Pantothenic acid is a vitamin (B5) of the vitamin B complex, involved in the synthesis of acetyl coenzyme A, itself concerned in the oxidation of fats, carbohydrates, and several amino acids, and various other enzymes involved with the manufacture of corticosteroids and sex hormones, the utilization of other vitamins, the functioning of the nervous system and adrenal glands, and normal growth and development.
A common vitamin, pantothenic acid is found in almost all vegetables, cereals, and animal foods. Particularly rich sources include liver, heart, kidney, egg yolk, and wheat germ.
Deficiency of pantothenic acid is very rare and usually occurs as a result of malabsorption disorders or severe alcohol dependence. It may also result from severe illness, major surgery, or serious injury. The principal effects of deficiency include fatigue, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, numbness and tingling, muscle cramps, and susceptibility to respiratory infections. In severe cases, a peptic ulcer may develop.