A guide to vitamin B5 – a crucial vitamin that helps you maintain a healthy digestive tract

Pantothenic acid is known more commonly as vitamin B5 and as part of a group called B complex. It is formidable in itself, performing a number of roles vital to your overall health.

The B-vitamins are popular and for good reason. They support the conversion of carbohydrates into simple sugars, which your body then uses as fuel. For this reason, B-vitamins are essential not just for keeping your system energized, but for ensuring that the calories you ingest do not go to waste.

B-vitamins are also instrumental in the metabolism of both protein and fat. In fact, vitamin B5 is found in living cells as a component of coenzyme A (CoA), a molecule that plays a significant part in many biochemical processes, particularly, the synthesis and oxidation of fatty acids, among others.

It is not surprising, therefore, that supplementing with vitamin B5 helps in lowering cholesterol levels. A 2011 study found that supplements of pantethine, a derivative of vitamin B5, can reduce cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels in individuals with low-to-moderate risk of developing cardiovascular disease. (Related: Best strategies to boost your B vitamin levels.)

The other benefits of vitamin B5 include:

  • It is anti-inflammatory – Pantothenic acid is crucial to the formation of the stress hormone cortisol. Although this hormone is dangerous in large quantities, in regulated concentrations, it has anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve pain and prevent the onset of many serious conditions.
  • It aids in digestion and metabolism – Adequate vitamin B5 levels help maintain healthy gastrointestinal function.
  • It’s good for the heart – Its ability to lower cholesterol levels means B5 is essential to a healthy heart that’s free from disease.
  • It supports your liver – High levels of CoA, which is made up of pantothenic acid, help the liver get rid of toxic substances that may lead to disease.
  • It’s great for your lungs – Together with other nutrients, vitamin B5 helps relieve allergic rhinitis, nasal congestion, and asthma.
  • It makes you look good – Pantothenic acid is vital to maintaining healthy, well-moisturized, and acne-free skin. It also improves the quality of your hair and prevents premature hair loss.

Considering the many health benefits of vitamin B5, it’s fortunate that it’s very easy to find. Its name, “pantothenic,” roughly translates to “from everywhere,” as a matter of fact. Here are food items you need to add to your diet for their vitamin B5 content:

  • Shiitake mushrooms – These delectable mushrooms are used mainly in Asian cuisine, but it’s easy to get creative with them. A cup of shiitake gives you 104 percent of your required daily value (DV) of B5. You can also eat white button mushrooms as an alternative, although the same serving size will only give you 67 percent DV of vitamin B5.
  • Salmon – Animal meat is generally rich in vitamin B5. Six ounces of salmon gives you 65 percent of your required DV, while the same size of tuna gives you 47 percent DV of B5.
  • Avocados – Certain fruits, like the very nutritious avocado, can be good sources of vitamin B5, too. One fruit will give you approximately 56 percent of your required DV.
  • Sunflower seeds – It’s no secret that seeds are highly nutritious, with many of them (chia and flax, for instance) being known as superfoods. Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin B5, with a handful providing about 40 percent of your required DV.
  • Sweet potatoes – If you are looking for a source of carbs that is low on the glycemic index and rich in other nutrients, sweet potatoes are a good choice. One cup gives you up to 26 percent of your required DV of vitamin B5.

Be warned though – it’s possible to overdose on vitamin B5 if you take way too much of it. While there are no known toxic levels, too much may give you diarrhea. Thankfully, it is a water-soluble vitamin, which means most of the excess nutrients you consume are flushed out with your urine.

Find articles at Nutrients.news on why you need specific nutrients like vitamin B5.

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