Pantethine is a more biologically active form of water-soluble vitamin B5 (panthothenic acid) and is often referred to as coenzyme B5. Pantothenic acid is converted in the body to panthethine before being used in many important biochemical reactions. Although it is less stable, and supplements may degrade more quickly than those of pantothenic acid, pantethine may be the preferred form as it needs to undergo less metabolism by the body before it can be utilised.
Pantethine is required for the metabolism and production of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It is an important intermediate in the production of coenzyme-A (CoA), the starting point for the body's major energy production processes within the mitochondria - the Krebs cycle (or citric acid cycle) and the electron transport chain, which produce ATP, the body's energy molecule.
Pantethine and its product CoA are taken up and stored in the adrenal glands in large amounts. They are required for the production of steroid hormones by the adrenal glands including cortisol, DHEA, and the sex steroids testosterone and oestrogen. Pantethine may therefore be of use in states of stress and adrenal fatigue.
An important function of pantethine for environmental illness patients is its ability of its metabolties such as taurine, pantetheine, coenzyme A, and pantothenate, to increase levels of an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) which converts highly toxic aldehydes into harmless acetic acid (which can be converted back into energy providing CoA). Sources of aldehydes include acetaldehyde produced by intestinal Candida overgrowth, and formaldehyde from cigarette smoke, household furnishings, and air pollution. By increasing ALDH pantethine may therefore benefit those suffering from Candida-related illness and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and reduce symptoms.
Finally, substantial research has demonstrated that pantethine supplementation in the range of 300-1200mg per day has a beneficial effect on markers of blood lipids and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Pantethine reduces total and LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing beneficial HDL-cholesterol.