Abstract
  8. Jerajani HR, Mizoguchi H, Li J, et al. The effects of a daily facial lotion containing vitamins B3 and E and provitamin B5 on the facial skin of Indian women: a randomized, double-blind trial. Indian J.Dermatol.Venereol.Leprol. 2010;76(1):20-26. View Abstract
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  11. Mets MA, Ketzer S, Blom C, et al. Positive effects of Red Bull(R) Energy Drink on driving performance during prolonged driving. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2011;214(3):737-745. View Abstract
  12. Minushkin ON, Ardatskaia MD, Chicherin II. [Fructooligo- and fructopoly-saccharides in correction and prevention of intestinal microbiocenosis disorders in patients with bronchopulmonary pathology receiving antibacterial therapy]. Eksp.Klin.Gastroenterol. 2011;(3):79-87. View Abstract
  13. Shibata K, Fukuwatari T, Watanabe T, et al. Intra- and inter-individual variations of blood and urinary water-soluble vitamins in Japanese young adults consuming a semi-purified diet for 7 days. J.Nutr.Sci.Vitaminol.(Tokyo) 2009;55(6):459-470. View Abstract
  14. Tantilipikorn P, Tunsuriyawong P, Jareoncharsri P, et al. A randomized, prospective, double-blind study of the efficacy of dexpanthenol nasal spray on the postoperative treatment of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis after endoscopic sinus surgery. J.Med.Assoc.Thai. 2012;95(1):58-63. View Abstract
  15. Zollner C, Mousa S, Klinger A, et al. Topical fentanyl in a randomized, double-blind study in patients with corneal damage. Clin.J.Pain 2008;24(8):690-696. View Abstract