Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is essential to every living thing. It is found in every living cell in the form coenzyme A (CoA), a vital participant in countless chemical reactions that sustain life.
The value of the B5 vitamin in daily living, however, is clearest under conditions of stress, whether stress is caused by pain or pleasure. Let's take a few minutes to consider the essential information on B5, the vitamin everybody needs but most of us haven't heard much about.
Vitamin B5 is part of the enzyme that burns fat and makes cholesterol. It's easy to forget that making cholesterol is a good thing, or our bodies wouldn't make so much of it.
Cholesterol goes into the lining of each and every cell to form a kind of "raincoat" to protect the contents of the cell from being dissolved in the bloodstream. It's also the basic building block of every steroid hormone the body makes to deal with injury and stress.
B5 is essential to the making of melatonin, the hormone regulating sleep. It helps cells signal to each other when it's necessary to release hormones to keep physiological functions in balance. And it helps the brain use essential fatty acids to make the myelin sheath that insulates nerve cells and allows neurons in the brain to communicate with each other.
Nutritionists long believe that deficiencies of B5 were really rare. That's because B5 is found in a variety of foods. The richest sources of pantothenic acid include broccoli, egg yolks, kidney, liver, and yeast.
Avocados, chicken, fish, legumes, mushrooms, shellfish, and sweet potatoes also contain the vitamin. Whole grains are great sources of B5, but processing them into flour can remove up to 75% of the vitamin content. You can find biologically significant levels of B5 in mushrooms, chili peppers, peanuts, split peas, pecans, soy nuts, sunflower seeds, lentils, rye flour, cashews, oatmeal, and buckwheat groats.
Pantothenic Acid (mg)
Bread, whole wheat
1/2 cup (chopped)
Fish, cod (cooked)
1 cup (8 ounces)
1/2 cup (chopped)
Split peas (cooked)
Sweet potato (cooked)
1 medium (1/2 cup)
Moreover, we don't just receive B5 from the food we eat. The bacteria that normally live in the colon (the large intestine) make their own pantothenic acid. Scientists have recently discovered that the lining of the intestine can absorb the B5 the bacteria make (along with another B vitamin, biotin).
Supplements don't usually contain actual vitamin B5. They typically use pantothenol, an alcohol derivative of vitamin B5 that is more likely to keep its potency while the product is stored on the shelf. The body rapidly converts pantothenol to pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), once the pill is digested.
Why should you take vitamin B5? If you're a strict vegan, there's a remote possibility you could suffer deficiency. As little as 5 mg a day prevents B5 levels from getting dangerously low.
People who take drugs for Alzheimer's disease sometimes need supplemental B5 to offset vitamin depletion caused by medication. Vitamin B5 can be important when there's liver damage.
There's some evidence that taking 900 mg of B5 a day may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lower them a lot: One study found a 10% reduction in LDL ("bad') cholesterol, a 20% increase in HDL ("good') cholesterol, and a 30% reduction in triglycerides after taking three doses of 300 mg of vitamin B5 every day for 30 days. Even so, there are other supplements that are better for this purpose. (B5 may be a good choice if you have diabetes.)
A peculiarity of vitamin B5 is that its concentration in the bloodstream increases after heavy exercise. If you're an athlete, you don't need to add any more than 5 mg of vitamin B5 to your daily stack.
Taking a fairly high dose of vitamin B5, that is, 2,000 mg a day, sometimes helps relieve morning stiffness and joint pain in severe rheumatoid arthritis. Cosmetic researchers have found that B5 shampoos can recolor gray hair in lab rats, but if you're not a lab rat there's no clear evidence that B5 can reverse gray hair for you.
So why do people really take supplemental vitamin B5?. The answer can be summed up in one word. Sex.
A frequently overlooked application of B5 is sexual enhancement. Sexual arousal doesn't just occur below the belt. Stimulation happens in the in the brain first, then in the genitals, and throughout the whole body.
For men, sexual arousal is initiated by a signal the brain sends down the spinal cord to the nerves that regulate the blood vessels that serve the penis. When these nerves receive signals to produce nitric oxide, the vessels in the penis expand to allow erection.
The sex signal is carried by a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine (ACH). This chemical is also important to sexual satisfaction in women. With too little ACH, interest in sex is diminished. ACH is involved in the muscular contractions that build up to orgasm and in the vaginal and urethral contractions that occur during orgasm.
One way to increase ACH levels safely and effectively throughout the body is to take supplements of vitamin B5 (in doses of 500 to 1,500 mg) and choline (1,000 to 3,000 mg) so the body will make more of its own ACH. Vitamin B5 doesn't just enhance ACH, it provides the energy needed for prolonged intensity in intercourse. Ideally, vitamin B5 and choline should be taken about two hours before intercourse for maximum effect.
Can you get the same effect with food? Take a quick look at the table. The 1,500 mg of vitamin B5 that may enhance your sex life can be obtained by eating 900 avocados. Or 1500 cups of split pea soup. Or three-quarters of a ton of chicken. Even if you have an unimaginably large digestive tract, it's hard to conceive of a way this kind of food consumption could be worked into romance.
That's why supplemental vitamin B5 is best. Prevent deficiency with a balanced everyday supplement that contains vtiamn B5. Enhance performance with larger doses of choline and vitamin B5.
A Trustworthy Comprehensive Product
One company that produces a balanced nutritional supplement with B5 is Xtend-Life Natural Products. Their flagship product, Total Balance,
is a balanced nutritional supplement containing B5 and more! It contains all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients you need in a single, easy-to-take blend.
We take it ourselves, and are very happy with the results.