Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine is a water soluble vitamin belonging to the B group. It is an essential vitamin as is necessary for the production of antibodies that are the foundation of the body’s defence mechanism. It is also vital for proper functioning of nervous system and forms substances that act as neurotransmitters. It helps in production and maintenance of the protective layer around nerves.
It is required for production of red blood cells and vitamin B6 deficiency can cause anemia. It is required for proper breakdown and utilization of proteins and keeps the blood glucose levels in check. It cuts down the risk of Parkinson’s disease and is effective in controlling the symptoms of carpel Tunnel Syndrome.
Since the body does not store large quantities of water soluble vitamins so it is necessary to take adequate amounts of B6. The recommended daily dose for Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine for adults is 1.5 to 2 mg per day. Pregnant and breast feeding mothers require extra B6.
Having a balanced diet ensures adequate supply of B6 for optimal health and wellness.
Vitamin B6 is found in:
- Red bell peppers
- Turnip greens
Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine deficiency can cause anemia, dry skin, dermatitis, drowsiness, confusion, fatigue, tiredness, anxiety, depression, mouth ulcers, cracked corners of mouth and neurological symptoms. It can lead to tingling sensation in hands and feet and is also associated with numbness.
Isolated deficiency of B6 is very rare, but it is be co-present in other vitamin deficiencies. The incidence is higher in alcoholics and malnourished people, especially elderly. People with chronic diseases like liver disease or HIV are also more likely to develop Vitamin B6 deficiency.
It is safe to take the recommended amount of Vitamin B6, however large doses of B6 are associated with some serious side effects. Some people can develop allergic reaction to B6 supplements and high doses can lead to numbness, sedation, low blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm and an increased tendency of bleeding.
It interacts with some medications as well, so it is advisable to take B6 supplements after consulting your health care provider if you are on any long term medication. These effects are only associated with B6 supplements, dietary B6 does not cause any of these reactions.
It is safe in pregnancy and lactation.