Vitamin B6, with pyridoxine as its main ingredient, is a water-soluble vitamin known to be helpful in supporting an assortment of health-related problems. These range from issues of the heart to those of the skin as well as those related to depression and the nervous system. Even then, that doesn’t account for all the good that B6 can do for us, or for that matter all the complications we could face if we don’t have enough of it in our bodies.
As you probably guessed, vitamin B6 is a member of the family of B-complex vitamins, all of which serve a variety of health-related roles, and a number of which have recently been featured in this space. It should be noted, though, that B6 is not a naturally occurring vitamin in our bodies. It is up to us to keep our bodies supplied with pyridoxine through what we eat and otherwise consume (such as nutritional supplements).
Before we get into the individual health benefits of vitamin B6 later in this blog, it’s important to point out a couple of its overarching roles. For starters, pyridoxine acts as a coenzyme that assists in breaking down and properly using carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, per drweil.com. Just as importantly, it plays a role in the production of the chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine, which transmit signals in the brain. It also helps in the creation of myelin, a layer of protein that surrounds and protects nerve cells.
Vitamin B6 Sources
Not only can B6 be found in nutritional supplements, it also has many food sources, to include:
- Dark, leafy green vegetables
- Fortified cereals
- Poultry, such as chicken
- Soya beans
- Wheat germ
Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Instances of major B6 deficiencies in people are rare, although many people have a slight deficiency – those usually include the elderly, children, and anyone else who might be taking medications that can produce low levels of B6, per livescience.com. There are other cases involving people who, for whatever reason, have trouble absorbing pyridoxine, perhaps because of one of an assortment of conditions, to include alcoholism, kidney disease, autoimmune disorders or inflammatory bowel diseases.
Here are some of the symptoms of a vitamin B6 deficiency:
- Weakened immune system
- Itchy rashes and other skin problems
- Swollen mouth and/or tongue
- Nervous system issues
- Problems with mucous membranes
- Loss of appetite
- Mental confusion
Vitamin B6 Benefits
Now for the good news. As we touched on earlier, B6 is an organic nutrient, per newsmax.com, that provides a wide range of health-inducing functions for the entire body as well as our brain. Let’s look at a selection of pyridoxine’s best-known benefits, although a consultation with your physician is in order before starting a B6 regimen:
- Provide brain neurotransmitters. These are chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells. They also are involved in processing thoughts and healthy brain development, per livescience.com.
- Bolster the immune system. This helps us in warding off various infections.
- Enhance metabolism. Can help in weight loss. It does this by metabolizing a number of nutrients to extract energy, per organicfacts.net.
- Nerve compression injuries. Vitamin B6 may help alleviate the occurrence and symptoms of conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, for instance, per drweil.com.
- Alleviate PMS symptoms. Vitamin B6 may help with symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome usually is accompanied by a decrease in pyridoxine, which can be a factor behind mood swings and loss of sex drive, among other things.
- Enhance newborns’ health. “During pregnancy and infancy, vitamin B6 is used in brain development and to support immune function,” said Dr. Sherry Ross, a women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, quoted at livescience.com.
- Treat emotional disorders. A deficiency of vitamin B6 can result in decreased formation of hormones, leading to a hormonal imbalance.
- Skin health. Getting enough B6 will help stave off conditions such as eczema, dandruff, acne, hair loss, and dry skin while also working to help prevent diseases such as psoriasis, per organicfacts.com.
- Prevent heart-related problems. B6 helps regulate the amount of fat deposits in and around the heart, and likewise can perform a similar function in staving off stone formation in the kidneys, thus potentially aiding in that important organ’s health.