Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, is an essential part of a healthy diet. According to Gene Bruno of the Huntington College of Health Sciences, a deficiency of this vitamin can harm your hair follicles, which may weaken them and lead to hair loss. Pantothenic acid is often taken in conjunction with the other members of the B vitamin family, and maintaining adequate levels of these can improve the health of your hair and help prevent it from thinning.
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Pantothenic acid and the other B complex vitamins aid your body in metabolizing fats and proteins. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, these vitamins are essential for maintaining the health of your hair, skin and other body parts. While a pantothenic acid deficiency is rare among people in industrialized countries, inadequate amounts can lead to multiple side effects, including hair loss.
Maintaining proper levels of pantothenic acid can strengthen your hair follicles and their cells. This vitamin contributes to the nourishment of hair follicles, helping them to function properly and promote the growth of your hair. Pantothenic acid can also help relieve the skin itching and flaking associated with dandruff and other similar disorders, notes MedlinePlus. Ridding your scalp of dead skin will keep your follicles clear of debris and encourage new growth.
Many foods such as meats, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fish contain high levels of pantothenic acid. However, when food is processed, a large amount of its pantothenic acid is lost, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. You can take this vitamin in the form of a supplement, either by itself or in combination with other B complex vitamins. The recommended daily intake of dietary pantothenic acid is 5 mg for adults over age 19. Discuss supplements with your doctor before adding them to your diet.
The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that if you take pantothenic acid for a long period of time and exclude the other members of the B complex family, you may cause an imbalance of B vitamins in your system. To remedy this, consider taking a supplement that contains all of the B vitamins, as opposed to just one. This combination can improve the overall health of your hair as well.
Extremely high doses of pantothenic acid can lead to diarrhea and an increased risk of bleeding. People with hemophila are not advised to take this vitamin, according to MedlinePlus. It can also interfere with certain antibiotics and medications used to treat Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Discuss your conditions and medications with your doctor before adding pantothenic acid to your diet.