Vitamin B6 – What is It, Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency and Recommended Daily Intake

Like most vitamins, vitamin B6 or pyroxidine, is not produced by the human body. The human organism needs this vitamin and it must be supplied daily through a balanced and varied diet.

Pregnant women, adolescents and the elderly are most at risk to have a deficit of vitamin B6.

 

What is Vitamin B6?



Vitamin B6 plays a crucial role in the metabolism of proteins (amino acids) and carbohydrates (glycogen breakdown). It also helps the brain function as it is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. In fact, this vitamin is a coenzyme necessary for the production of these neurotransmitters.

Moreover, this brain neurotransmitter stimulating property of vitamin B6 is widely promoted by some companies selling dietary supplements. Thus, some supplements combining vitamin B6 and magnesium, are offered for sale in order to fight against stress, insomnia and other mental and psychological conditions.
This vitamin is also involved in the production of hemoglobin.

Vitamin B6 or peroxydine is provided by a wide variety of foods.

Cereals: wheat germ, whole grain cereals, muesli, buckwheat flour.
– Meat: calf liver, heifer, lamb, poultry, ham and turkey meat.
Fish: salmon, mackerel, mullet, herring, flounder, trout, tuna, periwinkle.
Fruits and vegetables:  bananas, garlic, sunflower seeds, potatoes, walnuts, hazelnuts, white beans, green beans.
Eggs.

 

Ball-and-stick
model of the pyridoxal phosphate molecule,

 the active form of vitamin B6.

Symptoms Of Vitamin B6 Deficiency

The vitamin B6 is present in many foods, its deficiency is rare in people living in the western countries. However, pregnant women, adolescents and the elderly are likely to have deficiencies of vitamin B6.

The deficiency of this vitamin can cause irritability, feelings of confusion, skin symptoms (seborrheic dermatitis around the eyes and mouth), anemia (fatigue).
One study also indicated that a lack of vitamin B6 (also B9, and B12), increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease…
People suffering from severe renal failure, liver cirrhosis, chronic digestive diseases (such as Crohn’s disease) hindered absorption and assimilation of micro-nutrients, may have deficits in vitamin B6.

The Recommended Daily Intake Of Vitamin B6

The recommended daily intake of vitamin B6 varies on many factors as: age, sex, physical activity, etc… But in general, this recommended intake is about 1.5 mg per day for men and women alike. This contribution should be higher in pregnant women, nursing mothers, athletes and the elderly.

In order to fulfill the recommended intake, it is advisable to have a balanced and healthy diet.
Note that in dietary supplements containing vitamin B6, it is often combined with other vitamins or magnesium.

People performing treatments against Parkinson’s disease (dopamine-based drugs) should not take supplements containing vitamin B6, because of the risk of their antiparkinson treatment becoming less effective.

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