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Pantothenic Acid


Pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5, is a water-soluble vitamin involved in the Kreb’s cycle of energy production and is needed to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is also essential in producing, transporting, and releasing energy from fats. Synthesis of cholesterol (needed to manufacture vitamin D and steroid hormones) depends on pantothenic acid. Pantothenic acid also activates the adrenal glands.1 Pantethine—a byproduct of pantothenic acid—has been reported to lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

What Are Star Ratings?

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
3 Stars
High Cholesterol
300 mg pantethine taken two to four times per day
Pantethine, a byproduct of vitamin B5 metabolism, may help reduce the amount of cholesterol made by the body.
, a byproduct of (pantothenic acid) metabolism with a critical role in converting fatty acids into energy, may reduce cholesterol levels by inhibiting cholesterol synthesis in the body.  In a randomized placebo-controlled trial that included 32 subjects with low to moderate heart disease risk participating in a healthy lifestyle intervention program, treatment with pantethine, at a dose of 600 mg per day for eight weeks followed by 900 mg per day for another eight weeks, resulted in an 11% reduction in LDL-cholesterol levels, while placebo resulted in no significant change. In addition, 6% and 8% reductions in total and non-HDL-cholesterol levels, respectively, were seen in the pantethine group, but no significant changes were seen in the placebo group.In a similar trial conducted by the same research group that included 120 participants with low to moderate heart disease risk, the 16-week pantethine treatment protocol reduced total cholesterol levels by 3% and LDL-cholesterol levels by 4% relative to placebo. Several uncontrolled trials have also found that pantethine, at doses of 300 mg two to four times per day, improved cholesterol levels. A meta-analysis of findings from 28 clinical trials including 646 participants with high cholesterol levels found pantethine, when taken in doses of 600–1,200 mg daily, reduced total and LDL-cholesterol levels and increased HDL-cholesterol levels; in addition, the analysis suggested beneficial effects on lipid levels may not be fully realized until 16 weeks of treatment with pantethine. Common pantothenic acid has not been reported to have any effect on high blood cholesterol.
3 Stars
High Triglycerides
300 mg pantethine three times per day
Pantethine, a byproduct of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), has been shown to lower triglyceride levels in several clinical trials.

is a byproduct of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). Several clinical trials have shown that 300 mg of pantethine taken three times per day will lower TG levels. Pantothenic acid, which is found in most B vitamins, does not have this effect.

2 Stars
Rheumatoid Arthritis
2,000 mg daily
People with rheumatoid arthritis may be partially deficient in pantothenic acid. In one trial, taking pantothenic acid resulted in less morning stiffness, disability, and pain.

Research suggests that people with RA may be partially deficient in (vitamin B5). In one placebo-controlled trial, those with RA had less morning stiffness, disability, and pain when they took 2,000 mg of pantothenic acid per day for two months.

1 Star
Acne Vulgaris
Refer to label instructions
In a preliminary trial, taking panthothenic acid supplements and applying a topical cream improved moderate acne in two months and severe acne within six months.

In a preliminary trial, people with acne were given 2.5 grams of orally four times per day, for a total of 10 grams per day—a remarkably high amount. A cream containing 20% pantothenic acid was also applied topically four to six times per day. With moderate acne, near-complete relief was seen within two months, while severe conditions took at least six months to respond. Eventually, the intake of pantothenic acid was reduced to 1 to 5 grams per day—still a very high amount.

How It Works

How to Use It

Most people do not need to supplement with pantothenic acid. However, the 10–25 mg found in many multivitamin supplements might improve pantothenic acid status. So-called primitive human diets provided greater amounts of this nutrient than is found in modern diets. Most cholesterol researchers using pantethine have given people 300 mg three times per day (total 900 mg).

Where to Find It

Liver, yeast, and salmon have high concentrations of pantothenic acid, but most other foods, including vegetables, dairy, eggs, grains, and meat, also provide some pantothenic acid.

Possible Deficiencies

Pantothenic acid deficiencies may occur in people with alcoholism but are generally believed to be rare.

Best Form to Take

Calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5) is the most commonly used form of supplemental pantothenic acid for oral administration. Dexpanthenol (also called D-pantothenyl alcohol or D-panthenol) is the most commonly used injectable form of pantothenic acid. There has been no research comparing the effectiveness of these different forms of vitamin B5.2


Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

Pantothenic acid works together with vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin B3 to help make the fuel our bodies run on—ATP.

There is one report of a 76-year-old woman who developed a life-threatening condition (eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion) while taking 300 mg of pantothenic acid per day and 10 mg of biotin per day.3 However, it is not clear whether the vitamins caused the problem.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Side Effects

No serious side effects have been reported, even at intakes of up to 10,000 mg (10 grams) per day. Very large amounts of pantothenic acid (several grams per day) can cause diarrhea.


1. Fidanza A. Therapeutic action of pantothenic acid. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1983;suppl 24:53-67 [review].

2. Gaby, AR. Nutritional Medicine. Concord, NH: Fritz Perlberg Publishing, 2011.

3. Debourdeau PM, Djezzar S, Estival JL, et al. Life-threatening eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion related to vitamins B5 and H. Ann Pharmacother 2001;35:424-6.

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How It Works

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