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Pantothenic Acid and Pantethine
By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Table of Contents

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For fast reading, scan through the topic headings in BOLD BLACK, important conclusions in BOLD BLUE, and "Must Know" in BOLD RED. To jump to specific sections in this article, click on the respective LINKS in the Table of Contents.

Information presented here is for general educational purposes only. Each one of us is biochemically and metabolically different. If you have a specific health concern and wish my personalized nutritional recommendation, write to me by clicking here.


Introduction

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:-

Age

Dosage level

Infants below 6 months

2 mg

Infants 6 to 12 months

3 mg

Children 1 to 3 years

3 mg

Children 4 to 6 years

3 to 4 mg

Children 7 to 10 years

4 to 5 mg

Children 11 years and above

4 to 7 mg

What 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.


PROPERTIES

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 the following:-

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.



Message from Dr. Lam

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About The Author

Michael Lam, M.D., M.P.H., A.B.A.A.M., is a western trained physician specializing in nutritional and anti-aging medicine. Dr. Lam received his Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California. He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health. He is board certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine where he has also served as a board examiner. Dr. Lam is a pioneer in using nontoxic, natural compounds to promote the healing of many age-related degenerative conditions. He utilizes optimum blends of nutritional supplementation that manipulate food, vitamins, natural hormones, herbs, enzymes, and minerals into specific protocols to rejuvenate cellular function.

Dr. Lam was first to coin the term, ovarian-adrenal-thyroid (OAT) hormone axis, and to describe its imbalances. He was first to scientifically tie in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) as part of the overall neuroendocrine stress response continuum of the body. He systematized the clinical significance and coined the various phases of Adrenal Exhaustion. He has written five books: Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome - Reclaim Your Energy and Vitality with Clinically Proven Natural Programs, The Five Proven Secrets to Longevity, Beating Cancer with Natural Medicine (Free PDF version), How to Stay Young and Live Longer, and Estrogen Dominance. In 2001, Dr. Lam established www.DrLam.com as a free, educational website on evidence-based alternative medicine for the public and for health professionals. It featured the world’s most comprehensive library on AFS. Provided free as a public service, he has answered countless questions through the website on alternative health and AFS. His personal, telephone-based nutritional coaching services have enabled many around the world to regain control of their health using natural therapies.

 
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