Vitamin B-5, or pantothenic acid, is an essential vitamin for hair growth and health. All of the B vitamins help your body process and use what you eat, thereby nourishing your hair follicles. While a deficiency in B-5 can result in hair loss, it is unlikely that taking more will treat hair loss if you are not already deficient. Talk to your doctor about your hair loss and before you begin consuming more B-5.
B-5 and Hair
Your body needs vitamin B-5 to metabolize the carbs, protein and fat you eat, and in turn, convert this food into usable energy and nourishment for all of your cells. Without this vitamin, your hair follicles will not get the nutrients they need to function properly. Over time, this can lead to a malnourishment of your follicles and result in reduced hair growth and even loss. Meeting the recommended daily allowance, or RDA, of B-5 can help prevent this from occurring. The RDA is 5 mg, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Symptoms of a Deficiency
A deficiency in B-5 is very rare in the United States, as the vitamin can be found in a myriad of foods. However, should you become deficient, you may experience symptoms other than reduced hair growth. These include fatigue, trouble sleeping, depression, vomiting, abdominal pain, burning feet, irritability and an increase in upper respiratory infections. If you develop these symptoms or believe your hair loss may be the result of a B-5 deficiency, seek medical attention.
Sources and Therapeutic Doses
You can get all the B-5 you need and keep your hair growing properly by eating a healthy diet. Good sources of vitamin B-5 include avocado, kale, eggs, lentils, milk, mushrooms, organ meats, potatoes, cereals and yeast. According to the Huntington College of Health Sciences, a therapeutic dose of B-5 for hair loss is between 25 to 50 mg a day. Because this vitamin is water-soluble, large doses are not likely to harm your health but they may cause diarrhea and heighten your risks of bleeding. However, never exceed the RDA of any vitamin without first checking with your health-care provider.
While it can be caused by a vitamin deficiency, hair loss can also result for many other reasons, including age, heredity, an autoimmune condition, anemia or improper care. Some of these causes of hair loss are treatable, while others are not. See your doctor if you are concerned about hair loss and potential treatments.