Vitamin b5

Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid

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A Course In Nutrition:  Learning Your A, B, C’s

Welcome back to Part 5 of our multiple-part series on Vitamins.

In the last blog, we talked about:

  • the importance of Vitamin B3 – Niacin
  • what health challenges occur when there is a deficiency
  • what foods are packed with this very important vitamin
  • and, an easy recipe to make sure you’re eating enough Vitamin B3 daily

B Vitamins:

In today’s blog, we will talk about Vitamin B5, also known as Pantothenic Acid.

So… how many of you picked up on the fact that I did not do a blog for Vitamin B4? I went straight from B3-Niacin to B5-Panthothenic Acid? 

Well, there is a nutrient – B4, known as adenine. It used to be called a vitamin, but got down-graded by the scientific community (much like Pluto was down-graded as a planet. This is what they said: “Adenine is no longer labeled as a vitamin, as it no longer fits the official definition of a vitamin; essential and required for normal human growth and required to be obtained by diet because it can’t be manufactured by the human body.” This has also been applied to Vitamins B8, 10 and 11, so I won’t be writing a specific blog about those nutrients in this series. However, I will definitely write a blog about these ‘down-graded’ vitamins when I am done with this series.

As a brief reminder, all the B vitamins are water-soluble, so Pantothenic Acid is no exception. (Remember, this means your body can’t store a large amount of this vitamin and needs to get a good supply each and every day.)

 Additionally, as has been mentioned, the B vitamins play a crucial role in converting the food you eat into an energy source your body can use. Yet again, Pantothenic Acid is no exception. It, too, plays an important role in energy production.

Key Roles of Pantothenic Acid:

Additionally, Vitamin B5 plays a role in:

  • Blood cell formation
    • Can’t function well without a good blood supply, right?
  • Mucus formation
    • Moistens your eyes, ears, nose, mouth and genitals
      • Mucus is the first line of defense in your immune system
  • Converting the hormone serotonin into melatonin
    • This conversion is crucial for getting a good night’s sleep

So, if we need Vitamin B5 for energy production, blood cell production, immune system support and a good night’s sleep, you can see how it would be important to make sure you have enough of this vitamin in your system every single day.


Some people in the scientific community feel that it’s very difficult to become deficient in this vitamin. Others tend to disagree and feel that it’s fairly easy to become deficient, especially for those who eat a standard American diet and drink alcohol on a regular basis.

Symptoms of a B5 deficiency are likely to include:

  • headache
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • impaired muscle coordination
  • gastrointestinal problems

As I’ve mentioned in the other blogs on the B vitamins, if these symptoms go away, or ease up, after adding specific foods (or supplements), it’s a fair bet that you did, indeed, have a deficiency of this vitamin.

Adequate Intake:

The recommended dietary intake for Pantothenic Acid is:

  • 5 mg for adults
  • 6 mg for pregnant women
  • 7 mg for nursing mothers

Many nutritionists recommend aiming for 10 mg per day for most adults.

Food Sources:

Once again, I’ll give you 3 guesses as to the food with the highest source of Vitamin B5…..and the first two guesses don’t count. 

At some point it will be important for you to recognize that LIVER is a vital food with many, many health benefits. (See, your mother and grandmother knew what they were talking about.

This series of blogs is highlighting the adequate intake of each and every vitamin that is crucial to your optimal health. I’m also highlighting the foods with the highest value of these vitamins, so that you can create a menu that will improve your health on a daily basis. As you’re able to see, so far, every single vitamin we’ve covered puts LIVER at the top of the list for nutrient content. (That will change, when we get to Vitamin C. But, for now, LIVER is our ‘go-to’ food.)

Here’s a list of foods that will help you get to 5-10 mgs per day:

  • Liver – 3 ounces 8.3 mgs
  • Shitake mushrooms, cooked, ½ cup pieces 2.6 mgs
  • Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup 2.4 mgs
  • Chicken breast – 3 ounce 1.3 mgs
  • Tuna – 3 ounces 1.2 mgs
  • Avocados, raw, ½ avocado 1.0 mgs
  • Mushrooms, white, cooked, ½ cup sliced 0.8 mgs
  • Potatoes, with skin, baked, 1 medium 0.7 mgs
  • Egg, hard boiled, 1 large 0.7 mgs

Common fruits and veggies, like apples, oranges, tomatoes lettuce and cabbage have very little, if any, pantothenic acid. Oats, rice and beans tend to have about 0.4 mgs per serving. So, if you are vegan or vegetarian, you might need to consider supplementing with a B-complex to meet your needs. We’ll talk more about that option towards the end of this series.


The goal of this blog series is to give you the tools you need to understand the roles of each individual vitamin and how deficiencies can impact your overall health. For some of you, it’s likely that several deficiencies are happening simultaneously. You know better than anyone else the foods and drinks you are consuming on a regular basis. It might be a great idea to have a Nutrition Therapist on your side, as you begin your journey to improved health. In today’s modern world, it’s fairly easy to find someone to help you ‘in person’ or ‘on line’. If this sounds like you, I hope you’ll reach out. There are many excellent therapists who will be thrilled to help.

For others, the information you receive while reading this series will help you to tweak your nutrition a bit to reach the health goals you’ve set for yourselves. And, lastly, I hope that some of you are intrigued enough by what you are reading, that you’ll consider going back to school to become a Nutrition Therapist.  Regaining real health, through better nutrition, is a beautiful thing that offers long-lasting results.


I’ll ask you to revisit my blog on Vitamin A and Vitamin B1 to pick up the recipes for liver. And I really hope you’ll be brave enough to slowly incorporate this superfood to your dietary routine.

Today, I’ll give you a ‘liver-free’ recipe to meet your daily needs of Pantothenic Acid.

cheesy stuffed tomatoes

Tuna and Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

Recipe yields 6 servings

  • 6 large tomatoes
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 (12 ounce) can albacore tuna in water, drained and flaked
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped cucumber
  • ½ cup finely chopped shitake mushrooms
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder, or to taste
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes, for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato, and gently scoop out pulp and seeds, leaving a 1/2 inch wall. Finely dice 1/2 cup of the pulp and set aside. Season the inside of each hollowed tomato with pinches of salt and pepper.
  3. Mix reserved diced tomato pulp, goat cheese, mascarpone cheese, tuna, red onion, cucumber, mushrooms, red pepper, celery, garlic, and sesame seeds in a large bowl.
  4. Scoop mixture into tomato shells up to the top of each tomato. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle each tomato with sunflower seeds, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, onion powder, salt, and pepper. If desired, sprinkle each tomato with parsley flakes and Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, then broil right before serving until tops are lightly browned, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Bon Appetit! Thank you, Linda Glenn of Allrecipes for sharing this yummy treat.

About the author:  Dr Becky Spacke is a course instructor at Nutrition Therapy Institute. Additionally, she has a private practice focused on minimizing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease as a qualified ReCODE practitioner. You can learn more about her work at



Recipe image by Dr. Becky Spacke

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