Vitamin B5 Deficiency

General text about the lack of vitamins can be found here.

 

Vitamin B5 is also known as pantothenic acid. It belongs to the group of water-soluble vitamins. Our body is unable to produce the panthotenic acid and therefore we must take it in the diet. Pantothenic acid is present in many foods – we find it in cereals, eggs, legumes and offal. Vitamin B5 is necessary for proper formation of coenzyme A, which is a substance essential for many metabolic processes including fatty acid metabolism and basic cellular metabolism.

Causes

The isolated deficiency of vitamin B5 is quite rare and it is more commonly a part of the lack of whole B-complex. The risk of panthotenic acid deficiency is higher in patients with inadequate intake of nutrients (for example people suffering from anorexia nervosa) and in chronic alcoholics. Lack of vitamins including B5 deficiency may occur in patients with malabsorption syndrome of the digestive tract.

Symptoms

As the pantothenic acid is widespread in many foods, its serious deficiency with clinical symptoms is rare. The affected person may suffer from fatigue, mood swings, loss of appetite, bouts of abdominal pain, muscle cramps and symptoms of polyneuropathy (tingling sensations of the extremities, disturbances of sensitivity and motoric skills). Given that pantothenic acid is also important in glucose metabolism, its absence may cause episodes of symptomatic hypoglycemia.

Diagnosis

The lack of B5 vitamin can be predicted in all risky patients (see Causes) no matter the presence of symptoms.

Treatment

The best solution is to increase the dietary intake of panthotenic acid and when it is not possible, the vitamin must be regularly administered in form of dietary supplements. A clinically important overdose with B5 vitamin is practically impossible.