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Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): foods, benefits & RDA

Siski Green / 21 September 2021

Also known as pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 is water soluble and is not stored in the body so you need to get a regular intake.

Raspberries are a good source of vitamin B5

What is vitamin B5 used for and does it really work?

Unlike many other vitamins vitamin B5 is found in almost all foods to some degree. It’s useful for metabolic functions, as well as maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

It’s extremely rare to be deficient in vitamin B5 given its presence in such a wide range of foods, however some people – those who consume large quantities of alcohol or have diabetes, for example – may need more than the average person.

What’s the best way to take vitamin B5?

Best sources include beef liver, sunflower seeds, trout and mushrooms. Root vegetables, whole grains, tomatoes, fortified cereals and broccoli are also good sources. There isn’t much evidence supporting a benefit of taking supplements as it is in so many foods. However, cooking can destroy some vitamin B5 and other foods such as vinegar and baking powder have a similar effect, something to be aware of as it might reduce your intake.

Where can I get vitamin B5?

You can get all you need from a healthy varied diet, but some supplements also contain the vitamin, along with fortified foods.

The UK doesn’t have an RDA for B5 as it’s easy to get from a varied diet so deficiency doesn’t occur. In the USA the RDA is 5mg for most people, with a slightly higher RDA during pregnancy and breasfeeding.

What are the side effects or contraindications of taking vitamin B5?

There doesn’t seem to be an upper limit for intake of vitamin B5 but doses of more than 10g per day may cause diarrhoea.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.