Requirements

In the UK, National Food Survey records suggest that during recent decades mean adult daily pan-tothenate intakes have been consistently in the range of 4-6 mg. Since there is little evidence for the magnitude of minimum requirements in humans, the UK committee responsible for the revision of dietary reference values in 1991 suggested that intakes in the range 3-7mgday_1 can be considered as adequate (although no specific values for the reference nutrient intake, estimated average requirement or lower reference nutrient intake for pantothenate were set). The US adequate intake (AI) for pantothenic acid is currently set at 5mgday-1 for adults; 4mgday-1 for children aged 9-13 years; 3mgday-1 for 4-8 years, and 2 mg day-1 for 1-3 years. There was insufficient evidence to set an estimated average requirement (EAR), a recommended daily allowance (RDA), or a tolerable upper intake level (UL).

There are few studies in communities where intakes are likely to be low; indeed, pantothenic acid is so widely distributed in human foods that it is unlikely that any natural diets with a very low content will be encountered. Some variations in status among communities have been described, but these do not define requirements. In a group of adolescents in the USA, daily pantothenate intakes were around 4mg; total blood pantothenate was in the 'normal' range of c. 350-400 ng ml-1, and intakes were correlated with red cell pantothenate (r = 0.38) and with urinary pantothenate (r = 0.60), both P < 0.001. In adults, these correlations were less strong.

During pregnancy and lactation there is some evidence that requirements may increase. As for most water-soluble vitamins, maternal blood levels do decrease significantly on normal diets during pregnancy, and the mean daily output of the vitamin in breast milk in the US is of the order of 2-6 mg. The adequate intake (AI) in the USA is 6 mg day-1 during pregnancy and 7mgday-1 during lactation. It has been suggested that infant formulas should contain at least 2 mg pantothenate per liter and the AI for infants is 1.7 mg day-1 from birth to 6 months and 1.8 mg day-1 from 7 to 12 months of age.

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