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Sunday, March 15, 2009

The ABC's of Vitamins - Vitamin B5

Vitamin B4 isn’t a vitamin at all (it is actually adenine a DNA metabolite synthesized by the body), and as such has been removed from the list. So that means the next vitamin is vitamin B5. And like so many of its other B-complex cousins, it too has multiple forms: pantethiene, phosphopantethiene, and phosphopantothenic acid. You will find it most commonly referred to as pantothenic acid.

Panto is greek for everywhere, and that pretty well describes this vitamin. It is so pervasive because it is part of coenzyme-A (Co-A) which is found in plants and animals. We cannot manufacture vitamin B5 and must get it from our diet so Co-A is our dietary form of pantothenic acid.

Coenzyme-A (and thus Vitamin B5) is active in many biochemical reactions in the body. It is part of the citric acid cycle (which involves the release of energy from carbohydrates, fats, and protein), necessary for synthesis of red blood cells, synthesis of essential fatty acids, cholesterol and steroid hormones. Milk has the highest amount of unbound vitamin B5 (~90%), but other good dietary sources include mushrooms, avocados, salmon, lobster, soybeans, and yeast. Deficiency is practically unheard of, except in cases of drug-interaction, so there is no recommended daily intake set, although 5mg per day is recommended. There is also been very little toxicity information available, as excess vitamin B5 is water soluble and thus excreted.

Well, we are half way through the B vitamins. I do hope you’re interested in the rest of the family, as B6 is on the sidelines waiting impatiently to be called up. Until next week, eat well & be well.

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