Vitamin B5 supports the immune system, improving the body’s ability to heal and produce antibodies to help fight off infection. It has shown protective effects against radiation and reduces the toxic effects of many antibiotics. Studies have found that individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder, have lower circulating levels of vitamin B5 and that supplementation often alleviated symptoms of stiffness, disability and pain. Similar results were found with osteoarthritis, gout and lupus.
Known as the “anti-stress vitamin”, vitamin B5 supports the adrenal glands, assisting in the production of cortisol and other adrenal hormones that help to counteract stress. Adrenal exhaustion, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, physical and mental depression and anxiety have all shown improvement with supplemental pantothenic acid. Additional supplementation of this vitamin should be considered when there is anticipation of a stress response, in order to support the adrenal glands in their response to the stressor.
The neuromuscular system relies on vitamin B5 for the production of sphingosine and acetylcholine, which are required to produce nerve transmissions. Muscle cramps, frequent tingling in the hands and feet and nerve degeneration may indicate increased need for vitamin B5.