Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is in the B vitamin family of vitamins. It is required by the body to make amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids. These compounds make up the building blocks of cells.

 

Vitamin B6 is a potent antioxidant.

The antioxidant activity of vitamin B6 rivals the antioxidant activity of carotenoids (vitamin A) and tocopherols (vitamin E) in its ability to quench reactive oxygen species.
Reactive oxygen species are highly chemically reactive substances that can cause significant damage to cellular structures when not balanced appropriately by antioxidants such as vitamin B6 and other antioxidant compounds such as epigallocatechin gallage (EGCG) found in matcha.

Vitamin B6 is found in food sources including meat, vegetables, fruit, and grains.

Vitamin B6 content varies according to the food type as well as the way it is grown or produced. Additionally, there are several barriers to absorption of vitamin B6 from foods.
  1. Freezing and processing of foods can lead to losses of up to 70% of vitamin B6.
  2. Food additives and pesticides impair its nutritional value. Last, prolonged heating (especially in animal foods) as well as light exposure can damage and inactivate vitamin B6.

About 10% of the United States population is deficient in this vitamin.

Some of the symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency include irritability, depression, dermatitis or skin inflammation, anemia (lacking enough red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the various tissues of the body), and mouth ulcers. Severe vitamin B6 deficiency has been linked to seizures.

Nutritional need of vitamin B6 varies person-to-person.

Athletes and persons consuming high protein diets need more vitamin B6 compared to average.

Vitamin B6 is involved as a necessary component in over 100 important chemical reactions in the body.

We would like to discuss here a few of the key processes that we think HONE customers might be interested in.
  1. Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of several important neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that the nervous system uses to communicate within the nervous system as well as between the nervous system to the rest of the body. These endogenous chemicals enable the relay of information between individual neurons and regulate a wide array of bodily functions. Common conditions associated with an imbalance in neurotransmitters include mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, an imbalance in neurotransmitters can affect various physical conditions including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hormone imbalance, chronic pain conditions, migraine headaches and adrenal dysfunction.
  1. Vitamin B6 is required for the synthesis of hemoglobin.
Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to body’s tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues back to the lungs. The tissues of the body need the oxygen that is dropped off by hemoglobin to perform aerobic respiration. Aerobic respiration is the process within cells that provides energy to power the process of metabolism, or the set of chemical reactions that are considered life-sustaining in the body. Metabolism can be understood by its three main purposes: conversion of food to energy, conversion of food/fuel to building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids and carbohydrates, and elimination of wastes.
  1. Vitamin B6 is an important nutrient required for liver detoxification.
Because vitamin B6 is involved in catabolic processes, or the breakdown of large molecules into smaller building blocks, it is often used in a functional medicine models to help enhance liver detoxification pathways. Vitamin B6 is also required for Phase 1 detoxification of fat-soluble toxins by the liver. These toxins include metabolic end-products, microorganisms, contaminants/pollutants, insecticides, pesticides, food additives, drugs and alcohol. Despite our best attempts at ‘clean living’, we are all exposed to these toxins every day. Vitamin B6 is crucial to our body’s natural method of removing these toxins from the body.

 

This article is not intended as medical advice. Vitamin B6 deficiency as well as excess consumption of vitamin B6 can be serious. Please consult with your doctor before taking any nutritional supplement to see if the product is right for you.

 

 

References
Barnard ND, Weissinger R, Jaster BJ, Kahan S, Smyth C. Nutrition Guide for Clinicians. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine; 2018.
Gaby, A., 2017. Nutritional Medicine, Second Edition. Concord: Fritz Perlberg Publishing.
Hellmann H, Mooney S. Vitamin B6: a molecule for human health?. Molecules. 2010;15(1):442-59.