Vitamin B6 is part of the group of 8 B vitamins and is also called pyridoxine. The main function of B vitamins is to convert carbohydrates from food into glucose the fuel needed for energy by the human body . Over 100 enzyme reactions that are involved in metabolism require vitamin B6.
Health Benefits of Vitamin B6
Apart from being needed for enzyme reactions, the health benefits of vitamin B6 are needed for the immune system, brain development, liver functioning, nervous system, healthy skin, eyes and hair. Here are the various illnesses that can be targeted with vitamin B6.
Heart Disease : Those who have vitamin B6 deficiency are more susceptible to heart diseases. Health benefits of
vitamin B6 are needed to lower homocysteine levels in the blood. Doctors cannot exactly pinpoint the association between homocysteine levels and heart health and until they do, it is recommended that people consume enough of vitamin B6 rich foods.
Morning Sickness : Some studies have linked reduction in morning sickness with consumption of vitamin B6 supplements and others have found no evidence of its benefits. A pregnant woman must consult a doctor before consuming any supplements.
Rheumatoid Arthritis : Health benefits of vitamin B6 to ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis were significant in those who had higher levels of this nutrient in their body. Chronic rheumatoid arthritis can lower vitamin B6 levels in the body. Such people should eat a balanced and healthy diet.
Tardive Dyskinesia : Some anti-psychotic drugs produce a side effect called tardive dyskinesia that is characterized by involuntary movement of facial muscles, lips, tongue, jaw, fingers, arms and toes. Small studies show that vitamin B6 improves tardive dyskinesia symptoms.
Recommended Dosage of Vitamin B6
Cognitive Function : Studies found that elderly people had improved memory when they had greater levels of vitamin B6 in their blood. However, vitamin B6 supplements had no such effect on the memory or mood of those suffering from dementia or healthy people.
Cancer : Those with lower vitamin B6 levels in their blood stood a higher chance of contracting colorectal cancer, although these supplements did not prevent such cancers or reduce the chances of dying from them.
Synthesis of Critical Molecules : Almost all essential molecules require vitamin B6 for their manufacture. Amino acids – protein building blocks – need vitamin B6 for synthesis. Nucleic acids that create DNA also need vitamin B6. Since all these are critical for new cell formation, it can be concluded that vitamin B6 is also essential for this important process.
Carbohydrate formation : Vitamin B6 is needed to process carbohydrates by aiding in the breaking down of glycogen. Proper carbohydrate processing is especially required by athletes. Hence, scientists have conducted studies on the role of vitamin B6 and physical performance.
Nervous System : Vitamin B6 is involved in many activities of the nervous system such as creation of amines that are a group of important messaging molecules. Amines are responsible for transmitting messages from nerve to nerve. Serotonin, epinephrine, melatonin, GABA and norepinephrine are some of the neurotransmitters driven by amine that need vitamin B6 for their manufacture.
Methyl and Sulfur Metabolism : Removal of toxins from the liver and hormonal balance relies on proper movement of sulfur molecules through the body. Vitamin B6 moves sulfur groups and manages sulfur-containing compounds. It plays a similar role in handling methyl-containing molecules. Elimination of toxic substances also ensures that homocysteine levels do not build up excessively and lead to cardiovascular diseases.
Inflammation : Adequate intake of vitamin B6 prevents unwanted and chronic inflammation in the body that puts a person at risk of contracting chronic heath problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
Immune system functions better with vitamin B6 and this enables human beings to withstand infections that can harm the body.
Hormones responsible for many activities in the body are maintained at optimum levels by vitamin B6.
Emotional disorders can occur because of deficiency in vitamin B6. This can lead to hormonal imbalance that can result in emotional disturbances.
Healthy skin is maintained by vitamin B6. Many skin conditions like dandruff, eczema, hair loss, acne and dry skin can be treated with adequate intake of vitamin B6. It can treat more serious skin diseases like psoriasis and melanoma too.
Kidney stone formation can be restricted by the presence of vitamin B6 in the blood. This nutrient also keeps the kidney in good shape.
Age-related macular degeneration was reduced in women who consumed 500 mg vitamin B6, 2500 mcg folic acid and 1000 mcg vitamin B12.
PMS symptoms were found to reduce if vitamin B6 was taken for at least 3 months. Other studies have found no benefits of vitamin B6 to alleviate PMS symptoms.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms such as inflammation can be reduced with the help of vitamin B6.
Foods rich in Vitamin B6
Human beings can enjoy the health benefits of vitamin B6 from various foods rich in this essential B vitamin. These include poultry, fortified cereals, dark leafy green vegetables, cantaloupe, oranges, papayas, sea foods such as shrimp and tuna, brown rice bran, beef, milk, cheese, liver, whole-grain flour, wheat germ and sunflower seeds. Americans get most of their Vitamin B6 requirements from starchy vegetables like potatoes.
Precautions while taking Vitamin B6
People who take very high vitamin B6 doses can suffer from nerve damage such as imbalance and problems with the legs. Some people also get allergic skin reactions. Other symptoms of vitamin B6 overdose include abdominal pain, nausea, sensitivity to light, and loss of appetite. All vitamin B6 supplements must be taken under medical supervision.
The health benefits of vitamin B6 are derived from foods or supplements and it is essential that you ensure you take your daily recommended dose of this essential B vitamin for it is critical for many diverse functions in the body especially involvement in over 100 enzymatic reactions, helping with metabolism, prevention of heart disease, AMD, certain types of cancers and more.