Diet - pantothenic acid/biotin

Alternative names 
Pantothenic acid and biotin

Pantothenic acid and biotin are water-soluble vitamins, which means that they cannot be stored by the body and must be replenished every day. They help the body break down and use food. They are part of the B vitamin complex.


Pantothenic acid is essential for the metabolism of food. It is essential in the synthesis of hormones and cholesterol. Cholesterol is needed by the body for the proper functioning of its cells’ membranes, particularly in the brain.

Biotin is essential for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates (like the other B vitamins), and in the synthesis of hormones and cholesterol.

Food Sources

Pantothenic acid and biotin are found in foods that are good sources of B vitamins, including the following:

  • Eggs  
  • Fish  
  • Milk and milk products  
  • Whole-grain cereals  
  • Legumes  
  • Yeast  
  • Broccoli and other vegetables in the cabbage family  
  • White and sweet potatoes  
  • Lean beef

Side Effects
There are no known deficiencies of either pantothenic acid or biotin. Large doses of pantothenic acid do not produce symptoms other than (possibly) diarrhea. There are no known toxic symptoms associated with biotin.

There are no established “recommended daily allowances” for either of these vitamins.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Harutyun Medina, M.D.

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