Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

General Info

Absorption

Vitamin B6 is easily absorbed in the intestines.

Dietary Origins

The best sources of pyridoxine are bananas, brewer's yeast, legumes, organ meats, peanuts, potatoes, and wheat germ. Intestinal flora; harmless microorganisms that inhabit the intestinal tract and are essential for normal functioning, also synthesize vitamin B6.

Overview

Vitamin B6/Pyridoxine is a water-soluble B vitamin that is required within the body for many processes - more than one hundred enzyme reactions may be dependent on vitamin B6 – therefore its role in the body is very diverse. Several activities are related to the metabolism of amino acids and other proteins. Because vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, like the reset of its family, replenishment is necessary, even though there is some storage in muscle.

Toxicities & Precautions

General

At recommended doses, there are no known toxicities or precautions.

Side Effects

Vitamin B6 can be poisonous to nerve tissue when taken in large doses. Symptoms may include tingling in the hands, and decreased muscle coordination. Recovery occurs without problems after reducing intake of vitamin B6.

Functions in the Body

Energy Production

Enables the conversion of glycogen to glucose for energy production.

Niacin Conversion

It is essential for the conversion of tryptophan (trip-tuh-fan), an essential amino acid to niacin, a crystalline acid, used in the treatment of pellagra.

Red Blood Cells

Vitamin B6 is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying pigment of red blood cells, and the growth of red blood cells.

Serotonin

Involved in the synthesis of serotonin (ser-uh-toh-nin), a neurotransmitter that is involved in sleep, depression, memory, and other neurological processes.

Symptoms & Causes of Deficiency

Vitamin B6 deficiency has been proven to be one of the most common vitamin deficiencies, which is to a degree due to the large amounts that are lost during cooking and food processing. The symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiencies take place primarily as circulatory, dermatologic, and neurologic problems. Because of its many metabolic roles, there are a large variety of deficiency symptoms, which include the following: anemia, altered mobility, decreased alertness, depression, elevated homocysteine, lethargy, nausea, nerve inflammation, PMS, dermatitis, sleep disturbances, and vomiting.