Vitamin B6 is a white, crystalline substance. Pyridoxal, pyridoxamine and pyridoxine are collectively known as vitamin B6. All three compounds are efficiently converted to the biologically active form of vitamin B6 , pyridoxal phosphate. This conversion is catalyzed by the ATP requiring enzyme, pyridoxal kinase.
Food Sources of Vitamin B6
Good sources to obtain pyridoxine from are brewer's yeast, eggs, chicken, carrots, fish, liver, kidneys, peas, wheat germ, walnuts.
Functions of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 plays a role in the synthesis of antibodies by the immune system, which are needed to fight many diseases. It helps maintain normal nerve function and also acts in the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B6 is also required for the chemical reactions needed to digest proteins. The higher the protein intake, the more the need for vitamin B6. It is essential for the normal reproductive process and healthy pregnancies.
Vitamin B 6 plays a role in cancer immunity and aids in the prevention of arteriosclerosis. It inhibits the formation of a toxic chemical called homocysteine, which attacks the heart muscle and allows the deposition of cholesterol around the heart muscle. Vitamin B 6 acts as a mild diuretic, reducing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and it may be useful in preventing oxalate kidney stones as well. It is helpful in the treatment of allergies, arthritis, and asthma.
A healthy diet should include 1.3 to 1.7 milligrams of vitamin B6. Higher doses have been tested as a treatment for conditions ranging from premenstrual syndrome to attention deficit disorder and carpal tunnel syndrome. To date, there is little evidence that it works.
During pregnancy and lactation the requirement for vitamin B 6 increases approximately 0.6 mg/day.
What are the deficiency symptoms of vitamin B6?
Deficiencies of vitamin B 6 are rare and usually are related to an overall deficiency of all the B-complex vitamins. Isoniazid and penicillamine (used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and cystinurias) are two drugs that complex with pyridoxal and pyridoxal phosphate resulting in a deficiency in this vitamin.
Deficiency of this vitamin can cause mouth and tongue sores, irritability, confusion, and depression. May result in nervousness, insomnia, skin eruptions, loss of muscular control, anemia, mouth disorders, muscular weakness, dermatitis, arm & leg cramps, loss of hair, slow learning, and water retention.
Overdosage signs of vitamin B6
Sustained periods of large doses may cause irreversible nerve damage. The excess of vitamin B-6 may also lead to kidney stone formation.
Large doses of vitamin B6 can cause neurological disorders and numbness.
How to Store the Vitamin B6?
Heat and/or moisture may alter the vitamin. Refrigeration is recommended.