Naturally occurring vitamin B5 deficiency in humans is very rare and has been observed only in cases of severe malnutrition (20). Pantothenic acid deficiency occurs not isolated but together with other B vitamin deficiencies.
Pantothenic acid deficiency in humans has been induced experimentally by co-administering a pantothenic acid antagonist (omega-methylpantothenic acid) and a pantothenic acid-deficient diet. Participants in this experiment complained of headache, fatigue, insomnia, intestinal disturbances, and numbness and tingling of their hands and feet ("burning feet" syndrome) (14). These symptoms could be related to perturbations in CoA and lipid metabolism. In a more recent study, participants fed only a pantothenic acid free diet did not develop clinical signs of deficiency, although some appeared listless and complained of fatigue (15). Nearly all symptoms are reversed when vitamin B5 is ingested again. Most information regarding the consequences of deficiency has been collected from animal experiments and include: damage to adrenal glands, anemia, skin irritations, nerve damage and impaired glucose metabolism. These diverse symptoms reflect the numerous functions of pantothenic acid in its coenzyme forms (29).
Authored by Dr Peter Engel in 2010, reviewed and revised by Ines Warnke on 29.05.2017