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Is Pantothenic Acid (B5) Good For Weight Loss?

There are many supplements that supposedly help you lose weight. What about the essential vitamin pantothenic acid (B5), does it play a role in weight loss?

The relationship between vitamins and minerals and weight loss is often interesting. If there is any relationship, weight loss usually comes from resolving an insufficiency or avoiding an excess intake of the vitamin or mineral.

This is the case with pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5. Resolving a pantothenic acid insufficiency may slightly benefit weight loss but more pantothenic acid will not always lead to weight loss.

On top of that pantothenic acid deficiencies and insufficiencies are very rare. That means that most people will not lose more weight by consuming more pantothenic acid.

If you think you think your levels of pantothenic acid may be insufficient you can calculate your daily intake and get your levels measured. This way you can see if you should actively work on increasing your pantothenic acid intake.

Relatively high pantothenic acid intake is generally considered safe. In some cases of very heavy pantothenic acid supplementation individuals experience some side effects.

How pantothenic acid may help you lose weight

Vitamins and minerals play important roles in all kinds of processes inside of your body. If you don’t consume enough of these vitamins and minerals many of these processes take place in lesser or even zero amounts. This is usually bad for your health.

The opposite is also sometimes the case. Consuming too much of certain vitamins and minerals can cause negative side effects too.

Pantothenic acid has some downstream influence on reactions that transfer the potential energy in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to ATP (1). If and just how much this influence matters for weight loss is not entirely clear.

However, in the developed world pantothenic acid deficiencies and insufficiencies are not very common. There are likely other things you want to focus on when trying to lose weight.

It is hard to put resolving a pantothenic acid insufficiency into a certain number of extra calories burned. For most people this will not be the lifestyle change that instantly gets them to their dream weight. However, together with the health benefits, making sure that your pantothenic acid intake is sufficient may be worth it.

Pantothenic acid daily recommendations

Below you can find a table with adequate intakes for adults, infants, and children (1).

An adequate intake is a dietary recommendation used when there isn’t enough data to calculate an average requirement. An adequate intake is the average nutrient level consumed daily by a typical healthy population that is assumed to be adequate for the population’s needs (2).

Since healthy people are generally able to deal with pantothenic acid from food in higher amounts you may want to aim for higher intakes than these numbers.

Obviously, not all people have the same bodyweight, body composition, and activity levels. Hopefully one day there will be more specific dosage recommendations available. For now, these are some general intake numbers you can aim at.

AgeMaleFemalePregnancyLactation
0-6 months1.7 mg1.7 mg
7-12 months1.8 mg1.8 mg
1-3 years2 mg2 mg
4-8 years3 mg3 mg
9-13 years4 mg4 mg
14-18 years5 mg5 mg6 mg7 mg
19+ years5 mg5 mg6 mg7 mg
Adequate Intakes (AIs) for pantothenic acid

As a first food example, avocado contains about 1.4 mg of pantothenic acid per 100 grams (3).

People at risk of pantothenic acid inadequacy

Because pantothenic acid is present in so many foods, a real pantothenic acid deficiency is rare and usually accompanied by other nutrient deficiencies.

One group of people that is more at risk of a pantothenic acid inadequacy, not getting enough, is People with a pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration 2 mutation (1).

If you are in this group you may need to pay more attention to get an adequate pantothenic acid intake.

Even if you are not in one of these groups you may want to pay attention to consuming enough pantothenic acid.

Ways to get enough pantothenic acid

In many cases it is luckily not that hard to increase your pantothenic acid levels. This can be done both naturally with whole foods and supplementing.

Whole foods

Eating whole foods with pantothenic acid in them is usually the most recommended way to increase your intake. The reason for this is the wide variety of additional nutrients you get.

Some examples of foods with relatively high amounts of pantothenic acid include:

  • Sunflower seeds (roasted): about 7 mg per 100 grams (4)
  • Beef liver (cooked): about 6.9 mg per 100 grams (5)
  • Shiitake mushrooms: about 1.5 mg per 100 grams (6)
  • Avocado: about 1.4 mg per 100 grams (3)
  • Eggs (cooked): about 1.4 mg per 100 grams (7)
  • Chicken breast (cooked): about 1 mg per 100 grams (8)

When you know what foods to focus on it becomes easier to reach your daily recommended intake for pantothenic acid. Besides these examples, you can find pantothenic acid in most other whole foods in varying amounts.

Dietary supplements

The next option to increase your pantothenic acid intake is by taking dietary supplements. These are pills, capsules, tablets, or liquids with concentrated quantities of pantothenic acid.

While pantothenic acid supplements are generally considered safe, getting your nutrients from whole foods is often better. This way you get a wide variety of other important nutrients too.

In some cases of heavy supplementation with pantothenic acid, 10 g/day, individuals can experience mild side effects like gastrointestinal distress.

Can you consume too much pantothenic acid?

One thing you do have to keep in mind is that you can also consume too much of certain vitamins and minerals. This is called the tolerable upper intake level, the highest level of nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects for almost all individuals in the general population (9).

At the moment there is no tolerable upper intake level established for pantothenic acid. This means that it is unlikely for healthy individuals to see negative health effects from consuming more pantothenic acid than the daily adequate intakes with dietary pantothenic acid sources (1).

In some cases of heavy supplementation with pantothenic acid, 10 g/day, individuals can experience mild side effects like gastrointestinal distress.

Even with this in mind, it may be smart to talk to your doctor before supplementing pantothenic acid to make sure it is actually needed.

Conclusion

Implementing more pantothenic acid into your diet or supplementing may slightly help weight loss if your pantothenic acid levels are currently too low. If your pantothenic acid levels are already normal, adding more pantothenic acid will likely not help weight loss.

Since pantothenic acid insufficiencies are not very common, most people will not lose weight by consuming more pantothenic acid.

Because there are no tolerable upper intake levels consuming above-average levels of pantothenic acid is considered safe. However in some cases of very heavy supplementation with pantothenic acid individuals can experience side effects.

Exactly how many extra calories you will burn by resolving a pantothenic acid insufficiency is not clear. This will likely not be the thing that gets you to your dream weight. Even so, together with the other health benefits making sure that your pantothenic acid intake is sufficient may be worth it.