Home » Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Benefits, Deficiency, Food Sources, Dosage

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Benefits, Deficiency, Food Sources, Dosage

It is also know n as antidermatitis factor. It is soluble in water.

In 1934 Gyorgyi observed that an extract of yeast cured dermatitis in rats, which was not curable with other members of B vitamins. Isolated from natural sources in 1938. Stiller and others characterized its structure in 1939. It is a pyridine derivative, which was synthesized in 1939 by Harris independently, and by Kuhn and others.

Pyridoxine exists in three forms: pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine. Pyridoxal phosphate is the active form. It functions as a coenzyme for many chemical reactions related to amino acid and protein metabolism.

This vitamin is a white crystal, soluble in water and heat stable in both acidic and alkaline solutions.

Sources of vitamin B6

Rich sources are germs of various grains and seeds, leafy vegetables etc. animal sources include liver, egg yolk, meat, kidney, yeast etc. traces are present in all common articles of the food. It has also been produced synthetically.

Benefits of vitamin B6

It helps in the synthesis of the fats from proteins and carbohydrates. It is suggested that pyridoxine is involved in the active transport of amino acids and certain metallic ions across cell membranes.

There is increased evidence that the vitamin B6 is concerned with the metabolism of the central nervous system.

It takes part in protein metabolism and to some extent in fat and carbohydrate metabolism also.

Pyridoxine is required to balance the hormonal changes in women as well as helping the immune system and the growth of new cells. It is also used in the processing and metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, while assisting with controlling mood as well as behavior. It is also useful for children with learning difficulties, as well as helps in the prevention of dandruff, eczema and psoriasis.

It also helps to maintain the balance of sodium and potassium as well promotes red blood cell production. It is further involved in the nucleic acids RNA as well as DNA. It is further linked to cancer immunity and fights the formation of the toxic chemical homocysteine, which is harmful to the heart muscle.

Women in particular may suffer from pre-menstrual fluid retention, severe period pains, emotional PMS symptoms, premenstrual acne and nausea in early pregnancy. Mood swings, depression as well as loss of sexual drive is sometimes noted when pyridoxine is in short supply and the person is on hormone replacement therapy or on birth control pills.

Deficiency symptoms of vitamin B6

Peculiar dermatitis, reduced growth, degeneration of the nerves, reproductive failure and hypochromic microcytic anaemia, weakness of muscles and convulsive seizures occur in absence of this vitamin. In 1951, deficiency of this vitamin was noted in infants due to destruction of this vitamin in a preparation of baby food, which produced epileptic type of convulsions. In subjects suffering from Pellagra and Beriberi, synthetic vitamin B6 can easily cure insomnia, irritability, abdominal pain, difficulty in walking and such other symptoms-which fail to be cured by other vitamins.

Deficiency of this vitamin may result in extreme nervousness and irritability in adults.

Seborrhoiec skin lesions round the nose, eyes and mouth, cheilosis, glossitis, mental depression or confusion, occasionally albuminuria and granulocytopenia.

Deficiency of this vitamin may also cause nails that are ridged, an inflamed tongue as well as changes to bones – which can include osteoporosis and arthritis. Kidney stones may also appear.

It is also useful in motion sickness, vomiting of pregnancy and agranulocytosis.

Daily requirement:

In infants 0.3 mgm and in adults 2 mgm per day. It is sufficiently present in normal diet.

During pregnancy and lactation, 2.5 mg/day

Riboflavin deficiency impairs the optimal utilization of pyridoxine. INH, an antituberculosis drug is a recognized antagonist and patients receiving INH are often provided with a supplement of pyridoxine (10mg/day.)

When more may be required

Patients who are taking antidepressants, contraceptive pills or be on hormone replacement therapy may need more of this vitamin. As this vitamin is readily lost in the urine, it must be taken regularly to ensure an adequate amount in the body.

Anybody on a very high protein diet, using alcohol, or allergic to MSG (mono sodium glutamate) and/or tartrazine may also require increased amount of vitamin B6.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake

High intake, such as in excess of 2,000 mg per day, may cause neurological damage.

People on medication for Parkinson’s disease should be careful about taking Vitamin B6 as it can inactivate levodopa.

People taking pyridoxine late at night sometimes experience very vivid dreams.

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