Vitamin B6 Benefits, Sources and Deficiency

Vitamin B6 Benefits, Sources and Deficiency

What is vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine and it is part of the B-complex vitamins. It is mainly a conglomerate of chemical compounds and it can occur in several different forms, depending on its applications. The most common are:

  • Pyridoxine
  • Pyridoxine 5’-phosphate
  • Pyridoxal
  • Pyridoxal 5’-phosphate
  • Pyritinol
  • 4-Pyridoxic acid
  • Pyridoxamine
  • Pyridoxamine 5’-phosphate

Vitamin B6 is usually used only in combination with other B vitamins and only rarely on its own. In living organisms, its roles include sugar and fat processing, as well as moderating the protein intake and it is essential in ensuring an effective cellular growth rate. Also, it is useful in maintaining the brain health in the optimal charts and it plays key roles in other parts of the organism, including in the nervous system and skin.

The problem with this nutrient is that, although it can be found in a lot of food sources, including animal and vegetal, the processing and cooking will destroy a lot of the initial content. In some cases, more than 60% of the vitamin B6 content may be destroyed during cooking. However, this mostly occurs when talking about animal derived products, because those based on plants tend to retain much of their nutrient content, despite the cooking processes they have to go through.

Vitamin B6 Benefits

The benefits of vitamin B6 consumption are diverse and many people use it in order to treat a lot of health affections. Some of the most known are:

  • Helpful in treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Used in reducing the impact of ADHD
  • Used as a treatment in the case of skin problems
  • Removes headaches and nerve pain related to diabetes
  • Postpones or even prevents the occurrence of AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration)
  • Reduces the intensity of fever convulsions and seizures
  • Increases appetite
  • Prevents muscle cramps during the nighttime
  • Reduces the symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome, in addition to helping women during menstruation
  • Reduces the feeling of nausea, as well as vomiting, during pregnancy
  • Reduces the risk of developing depression, especially the one related to pregnancy
  • Used as an immune system booster
  • Used by people with bladder infections
  • Protects against radiation treatment during cancer cases
  • Protects against the side effects of certain drugs like procarbazine, penicillamine, and hydrazine

Vitamin B6 Side-effects

The first signs of vitamin B6 deficiency include a skin eruption, conjunctivitis, confusion, and somnolence, among others, and they can be treated by adding vitamin B6 to the diet. The exaggerated consumption could some side effects in people, including abdominal pain, sleepiness, headaches, appetite loss, nausea and vomiting and so on.

In the more severe cases, the exaggerated intake could lead to brain and nervous problems, which is why it is recommended to always consult the health specialist on the dosage before consuming it. The good thing, however, is that the vitamin B6 toxicity has been observed in humans, but only as a result of consuming supplements. Food related pyridoxine has never produced any side effects whatsoever.

Vitamin B6 Sources

The most relevant vitamin B6 sources are found in vegetables, meat and liver, eggs and cereals, but it can also be found in higher concentrations in supplements.

How much Vitamin B6 should you take?

For men, the recommended vitamin B6 daily intake is between 1.3 mg and 1.7 mg, for women is between 1.2 mg and 1.3 mg and in the case of children, the dosage drops from 1 mg, with the age of 13 and ends up with 0.1 mg for infants between 0 to 6 months old.