The term "Pantos" means "everywhere" in Greek. It is
from this term that the name Pantothenic Acid or more commonly known as
Vitamin B5 is derived.
Pantothenic acid is a form of vitamin manufactured by plants. Mammals do
not manufacture this vitamin intrinsically. But, fortunately, we can
obtain substantial amounts of this acid in our diet.
If our bodies do
not have enough of this acid, we can develop a rare form of disease call
Pantothenic acid deficiency.
The recommended daily dosage has yet to be established. However, some scientists
have given an estimation with regards to the safe and adequate daily dietary
intake as follows:-
below 6 months
6 to 12 months
1 to 3 years
4 to 6 years
to 4 mg
7 to 10 years
to 5 mg
11 years and above
to 7 mg
type of food should we eat to obtain adequate levels of pantothenic acid?
Doctors say that Brewer's yeast, torula (nutritional) yeast and calf
liver are excellent sources of pantothenic acid. In addition, we can also
eat peanuts, split peas, pecan nuts, oatmeal, mushrooms, soybeans, buckwheat,
sunflower seeds, red chilli peppers, avocados, lentils, cashew nuts and
other whole grains and nuts.
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When pantothenic acid enters our bodies,
it forms a substance call pantethine. Pantethine is a more stable
disulfide form (or a double bond) of pantothenic acid. It is also a
more active metabolic substrate that is converted
into an enzyme called "Co-Enzyme A" (CoA). CoA plays
a critical role in the metabolism and breakdown of the three essential micronutrients
namely proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
CoA is also a cofactor in more than 70 enzymatic pathways which includes
1 Fatty acid oxidation
2 Carbohydrate metabolism
3 Pyruvate degradation
4 Amino acid catabolism
5 Heme synthesis
6 Acetylcholine synthesis
7 Phase II detoxification acetylationsin
CoA is also responsible for the initial steps of cholesterol synthesis,
all down-stream metabolites of cholesterol including steroids, Vitamin D
and bile acids.
As such, we can see that CoA is a very important enzyme. It also helps to
breakdown the carbon skeleton of most amino acids, which are metabolized
to pyruvate and enter the TCA cycle.
CoA directs acetyl groups to form all polyisoprenoid compounds, which include
ubiquinone (CoQ10), squalene and cholesterol. Our bodies also need CoA for
the transportation of long chain fatty acids into the mitochondria where
fats are converted into energy.
In a nutshell, CoA is the basis for the
production of hemoglobin, bile, sex and adrenal steroids, cholesterol, and
a few brain chemicals and neurotransmitters.
We can consume pantothenic acid through dietary means. However, it must
be noted that the more active form of pantethine, or its reduced-SH form
pantetheine that contains the SH molecule necessary for enzyme activity
cannot be obtained by consuming whole foods.
When we compare pantethine with pantothenic
acid, pantethine by far more active when it comes to the production of CoA.
This hypothesis has been proven true by many clinical trials.
Although taking pantothenic acid as a form of supplement will ultimately
lead to the creation of CoA, researchers have pointed out that pantethine
creates twice as much CoA than pantothenic acid. This is because structure
of pantethine is closer to the CoA production pathway.
Pantothenic acid also has its own benefits.
It enhances adrenal functions and inflammatory response modulation. Both
pantothenic acid as well as pantethine should be considered as one synergistical
unit and not as mutually exclusive nutrients.