Hope for Folks Who Grind Their Teeth & Feel Fatigued

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“Dear Pharmacist,

You mentioned in your column that B5 has been used to help people who grind their teeth. How much vitamin B5 should be taken? Thank you.”

–R.B., Lodi, California

Answer: Vitamin B5, also known as pantethine and pantothenic acid, turns into Coenzyme A in the body.  The nutrient is absolutely essential for proper adrenal function, so if you grind your teeth and also happen to feel frazzled and tired, you will get a lot of bang for your B5 buck.  See, B5 is necessary to produce adrenal hormones so that your “coping glands” (adrenal glands, scientifically speaking) can handle the stress better. A deficiency of B5 has been linked to high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, exhaustion, infection and a slow healing of wounds. We also know that B5 is a powerful lipid nutrient to lower triglycerides. It supports heart function, energy and carbohydrate metabolism.

One more thing, if you take an acid-blocking drug such as Nexium, ranitidine, omeprazole or Protonix, or routinely use antacids, you should take the vitamin at least two hours before or after your other medication.  The reason is that these acid-blocking drugs are “Drug Muggers” of B vitamins and this may contribute to deficiencies of your B vitamins.  To see how that manifests in the body, please refer to my book, Drug Muggers:  How To Keep Your Medicine From Stealing the Life Out of You!

As for bruxism, the condition where people unintentionally grind or clench their teeth, pantethine could help, but not always. I won’t give you false hope. Sometimes people who grind their teeth suffer from facial nerve damage, improper alignment of teeth, or TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome).  See your dentist about these conditions.

If you are chewing through those rubber mouth guards like a termite on wood, there’s hope. First of all, if you drink alcohol, stop. Alcohol strips your gut and prevents you from absorbing nutrients, especially B vitamins. This may solve your problem entirely. Also, consider magnesium. A deficiency can cause bruxism, according to research. You could safely take pantethine and magnesium together.

Dosages for magnesium vary. I would get either magnesium chelate, glycinate or aspartate, and take about 150 to 250 mg once or twice daily.  Magnesium is also known to ease depression and panic attacks and lower blood pressure. Because magnesium has an effect on the heart (albeit a good effect), please get your doctors’ blessings. Also, see your dentist routinely.