Picture of Pantothenic Acid

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Pantothenic Acid structure
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Picture of Pantothenic Acid

Vitamins are substances that play an essential part in animal metabolic processes, but which the animals cannot synthesise. In their absence the animal develops certain deficiency diseases or other abnormal conditions. Vitamins are chemicals other than proteins, carbohydrates, fats and mineral salts that are essential constituents of the food of animals. Although certain animals can synthesise certain vitamins and all animals needing vitamin D can manufacture it from ergosterol in the presence of u.v. light, the precise mechanism of action of many vitamins is still poorly understood. Small amounts of vitamins are essential for the regulation of all bodily processes. With the exception of vitamin D, the human body cannot make its own vitamins, and some cannot be stored. Vitamins must therefore be obtained from a food on a daily basis. A person's diet must provide all the necessary vitamins.

Pantothenic Acid is an oil which is required by higher animals and some micro-organisms. This is considered a member of the Vitamin B group and is present in many natural products and is a constituent of coenzyme A.

Coenzyme A is involved in many acyl group transfer reaction pathways in the body. Importantly it is involved in the formation of fatty acids, polyketides and the synthesis of terpeniods and steroids. Structurally coenzyme A is composed of adenosine-3',5'-diphosphate and pantetheine phosphate. Pantetheine itself is made from pantothenic and mercaptoethylamine.

Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for February 1997 )