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Pantothenic Acid Deficiency and Diet

written by: micsan07 • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 6/29/2011

Do you have pantothenic acid deficiency? Some of the symptoms are fatigue, insomnia, joint pain, and tingling of the toes. Read on to see which foods you may want to be eating to ensure you don't get pantothenic acid deficiency.

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    Pantothenic Acid Deficiency and Diet

    Pantothenic acid deficiency that occurs naturally in humans is quite isolated. It is usually found only in cases of extreme malnutrition. Because this deficiency occurs so rarely in humans, most available information regarding this comes from experimental testing, or research, on a variety of animals.

    A water-soluble vitamin belonging to the B vitamins, pantothenic acid is necessary for human growth. Many common body processes, including the reproduction process, depend on this B5 vitamin for sustainability. This essential acid assists in the well being of the muscles and digestive system. Pantothenic acid is also needed for energy production and has a hand in maintaining the fatty acids and hormones in the body.

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    Symptoms

    The most common, and usually the earliest, symptom of pantothenic acid B5 deficiency is fatigue. Pantothenic acid deficiency symptoms can be numbness of the toes or an extreme burning sensation in the feet. Other symptoms may be insomnia, vomiting, depression, pains to the stomach region, kidney stones, joint pain, edema, irritability, and upper respiratory issues.

    If any of these symptoms continually persist for a period of time, consider consulting a physician. While all of these symptoms by themselves do not necessarily point to a pantothenic acid deficiency, a simple blood test allows the doctor to make the right diagnosis.

    Because this B5 vitamin is so common in everyday foods, these symptoms are usually found in those with alcoholism, those with conditions where the body cannot absorb nutrients, or serious illnesses which affect the nutrition processes. All of these conditions may inhibit or block the absorbtion process in the body which may, over a period of time, cause a deficiency of pantothenic acid or B5 vitamin.

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    Foods

    While many foods contain small amounts of vitamin B pantothenic acid, here are a few foods that contribute substantial sources of the B5 vitamin.

    A California avocado tops the list out at 1.99mg of B5 per serving. Three ounces of cooked chicken has .98mg, a medium sized cooked sweet potato (approximately 1/2 cup) supplies .88mg, and a cup of milk has about .83mg. Other good sources of pantothenic acid B5 are eggs, yogurt, lentils, broccoli, mushrooms, lobster, split peas, mushrooms, codfish and tuna.

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    Can You Overdose?

    This substance is not known to be deadly or toxic in humans. However, overdose or high intakes of vitamin B5 may result in some of the following: calcification, dehydration, edema, joint pain, nausea, heartburn, severe fatigue and depression.

    Recommended daily allowances for pantothenic acid in a 1-18 year old is 4-7mg, 18+ is 10mg, and a lactating or pregnant female +3mg daily.

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    Other Pantothenic Acid Facts

    Most people can ingest enough pantothenic acid per day through a diet that is varied. Chicken, fish, dairy products, and whole grain foods are all rich in B5 vitamins and should be part of a daily diet.

    Most multivitamin supplements sold at health or grocery stores contain at least 5mg per day of B5 pantothenic acid. Many multimineral supplements may also supply approximately 5mg per day.

    Pantethine, a derivative of pantothenic acid, is used in Japan and Europe as a cholesterol controller that lowers bad cholesterol counts. Pantethine is available in the United States in health food sections as a dietary supplement.