Pantothenic Acid

What it does:

  • Helps your body cells produce energy.
  • Helps metabolize (or use) proteins, fats, and carbohydrates from food.

Ifyou don't get enough: That's rarely a problem for healthy people who eat a healthful diet.

Ifyou consume excess amounts: The only apparent effects are occasional diarrhea and water retention.

How much you need: The Adequate Intake (AI) for pantothenic acid is 5 milligrams daily for teens ages fourteen to eighteen and for adults. During pregnancy and breast-feeding, the AI increases to 6 and 7 milligrams, respectively.

Where it's mostly found: Pantothenic acid is widely available in food. Meat, poultry, fish, whole-grain cereals, and legumes are among the better sources. Milk, vegetables, and fruits also contain varying amounts.


Food Acid (mg)

Salmon, cooked (3 oz.) 1.3 Sweet potato, mashed, cooked (V2 cup) 1.0

Milk, fat-free (1 cup) 0.9 Chicken, light meat, skinless, roasted (3 oz.) 0.8

Ham, lean (3 oz.) 0.5 Whole-wheat macaroni, cooked (V2 cup) 0.3

Kidney beans, cooked (z/2 cup) 0.2


What it does: Choline, a vitaminlike substance, plays a role in many body processes.

  • Promotes the transport of fats and helps make substances that form cell membranes.
  • Helps make acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter in your body needed for many functions, including muscle control and memory storage.
  • Plays a role in liver function and reproductive health.

If you don't get enough: No clear cases of deficiencies in humans have been identified, but choline status may depend on consuming enough folate. Since scientific data are insufficient, it's not known if choline is essential in the diet; if so, how much is needed; and the effects of a deficiency.

If you consume excess amounts: The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for adults is 3.5 grams of choline daily; for teens ages fourteen to eighteen, 3.0 grams daily.

How much you need: There is no RDA for choline. However, Adequate Intake (AI) levels were set in 1998: 550 milligrams daily for males ages fourteen and older; 400 milligrams daily for girls ages fourteen to eighteen; and 425 milligrams daily for women. During pregnancy and breast-feeding, the AI increases to 450 milligrams and 550 milligrams, respectively.

Where it's mostly found: Choline, a natural food component, is widely distributed in food. Meat, liver, eggs, soybeans, and peanuts are especially good sources. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized nutrient content claims on food labels for choline, you may find new choline-fortified products.

Food Choline (mg)

Pistachios (1 oz.) 70

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

See "Vitamin C: More Jobs than You Think!" later in this chapter.

What it does:

  • Helps produce collagen, a connective tissue that holds muscles, bones, and other tissues together.
  • Helps keep capillary walls and blood vessels firm, and so protects you from bruising.
  • Helps your body absorb iron and folate from plant sources of food.
  • Helps keep your gums healthy.
  • Helps heal any cuts and wounds.
  • Protects you from infection by stimulating the formation of antibodies and so boosting immunity.
  • Works as an antioxidant to inhibit damage to body cells.
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