How Pantethine May Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides

You may have seen pantethine among the other nutritional supplements on store shelves when you’re doing your shopping. Although probably not as popular as other supplements on the market, there is some evidence that pantethine may help improve certain aspects of your health.

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Pantethine is a nutritional supplement that is an active form of pantothenic acid, which is also known as vitamin B5. It helps make coenzyme A, which is a molecule that is involved in several metabolic pathways in the body. Pantethine has shown some promising results in the prevention of developing certain medical conditions, such as cataract formation, circulation issues associated with diabetes, and complications associated with malaria. There is mounting evidence that pantethine may help lower your lipid levels, too.

Panethine and Its Effects on Your Lipids

There are quite a few studies that suggest that taking pantethine as a supplement can help lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In most of these studies, people taking pantethine had high cholesterol levels or were classified as being at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Although some people followed a regular diet, there were a few studies where people taking pantethine were also following a healthy diet, such as the TLC diet.

The doses of pantethine taken in these studies ranged between 300 and 1200 mg a day - sometimes divided up into smaller doses taken two to four times throughout the day - for up to one year. Although there were a few older studies that did not see a significant difference in lipid levels, there are quite a few other studies that saw significant, positive effects on cholesterol and triglycerides, including:

  • Total cholesterol levels were lowered by an average of 12 percent.
  • HDL cholesterol levels were increased by up to 17 percent.
  • LDL cholesterol levels were lowered by anywhere between 4 percent and 20 percent.
  • Triglyceride levels were lowered by at least 14 percent.

These studies did not show that more pantethine is better, so taking doses higher than 900 mg a day may not have additional lipid-lowering benefits. However, a few studies did show that taking pantethine along with other lipid-lowering medications or with other interventions, such as the TLC diet, can help lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels even more.

According to one study, it is thought that you may need up to four months to see the full lipid-lowering benefits of pantethine.

How Panethine Affects Your Lipids

The mechanism by which pantethine is able to lower lipid levels is not known. Pantethine is broken down into cystamine, a chemical that is thought to affect proteins involved with the production of cholesterol and triglycerides in the body.

Should You Take Pantethine to Lower Your Lipids?

There are quite a few studies that support pathethine’s ability to lower your cholesterol and triglycerides. However, more studies are needed to assess how effective and safe pantethine is in keeping your lipid levels healthy.

Pantethine does not appear to have a lot of side effects associated with it. The side effects that are more commonly experienced include heartburn, nausea, loose stools, and vomiting. These side effects are usually mild and — in most cases —appear to go away on their own over time.

If you are looking to add pantethine as a supplement to help lower your cholesterol, you should speak to your healthcare provider first. Although pantethine appears to be well-tolerated, it is not known if this supplement can interact with other medications you are taking or if it can aggravate any medical conditions that you already have. Pantethine can increase the risk of bleeding, and it has to be used cautiously with other medications that also increase bleeding risk, including blood thinners, NSAIDs, and many others. By telling your healthcare provider about your intention to take pantethine, he or she can monitor your health while you are taking this supplement.

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  • Evans M, Rumberger JA, Azumano I, et al. Pantethine, a derivative of vitamin B5, favorably alters total, LDL and non-HDL cholesterol in low to moderate cardiovascular risk subjects eligible for statin therapy: a triple-blinded placebo and diet-controlled investigation. Vas Health Risk Manag 2014; 10: 89-100.
  • McRae MP. Treatment of hyperlipoproteinemia with pantethine: a review and analysis of efficacy and tolerability. Nutr Res 2005; 25:319-333.
  • Pantethine Monograph. Alt Med Rev 2010; 15: 279-281.
  • Rumberger JA, Napolitano J, Azumano I, Kamiya T, Evans M. Pantethine, a derivative of vitamin B5 used as a nutritional supplement, favorably alters low-density lipoprotein cholesterol metabolism in low to moderate cardiovascular risk North American subjects: a triple-blinded placebo and diet-controlled investigation. Nutr Res 2011; 31: 608-615.

By Jennifer Moll, PharmD
Jennifer Moll, MS, PharmD, is a pharmacist actively involved in educating patients about the importance of heart disease prevention.