Vitamin B6 Functions, Sources, Deficiency Symptoms

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Vitamin B6 Functions, Sources, Deficiency Symptoms

What is Vitamin B6 and how it is useful to our body?

Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine is present in many natural foods. This vitamin is necessary for nerve function, brain development, production of antibodies and hemoglobin. Being a water soluble vitamin it is not stored in our body. B6 can be fulfilled only through consuming foods which are in rich in Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is found in a variety of forms in the foods we eat as well as in our bodies. The most important form of vitamin B6 is pyridoxal 5’-phosphate (PLP). It helps the body turns food into energy. Vitamin B6 improves the immunity. Pregnant and breast feeding women need it to help their babies brains develop normally

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What are the Functions of Vitamin B6?

  • Production of red blood cells:-vitamin B6 plays a key role in the synthesis of hemoglobin. Heme is the key section of the hemoglobin molecule and initial production of heme in bodies require the presence of vitamin B6.
  • Metabolically active form of vitamin B6 is PLP. It is a cofactor in the biosynthesis of important neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, nor epinephrine and gamma amino butyric acid.
  • Also involved in the synthesis of histamine
  • Vitamin B6 is necessary for the proper function of enzymes
  • Vitamin B6 is required for the conversion of tryptophan to niacin, low B6 status impairs this conversion
  • Helps in glucose and lipid metabolism

Vitamin B6 rich in foods:

Vitamin B6 is widely distributed in foods in both its free and bound forms. Good sources include meat, whole grain products, vegetables, nuts and bananas. Vitamin B6 is found in the germ and aleuronic layer of grains, and milling results in the reduction of this vitamin in white flour. Freezing and canning also results in the loss of vitamin B6 in foods. Plant foods lose the least during processing than animal foods. Prolonged exposure to heat can degrade vitamin B6 in most foods. Both steaming and boiling result in relatively low amounts of B6 loss

  • Banana and Avocado are good source of Vitamin B6, having a medium sized banana daily is sufficient for B6.
  • Potatoes and Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin B6 and also B6 is in Spinach, Tomato, and Cauliflower.
  • Legumes and Whole grains are well known sources of fiber and proteins but it also contains huge amount of B6.
  • Corn, wheat, rice, oats and other fortified cereals contains Vitamin B6.
  • All dry fruits contain B6, but pistachios contain B6 in good amounts.

Eat a handful of mixed nuts or pistachios to get a daily dose of B6. Non vegetarians can have their daily dose of B6 from red meat and poultry. Every reaction in your body that uses vitamin B6 also uses magnesium as a mineral cofactor. Tuna, Spinach and Pumpkin seeds are rich in both B6 and magnesium

What is the Daily Recommended Allowance of Vitamin B6?

The daily recommended allowance of vitamin B6 is

  • 0-6 months                         0.1 mg
  • 6-12 months                       0.3 mg
  • 1-3 years                              0.5 mg
  • 4-8 years                              0.6 mg
  • 9-13 years                             1 mg
  • 14-18 yrs female                  1.2 mg
  • 14-18 yrs male                      1.3 mg
  • 19-50 years                            1.3 mg
  • 50+ females                           1.5 mg
  • 50+males                                1.7 mg
  • Pregnant women                   1.9 mg
  • Lactating women                   2 mg

Who are at Risk for Vitamin B6 Deficiency?

Vitamin B6 deficiency alone is relatively uncommon and often occurs in association with other vitamins of B complex

  • Elderly and alcoholics have an increased risk of vitamin B6 deficiency
  • B6 deficiency is noticed in women with type 1 diabetes and patients with systemic inflammation, liver diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and those infected with HIV
  • Use of oral contraceptives and treatment with certain anticonvulsants negatively impact vitamin B6 status
  • Hemodialysis reduces B6 plasma levels

What are the Deficiency Symptoms of Vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6 is present in most foods, so dietary deficiency is rare. Dietary deficiency though rare, can develop because extensive processing can deplete foods of vitamin B6.

  • Vitamin B6 is a key factor involved with chronic inflammation in the body
  • Rash or cracks around the mouth
  • Sour tongue
  • Inflammation of the skin
  • Cognitive problems and eventually convulsions
  • Confusion and depression
  • Susceptibility to infections
  • Sideroblstic anemia

How to Overcome Vitamin B6 Deficiency?

Vitamin B6 supplements are available in the form of pyridoxine hydrochloride. It is available as oral, nasal spray or injection. Take vitamin B6 rich foods. Avoid prolonged processing of food. Pyridoxine is used for preventing and treating low levels of pyridoxine and anemia that may result in. Vitamin B6 is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in vitamin B complex products.

Vitamin B6 Toxicity:-

Adverse effects have been documented from B6 supplements, but never from food sources. Higher doses of vitamin B6 might cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite, sleepiness. Long term use of high doses is possibly unsafe. It might cause certain brain and nerve problems