Pantethine is a dietary supplement that is a form of pantothenic acid, commonly known as vitamin B5, and is considered to be a more biologically active form of vitamin B5, meaning it has a more direct effect on the body. In the body, it is involved in the metabolism of food, the production of red blood cells and also affects the adrenal system. Some scientific studies have shown that pantethine can help lower elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood and improve cardiovascular health. Its various properties have made it a popular supplement, to treat high cholesterol and for other purposes such as improving athletic performance. There is no recommended daily intake of pantethine, and one should always consult a doctor before taking it as a supplement because of the risk of side effects and drug interactions.
Vitamin B5 is readily available in various foods such as avocados, split peas, oatmeal and lentils, as well as in dietary supplements. In the body, vitamin B5 is converted into pantethine, which is then converted into a substance called coenzyme A that the body uses to metabolize fat, protein and carbohydrates into energy. It is important to note that the effects on cholesterol levels in various studies only apply to intake of pantethine, not vitamin B5. Most of these clinical studies have used a daily dose of 600-1,200 mg. A lower daily dose of 300 mg has also shown some effects on cholesterol levels, but with more modest results.
It is not known exactly how this substance helps lower cholesterol. One theory is that it increases the concentration of certain chemicals in the body that help reduce the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Pantethine seems to have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system too, possibly reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack. It is also used to treat symptoms of allergies to formaldehyde as well as a rare genetic disorder called cystinosis.
The side effects of pantethine are usually mild. Its laxative effect can cause diarrhea, and there is a risk of heartburn, nausea and other gastro-intestinal problems. It can also cause an increased chance of bleeding. More serious side-effects are rare, but it can interact with various medications such as beta blockers, blood thinners, and some diuretics, and it is important to consult a doctor before taking this supplement. People with kidney or liver disease, children and pregnant or nursing women should be especially cautious about taking pantethine.