Vitamin B6 is a member of the B-Complex vitamin group. It’s also known as pyridoxine. 2
This water-soluble vitamin is naturally found in the human body as well as in a large amount of Vitamin B6 foods particularly in grains, vegetables, meats, cheese, fish and eggs. 3
Vitamin B6 Health Uses and Health Benefits
Pyridoxine, or Vitamin B6 health benefits include supporting adrenal function and maintaining the nervous system. It works to produce neurotransmitters which are the chemicals that let the brain and nerve cells communicate. Vitamin B6 also acts as a coenzyme that is vital in breaking down and utilizing carbohydrates, proteins and fats. 2
Red blood cell production and the immune system are also boosted by healthy amounts of Vitamin B6. Pyridoxine is also proven to work in detoxifying the liver and improving brain function. Three of the brain’s key neurotransmitters—serotonin, GABA and dopamine—all require Vitamin B6 for proper synthesis. 4
A Vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to all sorts of health problems. Usually, the body regulates itself through a proper diet but pyridoxine supplements can be helpful in treating these conditions.
- Depression - Depression is a common name for a serious mood disorder that is caused by a number of physical and psychological conditions. The effects of Vitamin B6 on keeping the brain and central nervous system operating normally have a significant impact on treating depression. Increased production of serotonin from Vitamin B6 is the main reason.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually caused by irritation or injury to the nerves, often resulting from repetitive manual tasks. It manifests in the tendons of the hands, wrists and lower extremities. Vitamin B6 has a positive effect on reduction inflammation associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Homocystinuria - This is an inherited, defective gene disorder where the amino acid methionine cannot be metabolized. Massive doses of Vitamin B6 have been shown to improve methionine metabolization.
- Asperger Syndrome - Asperger syndrome is a developmental disorder which causes delays in motor responses. Often it presents in poor social and interpersonal skills. While Aspergers can’t be cured, studies show that a deficiency in Vitamin B6 can aggravate behavior.
- Fractures - Brittle bones, especially in older people, are often caused by a nutrient deficiency that reduces bone density and strength. Many hip fractures are associated with a Vitamin B6 deficiency.
- Intermittent Claudication - This is a symptom, rather than a disorder, that describes pain in the muscles often resulting from short-term exercise. It’s usually seen as limping. Vitamin B6 helps to prevent the buildup of fatty acids in arteries that supply blood to the muscles.
Vitamin B6 Side Effects and Precautions
Vitamin B is generally a very safe and stable substance when taken in moderate doses. Over 200 milligrams per day can result in a drop of blood pressure and can affect blood sugar levels. Vitamin B6 side effects also include acting as a blood thinner and can increase the risk of bleeding. 3
Over time, high amounts of Vitamin B can be toxic and can cause nerve damage, sometimes irreversible. Sensitivity to sunlight can increase with elevated amounts of Vitamin B that can result in skin rashes. Other Vitamin B6 side effects include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach discomfort and liver damage with elevated use. 2
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be careful in Vitamin B consumption as should people with allergic reactions to pyridoxine. 1