What is Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) and Vitamin H (Biotin)
Pantothenic acid (also known as vitamin B5) and biotin (also known as vitamin H) are types of B vitamins. They are water-soluble, which means that the body can’t store them. If the body can’t use all of the vitamin, the extra vitamins leave the body through the urine. These vitamins must be replaced in the body every day.
Pantothenic acid and biotin are needed for growth. They help the body break down and use food. This is called metabolism. They are both required for making fatty acids.
Pantothenic acid is important for our bodies to properly use carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids and for healthy skin.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) Benefits
1) Pantothenic acid also plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol. It is also used in the conversion of pyruvate.
Pantothenic acid is a vitamin, also known as vitamin B5. It is widely found in both plants and animals including meat, vegetables, cereal grains, legumes, eggs, and milk.
Vitamin B5 is commercially available as D-pantothenic acid, as well as dexpanthenol and calcium pantothenate, which are chemicals made in the lab from D-pantothenic acid.
Pantothenic acid (source 1)) is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex formulations. Vitamin B complex generally includes vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin/niacinamide), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), and folic acid. However, some products do not contain all of these ingredients and some may include others, such as biotin, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), choline bitartrate, and inositol.
Pantothenic acid is effective for treating and preventing pantothenic acid deficiency.
More evidence is needed to rate pantothenic acid for these uses.
- Athletic performance. Some research suggests that taking pantothenic acid in combination with pantethine and thiamine does not improve muscular strength or endurance in well-trained athletes.
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There is conflicting evidence regarding the usefulness of pantothenic acid in combination with large doses of other vitamins for the treatment of ADHD.
- Constipation. Early research suggests that taking dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, by mouth daily or receiving dexpanthenol shots can help treat constipation.
- Dry eyes. Early research suggests that using specific eye drops (Siccaprotect) containing dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, does not improve most symptoms of dry eyes.
- Eye trauma. Some evidence suggests that applying gel or drops containing dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, reduces some symptoms of eye trauma. However, not all research is consistent.
- Osteoarthritis. Early research suggests that pantothenic acid (given as calcium pantothenate) does not reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Recovery after surgery. There is inconsistent evidence on the potential benefits of taking pantothenic acid after surgery. Taking pantothenic acid or dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, does not seem to improve bowel function after stomach surgery. However, taking dexpanthenol by mouth might reduce other symptoms after surgery, such as sore throat.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Developing research suggests that pantothenic acid (given as calcium pantothenate) does not reduce the symptoms of arthritis in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Nasal dryness. Early research suggests that using a specific spray (Nasicur) that contains dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, helps relieve nasal dryness.
- Sinus infection. Early research suggests that using a nasal spray containing dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, after sinus surgery reduces discharge from the nose, but not other symptoms.
- Skin irritation. Research on the effects of pantothenic acid for preventing skin irritations is not consistent. Some early research suggests that a specific product (Bepanthol Handbalsam) containing dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, does not prevent skin irritation when applied to the skin. However, other research suggests that dexpanthenol ointment can prevent skin irritation.
- Sprains. Early research suggests that using a specific ointment (Hepathrombin-50,000-Salbe Adenylchemie) containing dexpanthenol, a chemical similar to pantothenic acid, as well as heparin and allantoin reduces swelling related to ankle sprains.
Pantothenic acid has a long list of uses, although there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether it is effective for most of these uses. People take pantothenic acid for treating dietary deficiencies, acne, alcoholism, allergies, baldness, asthma, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, burning feet syndrome, yeast infections, heart failure, carpal tunnel syndrome, respiratory disorders, celiac disease, colitis, conjunctivitis, convulsions, and cystitis. It is also taken by mouth for dandruff, depression, diabetic nerve pain, enhancing immune function, improving athletic performance, tongue infections, gray hair, headache, hyperactivity, low blood sugar, trouble sleeping (insomnia), irritability, low blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, muscular cramps in the legs associated with pregnancy or alcoholism, neuralgia, and obesity.
Pantothenic acid is also used orally for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, nerve pain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), enlarged prostate, protection against mental and physical stress and anxiety, reducing adverse effects of thyroid therapy in congenital hypothyroidism, reducing signs of aging, reducing susceptibility to colds and other infections, retarded growth, shingles, skin disorders, stimulating adrenal glands, chronic fatigue syndrome, salicylate toxicity, streptomycin neurotoxicity, dizziness, and wound healing.
People apply dexpanthenol, which is made from pantothenic acid, to the skin for itching, promoting healing of mild eczemas and other skin conditions, insect stings, bites, poison ivy, diaper rash, and acne. It is also applied topically for preventing and treating skin reactions to radiation therapy.
Pantothenic acid is found in foods that are good sources of B vitamins, including the following:
- Animal proteins
- Broccoli, kale, and other vegetables in the cabbage family
- Legumes and lentils
- Organ meats
- White and sweet potatoes
- Whole-grain cereals
Pantothenic Acid Safety and Efficacy
Pantothenic acid deficiency is very rare, but can cause a tingling feeling in the feet (paresthesia). Biotin deficiency may lead to muscle pain, dermatitis, or glossitis (swelling of the tongue).
Large doses of pantothenic acid do not cause symptoms, other than (possibly) diarrhea.
Pantothenic acid is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in appropriate amounts. The recommended amount for adults is 5 mg per day. Even larger amounts seem to be safe for some people, but taking larger amounts increases the chance of having side effects such as diarrhea.
Dexpanthenol, a derivative of pantothenic acid, is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin, used as a nasal spray, or injected as a shot into the muscle appropriately, short-term.
Biotin (Vitamin H) Benefits
2) Biotin is a vitamin that is found in small amounts in numerous foods and it plays a key role in the body. Biotin is used for preventing and treating biotin deficiency associated with pregnancy, long-term tube feeding, malnutrition, and rapid weight loss. It is also used orally for hair loss, brittle nails, skin rash in infants (seborrheic dermatitis), diabetes, and mild depression. (Source 2)).
Biotin is an important component of enzymes in the body that break down certain substances like fats, carbohydrates, and others.
There isn’t a good laboratory test for detecting biotin deficiency, so this condition is usually identified by its symptoms, which include thinning of the hair (frequently with loss of hair color) and red scaly rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Nervous system symptoms include depression, exhaustion, hallucinations, and tingling of the arms and legs. There is some evidence that diabetes could result in biotin deficiency.
At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for biotin. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
There is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) established for biotin.
It supports the health of the skin, nerves, digestive tract, metabolism, and cells. Biotin may also help to treat some types of nerve pathology, such as the peripheral neuropathy that can result from kidney failure or diabetes.
Biotin is effective for treating and preventing biotin deficiency.
Symptoms of deficiency include thinning of the hair (often with loss of hair color) and red scaly rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Other symptoms include depression, listlessness, hallucinations, and tingling in the arms and legs. There is some evidence that cigarette smoking may cause mild biotin deficiency.
More evidence is needed to rate biotin for these uses.
- Hair loss. There is some preliminary evidence that hair loss can be reduced when biotin is taken by mouth in combination with zinc while a cream containing the chemical compound clobetasol propionate (Olux, Temovate) is applied to the skin.
- Diabetes. Biotin alone doesn’t seem to affect blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, there is some evidence that a combination of biotin and chromium (Diachrome, Nutrition 21) might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, whose diabetes is poorly controlled by prescription medicines. Other early evidence shows that the same combination reduces ratios of total cholesterol levels to “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to HDL cholesterol, and non-HDL to HDL cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Diabetic nerve pain. There is some evidence that biotin can reduce nerve pain in people with diabetes.
- Brittle fingernails and toenails. Biotin might increase the thickness of fingernails and toenails in people with brittle nails.
Biotin is found in foods that are good sources of B vitamins, including:
- Egg yolk
- Organ meats (liver, kidney)
- Dairy products
- Soya nuts
- Swiss chard
- Wheat germ
- Whole-grain cereals
- Whole wheat bread
Biotin Safety and Efficacy
Most people don’t need biotin supplements. We get biotin in foods naturally. Our bodies also recycle the biotin we’ve already used. Genuine biotin deficiency is quite rare. There is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) established for biotin.
Biotin supplements have been studied as a treatment for a number of conditions. In people with type 2 diabetes, early research suggests that a combination of biotin and chromium might improve blood sugar. On its own, biotin might decrease insulin resistance and nerve symptoms related to type 2 diabetes.
Biotin seems to be safe and well-tolerated, even at fairly high levels. The maximum safe dose of biotin is unknown.
The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.
Biotin is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken appropriately and by mouth. Biotin is well tolerated when used at recommended dosages. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when injected into the muscles and used appropriately.
References [ + ]
|1.||↵||U.S. National Library of Medicine – Pantothenic acid [Vitamin B5] at https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/853.html|
|2.||↵||U.S. National Library of Medicine – Biotin – https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/313.html|