Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 is also called an “antidepressant vitamin” because it is involved in the synthesis of serotonin!

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is a water-soluble vitamin that is rapidly excreted from the body (approximately 8 hours), i.e. it does not accumulate in the body and requires regular replenishment.

The role of vitamin B6 in the body:

  • Protein synthesis.
  • Regulation of blood glucose level.
  • Hemoglobin synthesis and oxygen transport by erythrocytes.
  • Synthesis of lipids (myelin sheaths, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and cell membranes).
  • Synthesis of neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine)

That is, vitamin B6 is necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous system, promotes the absorption of proteins and fats, participates in the formation of red blood cells, and has a lipotropic effect necessary for the normal functioning of the liver.

It also slows down the aging process due to the proper synthesis of nucleic acids, reduces spasms and cramps, and numbness of the extremities, and helps prevent various skin disorders.

The recommended daily dose of vitamin B6 is:

1.6-2.2 mg for adults, 1.8-2.4 mg for pregnant women, 2.0-2.6 mg for nursing mothers, and 0.9-1.6 mg for children, depending on age and gender.

Increased doses of the vitamin are necessary when taking antidepressants and oral contraceptives, during increased stress, as well as for alcohol drinkers, smokers, and AIDS patients.

Signs of hypovitaminosis:

  • Reddened, scaly, oily skin with itching, especially around the nose, mouth, ears, and genital area.
  • Cracks in the corners of the mouth and on the lips.
  • Anemia.
  • Reduced function of leukocytes, reduced production of antibodies.
  • Muscle cramps, convulsions.
  • Depression, anxiety, headache, insomnia.

Increased risk of deficiency states is observed during the period of rapid growth of the body, pregnancy, excessive consumption of alcohol and coffee, smoking, oral contraceptives, and chronic diseases (asthma, diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis).

Contraindications to the use of vitamin B6:

In general, pyridoxine is well tolerated. In some cases, allergic reactions (skin rashes, etc.) are possible. Pyridoxine should be administered with caution to patients with gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer (due to possible increase in gastric juice acidity), patients with severe liver damage, and patients with coronary heart disease.

Signs of vitamin B6 hypervitaminosis:

Allergic reactions in the form of urticaria, sometimes the acidity of gastric juice may increase, and doses of 200 to 5000 mg or more may cause numbness and tingling sensations in the hands and feet, as well as loss of sensitivity in the same areas.

Foods containing vitamin B6 (pyridoxine):

Vitamin B6, as well as other B vitamins, is most abundant in yeast, liver, sprouted wheat, bran, and unrefined grains. It is also found in potatoes (220 – 230 mcg/100 g), molasses, bananas, pork, raw egg yolk, cabbage, carrots, and dry beans (550 mcg/100 g).

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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