Vitamin B6

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General Description:

  • vitamin B6 is not a single substance but a complex of three different ones that can all meet your body’s need for this vitamin
  • supplemental B6 is usually pyridoxine

Actions:

  • pyridoxine coenzymes function at all levels of protein and amino acid metabolism, and in making hemoglobin
  • activates many enzymes and enzyme systems
  • B6 is essential to the enzyme glycogen phosphorylase that breaks down muscle glycogen for fuel
  • doctors are experimenting with B6 for a variety of health problems, such as PMS and the nerve disorder carpal tunnel syndrome
  • the effects of vitamin B6 on the brain are also under study, with possible importance to conditions such as depression
  • involved in the production of antibodies which protect against bacterial invasion
  • essential for the synthesis and proper action of both DNA and RNA
  • helps maintain the healthy function of the brain and nervous system
  • important for normal reproductive processes and a healthy pregnancy
  • prevents nervous and skin disorders, such as acne
  • protects against degenerative diseases, such as elevated cholesterol, some types of heart disease and diabetes
  • prevents tooth decay
  • is a natural diuretic
  • can prevent or lessen epileptic seizures
  • helps prevent and relieve premenstrual edema
  • regulates the balance between Na and K
  • required for B12 absorption and for the production of sufficient HCl
  • helps to convert tryptophan to niacin and serotonin
  • assists in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
  • allows body to make heme, an important component of blood
  • protects skin from acne and stress

Deficiency:

  • RDA is 2.0 mg.
  • two groups of people give nutritionists concern regarding deficiency: 1) the elderly and 2) women who are pregnant and nursing
  • deficiency symptoms include: digestive problems, such as abdominal distress and bloating; nervous system complaints, such as depression, confusion, and irritablity; skin problems, such as flaking, irritation, and cracking; anemia; edema; inflammation of the colon; insomnia; tooth decay; migraine headaches, and weight loss
  • pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P) is an activated form of vitamin B6
  • most molecules of P-5-P are broken down in digestion to plain pyridoxine, and transported that way through the intestinal wall
  • the body then turns pyridoxine into P-5-P again

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • toxicity is low up to 2000 mg.
  • high doses (2000 – 6000 mg.) can cause a nerve disorder called sensory neuropathy where there is damage to the nerves resulting in loss of touch sensation
  • mega-doses cause the body to deplete glycogen stores very quickly
  • vitamin B6 can strip levodopa (L-dopa) of it’s healing properties with Parkinson’s disease
  • B6 can sharply reduce the amount of phenobarbitol of phenytoin (Dilantin) in the blood
  • B6 also interacts with the following drugs: birth control pills; cycloserine, an antibiotic; Hydralazine, to lower blood pressure; Isoniazid or INH, the anti-tuberculosis drug; Penicillamine, which is not penicillin, but a drug used in rare genetic disorders and in severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Nursing mothers should avoid high doses of vitamin B6 (eg. 2000mg.) as it may interfere with the secretion of breast milk.

Sources:

  • wheat germ, wheat bran, soybeans, walnuts, black strap molasses, cantaloupe, cabbage, milk, leafy green vegetables, green peppers, carrots, peanuts, pecans, brewer’s yeast, bananas, avocados, and eggs
  • raw foods contain more than cooked foods as heat and processing destroy B6

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