The Many Benefits of Vitamin B5
There are quite a number of health benefits of vitamin B5. Vitamin B5 is also known as pantothenic acid. Many fruits and vegetables are rich sources of this vitamin. Vitamin B5 is present in some meats as well.
Vitamin B was once thought to be a single vitamin. It was eventually discovered that there are eight different vitamins that make up vitamin B, although these eight vitamins, known as the B-complex vitamins, very often occur together in the same food source. Each of the B-complex vitamins plays an important role in one’s health. There are in fact a much larger number of chemical compounds that are considered to be B complex vitamins, but in any discussion of Vitamin B, the number of complex vitamins referred to is usually eight.
Thiamine, Niacin, and Iron
Two of the B-complex are especially well known. In the past these two were almost always mentioned, along with iron, in the promotion of breakfast cereals. These two are vitamin B1, more widely known as niacin, and vitamin B3, more widely known as thiamine. Vitamin B2, usually referred to as riboflavin, is also quite often mentioned when the discussion turns to promotion of various food items.
The Benefits of Vitamin B in the Body
Vitamin B5 is not mentioned quite as often, but that in no any way means it is of any lesser importance. This vitamin is involved in the oxidation of carbohydrates and fatty acids. The body also synthesizes an enzyme, called coenzyme A. This enzyme in turn helps to synthesize a number of important chemicals and compounds in the body. These include steroid hormones, cholesterol, ketones, amino and fatty acids, and various antibodies and neurotransmitters. Vitamin B5 is a somewhat complex molecule. Its chemical formula is C9H17NO5. It, like the other B vitamins, is soluble in water.
One of the major benefits of vitamin B5 lies in its relationship with the adrenal gland. The vitamin does a lot in keeping this important gland healthy, and keeping the stress hormones the gland produces at an optimum level. As the vitamin helps to synthesize cholesterol, it also keeps the levels of cholesterol in balance. In other words it tends to raise the level of the good cholesterol, HDL, and lower the level of the bad cholesterol, LDL.
The Use of Vitamin B Supplements
Vitamin B5 supplements have been shown to relieve the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Those who have this disease have quite often been diagnosed as having a deficiency in this vitamin. That suggests that vitamin B5 may in someway be involved in a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but that has yet to be proven. There have also been many instances where vitamin B5 supplements have reduced certain symptoms of diabetes. Again, this might suggest that the vitamin could play a role in finding a cure for the disease, but as in the case with arthritis, this also remains to be proven.
The benefits of vitamin B5 extend to the treatment of certain allergies. It also supports the immune system in fighting off infection. This vitamin is sometimes prescribed following surgery as is promotes the healing process.
Compounds produced from pantothenic acid, applied topically, are effective in healing eczema and treating cases of itching. It is effective in lessening the effects of insect bites on the skin, as well as acting as a cure for diaper rash. Compounds containing or produced from pantothenic acid have also proven to be effective against acne. Some doctors and hospitals apply these formulations to the skin to prevent or heal skin damage that can sometimes occur as a result of radiation therapy.
Vitamin B5 is taken orally to treat a wide variety of disorders. Some of these include heart disease, congenital hypothyroidism, shingles, chronic fatigue syndrome, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This should not imply that vitamin B5 is a cure-all. Taking supplements of this vitamin appears to alleviate the symptoms of some of these diseases and disorders for some people, yet does little if anything to benefit others. In almost all cases, there’s a lack of scientific evidence to show how helpful the vitamin actually is, and if it is helpful, what the recommended dosages should be.
Vitamin B5 has few side effects and is generally regarded as safe to take in supplement form. The body needs to be continually supplied with this vitamin, but deficiencies are rare. The foods that make up a normal diet contain generous amounts of this vitamin. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be cautioned to take only low dosages in supplement form. This is not because higher dosages are known to be harmful, but because the risks in taking higher dosages, if any, are simply not known. One group of people who would best avoid taking vitamin B5 supplements would be hemophiliacs. Vitamin B5 tends to increase the time it takes for bleeding to stop. Vitamin B5, pantothenic acid, has no known negative interactions with other vitamins or medications. The recommended daily dosages when taken as a supplement vary from 1.5 milligrams for infants and small children, to 6 milligrams for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and between 5 and 20 milligrams for the general population.