Pantothenic acid and biotin

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Definition

Pantothenic acid and biotin are types of B vitamins. They are water-soluble, which means that the body can't store them. If the body can't use all of the vitamin, the extra vitamins leave the body through the urine. These vitamins must be replaced in the body every day.

Alternative Names

Pantothenic acid; Pantethine; Vitamin B5; Vitamin B7

Function

Pantothenic acid and biotin are needed for growth. They help the body break down and use food. This is called metabolism. They are both required for making fatty acids.

Pantothenic acid also plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol. It is also used in the conversion of pyruvate.

Food Sources

Pantothenic acid is found in foods that are good sources of B vitamins, including the following:

  • Animal proteins
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli, kale, and other vegetables in the cabbage family
  • Eggs
  • Legumes and lentils
  • Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Organ meats
  • Poultry
  • White and sweet potatoes
  • Whole-grain cereals
  • Yeast

Biotin is found in foods that are good sources of B vitamins, including:

  • Cereal
  • Chocolate
  • Egg yolk
  • Legumes
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Organ meats (liver, kidney)
  • Pork
  • Yeast

Side Effects

Pantothenic acid deficiency is very rare, but can cause a tingling feeling in the feet (paresthesia). Biotin deficiency may lead to muscle pain, dermatitis, or glossitis (swelling of the tongue).

Large doses of pantothenic acid do not cause symptoms, other than (possibly) diarrhea. There are no known toxic symptoms from biotin.

Recommendations

Reference Intakes

Recommendations for pantothenic acid and biotin, as well as other nutrients, are provided in the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) developed by the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine. DRI is a term for a set of reference intakes that are used to plan and assess the nutrient intakes of healthy people. These values, which vary by age and gender, include:

  • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): average daily level of intake that is enough to meet the nutrient needs of nearly all (97 to 98%) healthy people.
  • Adequate Intake (AI): established when there is not enough evidence to develop an RDA. It is set at a level that is thought to ensure enough nutrition.

Dietary Reference Intakes for pantothenic acid:

  • Age 0 to 6 months: 1.7* milligrams per day (mg/day)
  • Age 7 to 12 months 1.8* mg/day
  • Age 1 to 3 years: 2* mg/day
  • Age 4 to 8 years: 3* mg/day
  • Age 9 to 13 years: 4* mg/day
  • Age 14 and older: 5* mg/day
  • 6 mg/day during pregnancy
  • Lactation: 7 mg/day 

*Adequate Intake (AI)

Dietary Reference Intakes for biotin:

  • Age 0 to 6 months: 5* micrograms per day (mcg/day)
  • Age 7 to 12 months: 6* mcg/day
  • Age 1 to 3 years: 8* mcg/day
  • Age 4 to 8 years: 12* mcg/day
  • Age 9 to 13 years: 20* mcg/day
  • Age 14 to 18 years: 25* mcg/day
  • 19 and older: 30* mcg/day

*Adequate Intake (AI)

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.

Specific recommendations depend on age, gender, and other factors (such as pregnancy). Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need higher amounts. Ask your health care provider which amount is best for you.

References

Hemila H, Chalker E. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013: Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2000. 25077263. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25077263

Mason JB. Vitamins, trace minerals, and other micronutrients. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 225.

Salwen MJ. Vitamins and trace elements. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 26.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 2/2/2015
  • Emily Wax, RD, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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