Veterinarian Reviewed on June 6, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
As with all other B vitamins, B6 is a water soluble vitamin and is not stored in the body. It is however, essential for good health. One of its chores is the protein metabolism of over one hundred enzymes. The proper metabolism of red blood cells is dependent on an adequate intake of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 contributes to the efficient functioning of the immune system and the nervous system and converts L-Tryptophan to Niacin.
The hemoglobin carries needed oxygen to all of the tissues in the body. Vitamin B6 increases the amount of oxygen that is carried by hemoglobin. A deficiency can result in iron deficiency anemia. It also helps to keep blood sugar in its normal range. If your caloric intake is inadequate, your body will need Vitamin B6 to convert carbohydrates and other nutrients to glucose to maintain a normal and healthy blood sugar level.
Where is it found?
A large variety of foods contribute to the ingestion of vitamin B6. Foods such as fortified cereals, meat, fish, poultry, beans and some of your favorite fruits and vegetables contain vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 Dosage
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults aged between 19 years and 50 years is 1.3mg per day.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults that are over the age of 50 years, is 1.7mg per day for men and 1.5mg per day for women.
Pregnant women require 1.9mg per day and lactating women require 2.0mg per day
Rarely do people in the United States suffer from a deficiency of vitamin B6. Seniors may have lower levels due to inadequate nutritional status. Poor quality diets will actually create a deficit in vitamin B6. There are some specific signs of a vitamin B6 deficiency. These include but are not limited to inflammation of the skin, a sore tongue, confusion, depression and if severe enough can cause seizures. It can also be responsible for the development of anemia. Due to the fact that many of these symptoms also occur in other disease processes, it is important to report any change in your physical status to your physician as soon as possible.
Should you take a Vitamin B6 supplement?
If you are eating a poor diet for a prolonged period, a vitamin B6 supplement may actually benefit you. Your first line of defense is to first improve your diet, but this is not always possible. Alcoholics are prone to reduced levels due to the loss and destruction of vitamin B6 in their bodies.
Many clinical trials have been conducted to determine the efficacy of vitamin B6. While some of these studies have shown the supplemental vitamin B6 to be helpful, others have not.
The nervous system uses vitamin B6 for the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine. These are the communication neurotransmitters. Neurological studies have also been done to define a relationship between vitamin B6 and other nervous conditions such as depression, Parkinson’s, Headaches and seizures. It has been found that there are lower levels of serotonin in people with Depression and Migraines. Vitamin B6 has also been proven to be beneficial in these instances.
For many years, supplemental vitamin B6 has been recommended for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, although there have been no definitive studies that prove its effectiveness. There have been instances of neuropathies that have been caused by an excess of vitamin B6.
Before beginning a supplemental dosage of vitamin B6 consult with your physician as it has been shown to interfere with the metabolism of some medications.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan