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Home :: Vitamins B6

Vitamin B6 - Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources

Alternative names :- Pyridoxine, Adermin

Vitamin B6 is not a single factor but includes compounds with similar activity. They are pyridoxine, its aldehyde pyridoxal, and its amine pyridoxamine. All three are found in foods in varying proportions. The word pyridoxine is derived from pyridine hydroxyl vitamin. It was also known as adermin, from anti-dermatitis vitamin.

Benefits and functions of vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is required for the balancing of hormonal changes in women as well as assisting the immune system and the growth of new cells. It is also used in the processing and metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, while assisting with controlling your mood as well as your behavior.

Vitamin B6 also helps maintain your blood glucose (sugar) within a normal range. When caloric intake is low your body needs vitamin B6 to help convert stored carbohydrate or other nutrients to glucose to maintain normal blood sugar levels. While a shortage of vitamin B6 will limit these functions, supplements of this vitamin do not enhance them in well-nourished individuals.Vitamin B6 also aids in lipid metabolism and in iron utilization for the maturation of red blood cells.

Recommended dosage of vitamin B6

Infants require 0.2-0.3 mg and adults about 2-3 mg vitamin b6 per day. The requirement increases with a high-protein diet.

Deficiency symptoms of vitamin B6

A well-defined clinical syndrome due to isolated deficiency of vitamin b6 is not recognized. It is usually part of a general deficiency of vitamin B-complex, and is therefore seen in association with pellagra or beriberi. Specific deficiency of vitamin b6, when experimentally produced, was associated with loss of appetite, nausea, restlessness, lethargy, seborrhea, hyperpigmentation, and pellagra-like skin changes. Carpal tunnel syndrome has been linked to a deficiency of vitamin B 6 as well.

Vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms will be very much like those of B2 and B3. Vitamin B6 is needed by the body to manufacture its own B3 vitamin.

Food sources of vitamin B6

The foods richest in vitamin b6 are egg yolk, meat, fish and milk among animal sources; vegetable sources are whole grains, cabbage and other green vegetables. Vitamin b6 is probably also synthesized by the intestinal bacteria. The bioavailability of vitamin b6 from animal sources is. high, and reaches up to 100%. In comparison, the bioavailability from vegetable sources is variable. Herbs that contain vitamin B 6 include alfalfa, catnip, and oat straw.


Levodopa and vitamin b6

In Parkinson's disease the effect of levodopa is due to its conversion into dopamine in the brain. Vitamin b6 also converts levodopa to dopamine but it increases its peripheral decarboxylation; very little levodopa is therefore available to the brain for conversion to dopamine. Thus, vitamin b6 taken as tonic pills during levodopa therapy makes the latter ineffective.

Excessive Use

Extremely high doses (up to 6 g daily) of vitamin b6, when taken over several months for bodybuilding, premenstrual tension, or schizophrenia, may cause progressive distal limb impairment of position and vibration sense, and unsteadiness of gait. These improve gradually when the patient stops taking vitamin b6.

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