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Pantothenic acid is involved in myriad important chemical reactions in the body as a result of its involvement in CoA synthesis. COENZYME FUNCTION

CoA and the Krebs cycle Pantothenic acid is required for CoA synthesis and cellular respiration. It also plays a pivotal role in the oxidation of fatty acids and acetylation of other molecules, so as to enable transportation. Together with thiamine, riboflavin and niacin, it is involved in the oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate and alpha-ketoglutarate in the Krebs cycle and, ultimately, is important for energy storage as well as release.

Acyl carrier protein Pantothenic acid is the prosthetic group for acyl carrier protein and, therefore, is involved in the synthesis of fatty acids.

Indirect antioxidant effects New in vitro research supports an indirect antioxidant role for pantothenic acid through its ability to increase cellular ATP, which in turn creates increased levels of free glutathione and enhanced protection of cells against peroxidative damage (Slyshenkov et al 2004).

Other functions It is involved in the synthesis of amino acids, sterols (e.g.

cholesterol) and vitamin D. It is necessary for production of the neurotransmitter Vitamin B5_Pantothenic acid 1240

acetylcholine and the formation of red cells. Vitamin B5 plays an important role in

adrenal function and, as CoA, Is needed for proper adrenal cortex function and the synthesis of steroid hormones.

Clinical Note — Could pantothenic acid be an anti-ageing nutrient?

A contemporary theory of ageing Implicates mitochondrial functional decline or 'oxidative decay' of the mitochondria as a major contributor. In light of this hypothesis, nutrients that possess a critical role in the mitochondria are being reexamined to determine their ability to prevent ageing in humans. The focus has been on pantothenic acid, biotin, lipoic acid, iron and zinc because deficiencies of these micronutrients have been implicated in increased mitochondrial oxidation (Ames et al 2005, Atamna 2004). In addition, those with antioxidant capabilities are of particular interest, such as pantothenic acid, lipoic acid and zinc.

Due to the numerous nutrients implicated in mitochondrial health and disease, a broad-based multivitamin should be considered instead of a single nutrient supplement for those populations at increased risk of poor nutrition such as the elderly, young, poor and obese (Ames et al 2005).

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