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16Oct

NUTRIENTS A-Z: VITAMIN B6 (PYRIDOXINE)

Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, helps the body turn food into energy.  Since B vitamins are water soluble, the body can easily run out of B6, so it is important to consume foods that contain it.  Some of the best sources of B6 include brewer's yeast, wheat bran, wheat germ, liver, kidney, heart, cantaloupe, cabbage, milk, eggs, beef, green leafy vegetables, whole grains.

Vitamin B6 controls levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood, which may be key to lowering susceptibility to heart disease and stroke.  It is also used to make several neurotransmitters in the brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another.  These chemicals are important for processing thought and are responsible for telling the body to make hormones that influence mood and the body’s sleep cycles.

Women use vitamin B6 for premenstrual syndrome (PMS), depression related to pregnancy, the birth control pill, and symptoms related to menopause.  A study found that 30 mg/day of B6 may help reduce morning sickness.  Vitamin B6 is important for the health of babies because during pregnancy and infancy, vitamin B6 is used for brain development and to support healthy immune function.

Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency include:

  • Weak immune system

  • Anemia

  • Itchy rashes

  • Scaly skin on the lips

  • Cracks at the corners of the mouth

  • Swollen tongue

  • Depression 

  • Confusion

  •  Irritability or nervousness

  • Can't remember dreams

  • Dizziness

  • Swelling of hands, feet or ankles

  • Unable to close hands into tight, flat fists

  • Soreness, tenderness, weakness of thumb muscles

  • Greasy scaliness on skin near nose, mouth, eyes

  • Muscular twitching

  • Greenish tint to urine

  • Hyperactivity

  • Poor co-ordination in walking

  • FEMALE:  Nausea of pregnancy; acne worse during periods; swelling of face, abdomen or extremities during menses

Supplementary range:   50 to 110 mg daily.

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