VITAMIN B5 – PANTOTHENIC ACID


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IMPORTANT: The information on this site should never be used to self medicate or to self diagnose.  Always contact your health care provider before using any kind of supplementation or making any extreme change in diet.

                                                                                                                                                                                 

The golden light of evening softly enveloped his world.  The leaves of hanging willow trees and the poplars were still; as were the leaves of the maple trees that were just beginning to turn.  The song birds had returned to their nests for a nights sleep.  The days were shorter; the air crisper and the land was preparing for it’s long quiet rest.

The stillness brought a deep peacefulness to Payden’s mind.   The work of spring planting, summer tending and fall harvesting were complete.

Payden sat comfortably on a large overstuffed lawn chair on the veranda which overlooked the now harvested garden.   How great was it to have produced enough fruits and vegetables to last until the following summer; planting, growing, harvesting, canning and freezing and finally resting.  It was all so deeply satisfying to participate in the cycle of nature.

He had decided to learn more about how all these fruits and vegetables were used by our bodies so his eyes moved away from the beautiful landscape back to the book in his lap.

This chapter was about pantothenic acid or vitamin B5 and much to his pleasure he read that pantothenic acid is in almost all foods.

THE JOURNEY

VITAMIN-B5-JOURNEY-FOR-WEB

 

WHAT IS PANTOTHENIC ACID?

Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid is a water soluble vitamin, an essential nutrient.  Its main purpose is for the formation of coenzyme A.  Coenzyme A is named for its acetylation reactions.  Most acetylated proteins have been altered by the addition of an acetate group of molecules donated by Coenzyme A.

OK too much chem speak?  This just means that a chemical grouping, in this case an acetate group,  is added to a protein so that it can perform differently.  Coenzyme A donates this particular chemical grouping. Pantothenic acid assists in the formation of Coenzyme A.

This addition alters the protein’s function.  This ‘protein acylation’ plays a central role in cell specialisation. The following substances are all affected by this chemical reaction.

 

WHAT DOES  PANTOTHENIC ACID DO FOR US?

Pantothenic acid’s role in life is to be part of the formation of coenzyme A. Coenzyme A, like the niacin coenzymes, is essential in a number of reactions that sustain life such as the chemical reactions (redox) that generate energy from fat, carbohydrates and proteins.

Coenzyme A is vital to synthesise or create:

1.  Essential fats:

olive-oil
Essential fats are necessary to the proper functioning of skin, hair, brain cells, nerve protection and transmission

 

2. Cholesterol:

Cholesterol is imperative to our bodies survival.

3. Steroid hormones:

Steroid hormones are steroids that act as hormones but are fat soluble and can cross through the cell membrane to help create energy in the mitochondria (the inner cell).

4. The neurotransmitter acetycholine:

When we move the neurotransmitter acetycholine activates our muscles.  When our hearts beat acetycholine is involved. It is involved when we sleep by inducing REM sleep and taking us into dreamland.  It works in the brain to induce arousal, reward and sustained attention.

5. The hormone melatonin:


open clipart johnny_automatic_child_sleepingWhen we get sleepy and fall asleep at about the same time each night it is the chemical called melatonin that induces this sleep.

6. The part of hemoglobin called heme:

When we bleed we see the dark red colour of the iron rich part of our blood called heme.

7. It also helps the liver metabolise and deal with drugs and toxins.

Because Coenzyme A needs Pantothenic acid as a component it would not be able to function without it and all these chemicals and more would not function in our bodies, in fact we simply could not live.

 

THE JOURNEY 



WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DON’T GET ENOUGH
PANTOTHENIC ACID?

The symptoms of pantothenic acid deficiency are much the same as those of other vitamin B deficiencies.  Energy levels drop causing irritability, fatigue and apathy.  However, pantothenic acid deficiency is extremely rare and can easily be reduces by ingesting food with pantothenic acid in it which apparently is in almost any food.

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GET TOO MUCH PANTOTHENIC ACID?

Getting too much is very difficult if not impossible.  Although getting over 1200 milligrams per day can cause nausea and heartburn.

 

WHERE DO WE GET PANTOTHENIC ACID?

B5-table


FACTOIDS:

Pantothenic Acid’s name comes from the Greek word ‘pantothen’ which means, from everywhere.

Small quantities of Vitamin B5 are found in almost all foods.

Pantothenic acid is essential to all forms of life.

 

References:

Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantothenic_acid

Linus Pauling Institute:

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/pa/