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How many of us know that a deficiency of Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine can make you susceptible for heart disease, brain degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s as well as muscle pain, depression and dragging fatigue?
Vitamin B6 is one of the most crucial vitamins for health and it’s a part of the vitamin B complex family. Now, all B vitamins, including vitamin B6, play an important role in a number of life-altering physical and psychological functions. All of them have a vital role to play in helping to maintain a healthy metabolism, nerve and liver function as well as skin and eye health, as well as good amount of energy levels.
Role of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine has a number of derivatives, including pyridoxal, pyridoxal 5-phosphate and pyridoxamine. And all of these are involved in major body functions like movement, memory, energy use and blood flow. This is the primary reason why a vitamin B6 deficiency can show up in a range of symptoms from physical to psychological, temporary to chronic and serious.
Vitamin B6 also helps your body to
Maintain a healthy nervous system
- To make more hemoglobin, blood cells that carry oxygen in blood
- To provide energy from our food
- To balance blood sugar levels
- To act as a natural pain relief
- To boost mood
- To create antibodies for self-protection
Preventing a Vitamin B6 Deficiency
The recommended amount of vitamin B6 for an adult under the age of 50 is 1.3 milligrams. Normally, this amount is easy to get from your diet, assuming you are eating a balanced diet with enough calories. However, the amount the body’s requirement for vitamin B6 jumps up as you age. Experts recommend that adults over 50 get up to 1.7 milligram daily of this vitamin.
As this requirement is not met, older people get more prone to a vitamin B6 deficiency and so do malnourished children and adults. Foods like poultry, pork, nuts and beans contain high levels of vitamin B6 and you can include more of these to get the recommended dose of vitamin B6. However, since vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, so you need to replenish your body with it daily as it doesn’t get stored in the body.
Symptoms of Vitamin B6 deficiency:
Lack of energy and chronic fatigue: Vitamin B6 helps supply your body with energy by improving your metabolism. It has a vital role to play in protein metabolism – it helps your body break down the protein that you eat and produce energy quickly. So one very important pointer that you have a vitamin B6 deficiency is when you get fatigued quickly during exercise.
Brain function decline: Vitamin B6 vitamin helps your brain communicate with other parts of the body more efficiently. So, if you have a decline in muscle efficiency it could be a sign of vitamin B6 deficiency.
High Levels of amino acid Homocysteine: High levels of amino acid Homocysteine do not cause any symptoms that you can detect by yourself but tests can tell you if you have high levels of this amino acid in your body. And these high levels are directly linked to vitamin B6 deficiency. What high levels of homocysteine can do is cause heart attacks. But vitamin B6 helps keep a check on these levels to reduce your risk for a cardiovascular event.
Other symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency are:
- Changes in mood, such as depression, irritability, and anxiety
- Muscle pains
- A worsening of PMS symptoms
- And worsening of symptoms of anemia
- As vitamin B6 is so important for nerve function, a deficiency is linked with neuro-psychiatric disorders like seizures, migraines, and chronic pain.
- An increased risk of heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis
- Higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a General Physician.