Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Pyridoxine - also called vitamin B6, is absorbed through food and requires a well-filled store of zinc and vitamin B2 for activation in the body. Due to the participation in over 100 processes in the body and a not very large vitamin B6 storage in the body, we need a regular supply to prevent deficiency symptoms.
Good to know about vitamin B6
- The daily requirement of vitamin B6 is between 1.4 and 1.6 mg for men and 1.2 mg for women.
- Vitamin B6 is essential for the conversion of tryptophan into niacin
- Vitamin B6 is susceptible to heat and light; therefore, during the cooking process in water, the vitamin is lost
- Vitamin B6 has an antispasmodic effect and is best used together with magnesium
The functions of the vitamin in the body
Formation of niacin
With the help of vitamin B6, the body can produce some necessary niacin (vitamin B3) itself from the amino acid tryptophan.
Maintenance of normal blood sugar levels
Vitamin B6 is needed to convert protein and carbohydrate stores into glucose, which helps maintain normal blood sugar levels between meals.
Erythrocytes (red blood cells)
Vitamin B6 is important for the formation of haemoglobin (protein) and for oxygen transport by red blood cells.
Vitamin B6 plays an essential role in the synthesis of fats that form the myelin sheath that protects the nerve cord. Sufficient vitamin B6 is also required for the activation of an enzyme without which EPA and DHA cannot be formed from alpha-linolenic acid, and gamma-linolenic acid cannot be formed from cis-linoleic acid.
Synthesis of proteins and neurotransmitters
Vitamin B6 plays a central role in the conversion steps of amino acids and the synthesis of new proteins; for example, a synthesis of collagen also depends on the activation of vitamin B6. The vitamin is also involved in the formation of various neurotransmitters, including serotonin (formed in the body from tryptophan).
Vitamin B6 deficiency - the symptoms
Vitamin B6 deficiency often occurs in conjunction with deficiency of other B vitamins, especially niacin and vitamin B2.
- Lack of dream recall
This is often a sign of the presence of vitamin B6 deficiency.
Can vitamin B6 be overdosed?
Taking therapeutic doses (50 mg/day and above) may cause numbness in fingers and toes.
This is probably due to the fact that vitamin B6 stays in the body longer compared to other B vitamins, and the liver's ability to convert it to pyridoxal-5-phosphate is overstressed. Therefore, decisions for high therapeutic dosages should be left to the physician.
Indications for vitamin B6
- Anaemia (anaemia of the blood)
Vitamin B6 can alleviate certain forms of anaemia by being taken either alone or in combination with iron and vitamin A, depending on the form of anaemia.
Vitamin B6 has a multiple positive influence in the prevention and treatment of coronary sclerosis and cerebral sclerosis: it reduces the tendency of platelets to clump, lowers LDL and increases HDL cholesterol. In addition, in combination with vitamin B12 and folic acid, it can lower homocysteine levels.
There are certain forms of arthritis that can be treated well with vitamin B6.
Treatment with vitamin B6 may reduce the frequency as well as the severity of asthma attacks in children and adults.
- Diabetes mellitus
Vitamin B6 can reduce symptoms of high blood sugar during pregnancy.
Taking vitamin B6 - together with folic acid and vitamin B12 - supports healthy bone structure as a result of the regulation of homocysteine metabolism and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Premenstrual syndrome
Vitamin B6 can alleviate some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as mood swings, oedema, acne, and breast tenderness. Since vitamin B6 plays a role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, it is also able to help with depression, insomnia, nervousness and anxiety.
- Pregnancy symptoms
Vitamin B6 is effective against nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.