What are the dangers of pantothenic acid deficiency or overdose? Read this article to know more about the vitamin B5 dosage. Here, I examine the correct doses of vitamin B5 in infants, children, and adults.
I also describe toxicity, causes, and symptoms of both deficiency and overdose of this natural acid.
How Much Pantothenic Acid Should I Take?
For normal maintenance of the body, a dose of 4-7 mg daily is recommended by experts for adults.
The amount that should be taken also depends on age and condition for use. Below is the USDA recommended daily intake of pantothenic acid or vitamin B5 for different age groups:
- 1.7 mg for 0-6 months infant
- 1.8 mg for 7-12 months infants
- 2 mg- 1-3 years
- 3 mg for 4-8 years
- 4 mg for 9-13 years
- 5 mg for 14 and over, both men and women
- 6 mg for pregnant women
- 7 mg for breastfeeding women
What is Pantothenic Acid Deficiency?
Pantothenic acid deficiency is marked by too little amount of vitamin B5. Although rare, deficiency symptoms have been reported in some people with severe malnutrition and starvation.
Individuals with vitamin B5 deficiency will experience symptoms that include headache, insomnia, and tingling of hands and feet.
Causes of Pantothenic Acid Deficiency
Pantothenic acid deficiency in adults is very rare. This is because vitamin B5 is found in so many foods from fruits to vegetables and animal products like liver and kidney.
However, severe malnutrition is the primary cause of vitamin B5 deficiency.
Other causes include alcohol, contraceptives, or birth control pills and poor absorption of vitamins and minerals due to intestinal disorders or medical conditions.
In this regard, alcoholic people, women taking birth control pills and contraceptives, and those with impaired absorption of vitamins are at high risk of vitamin B5 deficiency.
The deficiency of this acid in the body can be experimentally induced by administering kinase acid inhibitors and an acid-deficient diet.
In such cases, persons experience symptoms of pantothenic acid deficiency like fatigue, headache, lack of feeling in feet, and insomnia among others.
Symptoms of Vitamin B5 Deficiency
It is important to be wary of common symptoms associated with a lack of vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid in the body.
These vitamins are commonly found in most plants and animal products including cabbages, legumes, and mushrooms as well as nuts, fish, eggs, milk, and dairy products.
It is for this reason that deficiency of vitamin B5 is rare, but they do exist nonetheless. Always be on the lookout for common symptoms.
Symptoms of vitamin B5 deficiency are similar to those of other vitamin B deficiencies in the body. They are usually attributed to impaired production of energy due to low levels of CoA such as fatigue, irritation, and apathy.
They are also associated with impaired synthesis of Acetylcholine leading to neurological symptoms like muscle cramps, numbness, and paresthesia.
Hypoglycemia is another symptom of vitamin B5 deficiency as a result of increased insulin sensitivity as insulin binds to insulin receptors due to decreased acylation. Other common symptoms of vitamin B5 deficiency include:
- Vomiting and restlessness
- Sleep disturbances and malaise
- Muscle contraction and cramps
- Insomnia and anemia
- Abnormal skin development
- Abdominal cramps
How to Treat Pantothenic Acid Deficiency
Deficiency of vitamin 5B or pantothenic acid is treated in two main ways – consumption of foods rich in vitamin B and intake of pantothenic acid supplements.
For treatment of vitamin B5 deficiency, the following foods are recommended:
- Beef liver (96%)
- Avocado (40%)
- Sunflower seeds (40%)
- Duck meat (31%)
- Mushrooms (30%)
- Eggs (30%).
Others include lemon, sun-dried tomatoes, Lentils, Yogurt, and broccoli.
Supplementation is also used to reverse the deficiency of vitamin B5 in the body. Note that most multivitamin supplements contain vitamin B5 in sufficient amounts for normal body functions.
It is important to check for the labels to ascertain the amount of vitamin B5 contained therein to avoid possible overdose, which can cause diarrhea, gastrointestinal disorders, and excessive bleeding.
Pantothenic Acid Overdose – What Is It?
Pantothenic acid overdose refers to the intake of more than recommended amount of 5-7 grams per day in the US. The recommended dose in the UK is 17 mg and 13 mg for men and women respectively.
Any amount above the recommended ones is considered an overdose.
Please note that recommended dose is sufficient for the normal functioning of the body, but too much can cause adverse effects like diarrhea.
What causes pantothenic acid overdose?
It is still possible to overdose on vitamin B5 through excessive intake. Any amount above 10 g is considered an overdose according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
This creates an excess amount of vitamin B5 in the body which may not be easily excreted through urine.
Kidney failure may lead to the accumulation of vitamin B5 in the body as it fails to filter them from the blood for excretion from the body through the urine.
Note that regular intake of a balanced diet has sufficient vitamin B5 hence any additional intake of supplements could cause an overdose.
For those on supplements, it is important to adhere to instructions on the labels and doctor’s prescription if any. Always check for instructions and content on commercial supplements.
Pantothenic acid overdose treatment
Even though the excess amount of pantothenic acid is easily excreted through urine, overdose can be harmful. Treatment for vitamin B5 overdose usually involves the reduction of supplements.
It is also treated by administering a kinase acid inhibitor for vitamin B5 and consumption of a pantothenic acid-deficient diet.
Pantothenic Acid Toxicity
The toxicity of pantothenic acid occurs when they accumulate in the body to cause adverse effects.
Any consumed vitamins and minerals should be absorbed into the blood system and excess amount excreted outside; vitamin B5 is no exception.
Toxicity of vitamin B5 can only occur when too much of this vitamin is taken or when the body is unable to absorb or filter excess amount for excretion from the body.
Pantothenic acid from most is usually in CoA OR Acyl carrier protein form. For absorption into intestinal cells, it has to be transformed into free pantothenic acid.
The CoA and ACP are hydrolyzed to form phosphopantetheine and eventually pantetheine.
The intestinal enzyme hydrolyzes them into free pantothenic acid for absorption into cells and some are absorbed through passive diffusion. However, a high intake of more than 10g may interfere with the absorption process.
Is Pantothenic Acid Toxic?
The toxicity of pantothenic acid is very unlikely. However, massive doses of this vitamin can cause diarrhea and mild distress to the gastrointestinal tract. Yes, excessive intake of pantothenic acid can be toxic to the body.
Nonetheless, there are no adverse reactions for ingested and injected as well as topical application of this acid on the skin.
How to control Pantothenic Acid Toxicity
The toxicity of pantothenic acid can be controlled by taking the recommended amount. Regular intake of a balanced diet will also provide a sufficient amount of vitamin B5 to avoid the intake of supplements.
Natural vitamin B5 in foods is the best for human consumption because they have no synthetic chemicals.
Always check and comply with instructions on the labels, as well as the doctor’s prescription. Also, buy supplements recommended by FDA and other government agencies because they meet will meet required health standards.
For those with allergic reactions, and pregnant and breastfeeding women, seek advice from your doctor before taking pantothenic acid supplements.
All said and done, vitamin B5 (be it from foods or supplements) has overwhelming benefits for the normal functioning of the body.
READ MORE: Functions of Vitamin B5 in the human body.