Pantothenic Acid


Also called pantothenate, this nutrient is a vitamin and coenzyme of widespread importance, involved in extracting energy from food (particularly from fat) and in the building of many bodily substances.


Pantothenic acid is abundant in a great variety of foods. Among the richest sources are chicken, beef, organ meats, oats, whole grains, cereals, breads, nuts, egg yolks, yeast, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, and dark-green vegetables.


Because so many foods are rich in pantothenic acid, scientists have not been able to observe deficiencies except by deliberately inducing them in volunteers. Symptoms of deficiency include acute abdominal cramps, vomiting, fatigue, insomnia, and tingling in the extremities.


No adverse effects have been reported from unusually high intake of pantothenic acid, whether from foods or from supplements. Because evidence is limited, however, the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) recommends caution.


You Daily Allowance


The FNB has not defined a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of pantothenic acid. The Board has set an Adequate Intake (AI), however: 5 milligrams for males and females of all ages, 6 milligrams during pregnancy, and 7 milligrams during lactation. Diet Power uses the AI for your Personal Daily Allowance (PDA).


Upper Limit


The Food and Nutrition Board has not determined a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for pantothenic acid.


Revising Your Allowance


If your doctor recommends a different PDA, you can change it with the Personal Daily Allowance Editor.


Color Coding of This Nutrient


The pantothenic-acid bar in your personal Nutrient History is:


   image\diet0036.gif blue for "good" if you've logged 100 to 130 percent of your PDA


   image\diet0037.gif red for "bad" if you've logged less than 100 percent of your PDA


   image\diet0042.gif yellow for "caution" if you've logged more than 130 percent of your PDA


   image\diet0038.gif missing if you've logged no pantothenic acid.


In the nutrient profile of a food or recipe, the pantothenic-acid bar is:


   image\diet0039.gif green for "good" if getting your entire PDA of calories from this item would give you more than 150 percent of your PDA of pantothenic acid


   image\diet0040.gif magenta for "bad" if getting all your calories from the item would give you less than 50 percent of your PDA of pantothenic acid


   image\diet0036.gif blue for "neutral" otherwise


   image\diet0038.gif missing if the amount of pantothenic acid is either zero or (when the abbreviation Panto. Acid is grayed out) unknown.


How Complete Are Diet Power's Pantothenic-Acid Readings?


For the 8500 generic items in the Food Dictionary: not terribly complete. About 26 percent list their pantothenic-acid content as "unknown."


For the 2500 chain-restaurant items: totally incomplete. All list pantothenic acid as "unknown."


For all 11,000 items combined: not terribly complete. About 41 percent list pantothenic acid as "unknown."


These figures mean that your Nutrient History will almost always underreport your intake of panthothenic acid, unless you log mostly foods with pantothenic-acid readings that you've added to the dictionary yourself.


To see whether a particular food has a pantothenic-acid reading, open the Food Dictionary and check the food's nutrient profile. If you find a question mark beside "Pantothenic Acid," it means the amount is unknown. (To see all foods with unknown pantothenic-acid readings, click the dictionary's PowerFoods tab and sort the foods by pantothenic-acid power; then scroll toward the bottom of the list until you see foods with question marks in the "Power Rating" column.)


Pantothenic Acid on Food Labels


Food labels are not required to report pantothenic acid content, but some do. They may cite the amount in either milligrams or percent of Daily Value (DV), or both.


The Daily Value for pantothenic acid is 10 milligrams. This amount isn't necessarily right for you, howeverit's a rough estimate meant to accommodate most of the U.S. population.


For more on label regulations, see Labels, Food.