Vitamin B6 plays a significant role in different body processes among them; maintaining the health of the blood vessels, Vitamin B6 is needed to regulate levels of homocysteine which is a compound within the blood. Vitamin B6 is mainly acquired in the body by eating food which is rich in proteins, especially meat. Vitamin B6 high levels in the body lead to the inflammation and the development of blood vessels disease which lead to heart attacks. Vitamin B6 reduces the homocysteine concentration levels so that the damaged blood vessels can heal reducing further health complications (Csapo, J., Cs Albert, and J. Prokisch 146).
Vitamin B6 supports the brain functioning in which it promotes proper brain function and development. The deficiency of the vitamin B6 in the body plays a significant role in the poor memory function and contribute to cognitive damage of an individual. Homocysteine levels damage the neurons and the central nervous system. Vitamin B6 plays an important role in the secretion of the hormone serotonin and norepinephrine that control mood and concentration. The importance of Vitamin B6 has been overlooked by many nutritionists and conventional medicine except in the cases of Vitamin B6 deficiency which are rare. Lack of enough Vitamin B6 can hinder the ability of an individual to concentrate as well as cause mood swings in which the happiness and sadness of an individual vary sharply (Brito, Alex, et al., 250).
Vitamin B6 deficiency anemia occurs when an individual is getting less nutritional requirements that help in the production of healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B6 plays a significant role in the creation of red blood cells in which the lack of enough red blood cells results in anemia. Vitamin B6 helps treat anemia by its contribution to the creation of blood hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is transported throughout the body by red blood cells which play a significant role in availing oxygen to the cells and as well as the mobilization of iron in the body. Consumption of the Vitamin B6 promotes lower anemia symptoms and prevent its occurrence (Csapo, J., Cs Albert, and J. Prokisch 148).
Vitamin B6 deficiency anemia is mainly common amongst the seniors because of decreased appetite as well as vegetarians because meat is the primary source of Vitamin B6. The causes for poor Vitamin B6 varies from one individual to another because of reasons such as exposure to pollutants as well as medications which deplete Vitamin B6 in the body. However, the most probable cause of low intake of a diet that is rich in bioavailable vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 prevents eye disorders, just like in any other cases of a poor nutrient or poor diet are causes of many eye diseases. Taking vitamin B6 with other minerals that include folate helps in prevention of loss of vision and eye disorders. Vitamin B6 slows the early onset of certain eye diseases, including age-related macular relapse (Fudge, Jared, et al., 137).
Food Sources rich in Vitamin B6
This is the list of the food products that are known to have high amounts of Vitamin B6 source in the diet. Molasses and Sorghum syrup, examples: molasses, sorghum, (100 g = 0.67 mg)
Seeds and nuts, examples: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, (100g = 1.1 mg)
Dried herbs and Spices, examples: red chili powder, paprika, (1 tablespoon = 0.28mg)
Fruits, examples: banana, avocadoes, (100g = 0.37mg)
Vegetables, examples: Brussels sprouts, Winter squash, (1 cup = 0.7mg)
Whole-Grain foods, examples: breakfast cereals like fortified oatmeal, pancakes, (1 cup = 0.5mg)
Vegetarian proteins, examples: nuts, seeds, (1 cup = 0.6mg)
Animal products, examples: pork, milk, meat, (ounce portion = 0.8mg)
Fish, examples: tuna, trout, (0.5mg per serving)
Vegetable juice cocktail, (6 ounces = 0.13mg)
RDA in Vitamin B6
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin B6 is as shown below. In addition, the table shows some of the AI in some of the groups.
Life StageAgeMales Females Upper Intake
Infants 0-6 months0.1 (AI)0.1 (AI)-
Infants 7-12 months 0.3 (AI) 0.3 (AI)-
Children 1-3 years 0.5 0.5 30
Children4-8 years 0.6 0.6 40
Children 9-13 years 1.0 1.0 60
Adolescents 14-18 years 1.3 1.2 80
Adults 19-50 years 1.3 1.3 100
Adults 51+1.7 1.5 100
Pregnant all ages -1.9-
Lactating all ages -2.0-
Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Vitamin B6 deficiency is the inadequate intakes of dietary foods and supplements that provide bioavailable vitamin B6. A severe deficiency of the vitamin is uncommon; studies have linked the deficiency with an increased range of disorders and symptoms that are different (Oregon State University, para 8). Those people who take alcohol are at the most risk of vitamin B6 deficiency, due to low intakes of vitamins and an impaired metabolism of vitamin B6 in their body. In adults, the deficiency is observed in the patterns of abnormal electroencephalogram (EEG). Because vitamin B6 is important in the functioning of nerves its deficiency its linked with neuropsychiatric disorders, includes mood disorders, seizures, and migraines. In addition, the deficiency mostly linked with increased heart disease and arthritis (Csapo, J., Cs Albert, and J. Prokisch 146). Symptoms caused by vitamin B6 deficiency are; fatigue, confusion, mouth ulcers, inflammation of the tongue and muscle pains.
Toxicity effects on Vitamin B6
Adverse effects of vitamin B6 supplements is noted in the supplements and not food sources. The vitamin is water soluble and excreted in the urine; high doses of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) with long-term supplementation may lead to painful neurological symptoms. These symptoms include pain and patients being numb in case of extremities in severe cases, difficulty in walking. Katan notes, Pyridoxine causes sensory neuropathy at the intakes of 1000mg per day. It is more than 800 times the intake which food can offer on a daily basis. There have been occasional reports of toxicity at the intakes of between 100-300 mg per day and more. However, there are a few cases of individuals who were affected by doses less than 500mg. In order to be able to regulate the intake of these supplements, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has recommended the upper intake to be 100mg/day for adults (Brito, Alex, et al., 256).
Interesting facts about Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions in the human body which makes the vitamin an integral part of the human body functioning according to (National Institutes of Health, para 2). Further, Vitamin B6 plays a major role in approximately 60 types of protein in the body (Csapo, J., Cs Albert, and J. Prokisch 146).
Brito, Alex, et al. "Vitamin B-12 treatment of asymptomatic, deficient, elderly Chileans improves conductivity in myelinated peripheral nerves, but high serum folate impairs vitamin B-12 status response assessed by the combined indicator of vitamin B-12 status." The American journal of clinical nutrition 103.1 (2016): 250-257.
Csapo, J., Cs Albert, and J. Prokisch. "The role of vitamins in the diet of the elderly II. Water-soluble vitamins." Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Alimentaria 10.1 (2017): 146-166.
Fudge, Jared, et al. "Rationalising vitamin B 6 biofortification in crop plants." Current opinion in biotechnology 44 (2017): 130-137.
Herbs info. Amazing Facts about Vitamin B6. (2017). http://www.herbs-info.com/blog/amazing-facts-about-vitamin-b6/
National Institutes of Health. Strengthening Knowledge and Understanding of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin B6. (2016). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/
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