How to Tell If You Have a Vitamin B5 Deficiency

Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is an essential nutrient under the B vitamin umbrella. It’s required for many processes within the body, including the oxidation of carbohydrates and fatty acids. Consuming large amounts of pantothenic acid rarely has any adverse effects. However, not having enough pantothenic acid in your diet can cause you to develop vitamin B5 deficiency. This condition has a number of symptoms. Read on to find out what they are.



Humans need a certain amount of each vitamin and mineral to stay healthy. The absence of even one of them can cause serious damage. For vitamin B5, the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia dictates an adequate intake of 6mg per day for men over 40 years old.

Vitamin B5 deficiency is rather uncommon due to the availability of the nutrient in many everyday foods. Good sources of pantothenic acid include broccoli, potatoes, nuts, beans, mushrooms, peas, some meats, poultry, eggs and other dairy products. There are also those who choose to rely on dietary supplements. However, since those pills and tablets are usually made of synthetic raw materials, it’s advised to get your nutritional needs from food instead.


Similar to other B vitamins, pantothenic acid plays a role in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. The nutrient is also responsible for the synthesis of coenzyme-A. Low levels of coenzyme-A can impair the energy production process. As a result, your level of energy decreases, leading you to feel weak or fatigued.


Otherwise known as low blood sugar, hypoglycemia may also occur when you’re low on vitamin B5. This greater sensitivity to insulin is a result of insulin binding to receptors due to a decrease in acylation caused by palmitic acid.


Another sign of vitamin B5 deficiency is irritability. Like weakness or fatigue, this symptom may be the result of impaired energy production within the body as a result of low coenzyme-A levels. And when you’re extremely tired, your temper usually turns sour.


Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and vomiting can be the sign of more than one condition, so you mustn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that you lack pantothenic acid. After all, the deficiency is rare in healthy adults. However, these symptoms are also associated with the condition, according to the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.


Since vitamin B5 plays a major hand in the synthesis of acetylcholine — a neurotransmitter in the nervous system that activates muscles — its absence can lead to neurological problems as well. These symptoms include numbness, muscle cramps and paraesthesia. For those who are unaware, paresthesia is a tingling, burning or prickling sensation in the skin.

Unfortunately, vitamin B5 deficiency has yet to be studied in detail. However, there is a link between these symptoms and a lack of pantothenic acid in one way or another. Thankfully, it isn’t all too difficult to maintain an adequate level of the nutrient. Since many vegetables and meats contain vitamin B5, simply maintaining a balanced diet can ward away a deficiency.

For this reason, you must eat properly and healthily instead of turning to supplements. And if you must take supplements, ask your doctor about them first.


Anthony Hill

When you put together the sum total of my 30 years of bodybuilding training, the contests, the vast array of diets I have experimented (tortured) myself with as well as the experiences I have been through with various training partners in the gyms I have trained in all over the world, it’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to do lots of personal training for private clients alongside my day job. For a few years during my 30’s, I moved to Asia and worked as the Fitness Manager and head personal trainer at one of Thailand’s leading gyms in Bangkok. Learn More

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