Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is one of the vitamins included in the vitamin B complex family. All B vitamins, including vitamin B6, play an important role in a range of physical and psychological functions. They are most known for helping to maintain a healthy metabolism, nerve function, liver function, skin health, eye health, as well as help to boost levels of energy.
Vitamin B6 has several derivatives, including pyridoxal, pyridoxal 5-phosphate and pyridoxamine. These are all important compounds involved in numerous biological functions. Vitamin B6 is used by the body every single day since it plays a part in such major functions including movement, memory, energy expenditure and blood flow. Therefore, a vitamin B6 deficiency can show up in many different symptoms, some only temporary but others more serious.
Vitamin B6 helps the body to maintain a healthy nervous system, to make hemoglobin that carries oxygen in red blood cells throughout the body, to provide energy from the food that we eat, to balance blood sugar levels, to act as a natural pain treatment, to boost mood, and also to create antibodies that our immune system uses to protect us. Yes, it’s that vital.
Vitamin B6 Deficiency Symptoms —
The deficiency symptoms of Vitamin B6 are seen in the form of fatigue, loss of appetite, emergence of dry skin, hair loss, the appearance of cracks around the lips, insomnia, and swelling in the mouth and tongue. Apart from all these, one may also experience a reduction in walking coordination, anemia, irritability, mental confusion and weakness in different body parts.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B6 —
You can depend upon Vitamin B6 for most underlying functions of maintaining good health. Here is the list of benefits that one may access through this vitamin.
Co-Enzymatic Activities: Vitamin B6 is functional in working with a number of enzymatic systems in the human body to make these enzymes work in the desired manner. This close association between Vitamin B6 and enzymes helps to add significance to proper functioning of nervous system, in building up immunity, and in relieving problems like arthritis.
Immune System: Vitamin B6 plays an important role in refurbishing the immune system of the human body to the required functional level. This helps the human body to withstand a number of infections, which can easily victimize the body in the absence of this important vitamin.
Metabolism: Vitamin B6 is admired for its capability of metabolizing a number of nutrients to extract energy. Hence, one may look upon this vitamin for the metabolism of fats, vitamins, carbohydrates and other important components like amino acids.
Supports Brain Function: The B6 vitamin benefits include helping proper brain development and brain function. Studies have shown that a vitamin B6 deficiency could influence memory function and contribute to cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s and dementia as someone ages. Vitamin B6 also plays an important role in making the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, two hormones known as “happy hormones” that help to control mood, energy and concentration.
Premenstrual Syndrome: Vitamin B6 has a significant role to play in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome occurring in women. Pyridoxine is decreased in supply during this period, thus leading to moodiness, loss of sex drive and other problems. In this situation, intake of a diet rich in Vitamin B6 is the most effective solution.
Helps Treat Anemia: Vitamin B6 is needed to create hemoglobin in the blood, which is transported by red blood cells throughout the body to help bring oxygen to cells and to mobilize iron.
Protects Eye Health: Vitamin B6 is believed to help slow the onset of certain eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration.
Can Help Treat Asthma: Some studies have shown that vitamin B6 benefits including decreasing the occurrence of asthma attacks. The nutrient has helped those with asthma to reduce symptoms of wheezing that are associated with asthma attacks, as well as to lower the severity and frequency of the attacks occurring.
Helps Regulate Sleep Cycles: Vitamin B6 helps the body to make melatonin, which is an important hormone that helps us to fall asleep. Melatonin is responsible for allowing us to regulate our own internal clock, so we know when it’s time to wake up and have energy, and also when it’s time to wind down and fall asleep for the night.
Emotional Disorders: Vitamin B6 is responsible for treating a number of emotional disorders. The deficiency of this vitamin may affect the formation of hormones and unbalances the level of these hormones, which ultimately leads to emotional disturbances. Thus, the intake of Vitamin B6 is necessary to control these hormones and treat emotional disorders.
Hormone Control: Vitamin B6 is helpful in maintaining the level of hormones in the human body, which helps to control a number of activities and metabolic occurrences in the human body.
Skin Conditions: One of the most significant benefits of Vitamin B6 is that it helps in maintaining the good condition of human skin. It helps in treating a number of skin problems, including eczema, dandruff, acne, hair loss, and dry skin. More than that, it helps in treating serious skin diseases like melanoma and psoriasis.
Cardiac Diseases and Kidney Disorders: Vitamin B6 helps in controlling the level of fat that is deposited in and around the human heart and thus, protects against a number of cardiac diseases. Apart from this, Vitamin B6 also helps to restrict stone formation in the kidneys, hence keeping this critical organ of the human body in good shape.
Maintains Healthy Blood Vessels: Vitamin B6 is needed to regulate levels of a compound called homocysteine within the blood. Homocysteine is a type of amino acid acquired from eating protein sources, especially meat. High levels of homocysteine in the blood is linked to inflammation and the development of heart disease and blood vessel disease, which may contribute to a heart attack.
Helps Decrease Nausea During Pregnancy: Studies have found that taking vitamin B6 is effective in relieving the severity of nausea and “morning sickness” that occur during pregnancy. One study showed that after patients tracked the severity of their nausea over 24 hours before treatment with vitamin B6 and again afterwards, the group who took vitamin B6 experienced a significant decrease in nausea compared with the placebo group that did not.
Other Benefits: Apart from those mentioned above, Vitamin B6 is also helpful in treating other problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, anemia, arthritis and influenza. It also helps in treating problems like nausea, infertility and other issues which become more prominent during pregnancy.
Recommended Daily Amount of Vitamin B6 —
The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B6 is as follows, depending on your age and gender:
- Newborn–6 months: 0.3 milligrams
- Children 1–8 years: 0.5- 0.6 milligrams
- Children 4–16 years: 0.6- 1.0 milligrams
- Boys 14–18 years: 1.2- 1.3 milligrams
- Men and women 19–50 years: 1.3 milligrams
- Men 51 years and older: 1.7 milligrams
- Women 51 years and older: 1.5 milligrams
- Pregnant women: 1.9 milligrams
- Breastfeeding women: 2.0 milligrams
Sources of Vitamin B6 –
- Chicken Breast
- Sesame seeds
- Sun flower seeds
- Sweet potato
- Carrot juice
- Wheat bran
I’m Dr. Malini Bhat MD (Ayu); an Ayurvedic Doctor and a health blogger. Follow me on social media to get daily health tips which you can easily adapt to a healthy lifestyle.