It is most effective when taken with the B group vitamins, Vitamin A, vitamin C and Vitamin E
Sources of vitamin B3
It is widely distributed in small amounts.
Animal sources: include liver, kidney, egg-yolk, yeast, milk etc. are the richest sources of this vitamin.
Vegetable sources: molasses, wheat bran, peas, sweet potatoes, etc. contain this vitamin in appreciable amounts.
It has also been produced synthetically.
Benefits of vitamin B3
The physiologically active form of pantothenic acid is coenzyme A (CoA). It is essential for several basic reactions of metabolism.
It acts as an intermediate in the biosynthesis of cholesterol, fatty acids, and etc. coenzyme A plays an important part in the lipid metabolism. A good amount of pantothenic acid is present in the protein bound form. This protein bound pantothenic acid is the acyl carrier protein and is required for the biosynthesis of the fatty acids.
It also helps in the synthesis of haemoglobin. It is also used to relieve the burning sensation of hands and feet and occasionally in alopecia and to prevent premature graying of hair.
Some are of the opinion that pantothenic acid is also helpful to fight wrinkles as well as graying of the hair.
It is also said to be involved in the regulation of gene expression and in signal transduction. Roger J. Williams, the discoverer of pantothenic acid and a scientist who pioneered the use of nutrients for the prevention and treatment of disease, thought that pantothenic acid might be helpful in the management of certain medical disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Dermatitis, fatty liver, degeneration of spinal cord, myelin degeneration of peripheral nerves, and involution of thymus occurs due to deficiency of this vitamin. Various tissues are also affected, including gastro-intestinal disturbances, alopecia, cornification of the skin and hypofunction of adrenal cortex.
Deficiency of pantothenic acid can also cause retarded growth, failure of reproduction, dermatitis, and haemorrhagic adrenal cortical necrosis.
In the human being, no definite deficiency syndrome has been proved, presumably because of the wide occurrence of this vitamin in almost all food and because small amounts of the vitamin can be synthesized in the body. This does not mean that pantothenic acid is not of value in the metabolic systems of the body; indeed perhaps it is as necessary as any other vitamin.
Deficiency may also result in symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and nausea, tingling in the hands, depression, personality changes and cardiac instability.
Frequent infection, fatigue, abdominal pains, sleeps disturbances and neurological disorders including numbness, paresthesia (abnormal sensation such as “burning feet” syndrome), muscle weakness and cramps are also possible indications, which indicates that there is deficiency of this vitamin.
Biochemical changes include increased insulin sensitivity, lowered blood cholesterol, decreased serum potassium, and failure of adrenocorticotropin to induce eosinopenia.
It is not exactly known. Average daily diet contains 10mgm, which satisfies this vitamin requirement.
Symptoms of high intake
It does not appear to be toxic in high dosage, although diarrhea, digestive disturbances and water retention have been reported on dosage exceeding 10 g a day.
Taking 1,500 mg a day over an extended period may cause sensitivity to the teeth.
When more is needed
People under stress, prone to allergies, consuming alcohol or eating too many refined foods might develop a shortage of this vitamin.
Do not add soda to the water when cooking vegetables – it will destroy the pantothenic acid.