What is Vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6, or Pyridoxine, is one of the components of the eight Vitamin B complex used by humans. As is true with all the parts of the Vitamin B complex, it is used to convert carbohydrates into the energy form people use; glucose. It is also needed to produce red and white blood cells, for proper nerve function by helping the body make several neurotransmitters or chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another nerve cell. In addition, it is essential for normal brain function and helps to produce the mood influencing hormones, norepinephrine and serotonin, and the body clock regulator; melatonin. It is also used by the body to aid in the absorption of Vitamin B12.

It is found in an array of foods, such as, tuna, bananas, roasted chicken breast, turkey, calf’s liver and other organ meats, halibut, snapper, cod, salmon, beef tenderloin, whole grains, soybeans, peanuts, walnuts, potatoes, mushrooms and bell peppers. In cases of mild Pyridoxine deficiency, the symptoms are: muscle weakness, irritability, nervousness, depression, difficulties concentration, and short-term memory loss. Other Pyrdoxine deficiency symptoms are: fatigue, anemia, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis; a common skin condition where the skin develops white or yellow scales in response to inflammation, convulsions, and seizures. In rare cases sideroblastic anemia, a condition that prevents the blood from carry oxygen in appropriate amounts throughout the system, develops. This is a condition where bone marrow is unable to form healthy red blood cells, but produces cells without the ability to properly incorporate iron into the cell. Deficiencies are rare, except in the elderly and alcoholics, because of the wide range of foods containing Vitamin B6, and the reason for this problem is usually a very poor diet.

The recommended daily intake is 1.7. to 7.3 mg per person depending on age and gender. Overdoses are uncommon because as a water-soluble vitamin it is easily eliminated through urine. However, in cases where people are taking this vitamin in the amount of 200mg per day or more overdoses are possible. A neurotoxic syndrome associated with large amounts of Pyridoxine is believed to have been identified. The symptoms of a neurotoxic syndrome are: memory problems, concentration issues, difficulties with reaction time, sleeping, thinking, language, as well as, depression and confusion. In the cases of excess Vitamin B6, the symptoms were alleviated when the amounts of the vitamin was reduced.

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