Vitamin B6 is very important for your body. Sufficient levels of Vitamin B6 strengthen your immune system and can also prevent depression and anaemia.
Vitamin B6 is a type of Vitamin B which is water-soluble. It is called Vitamin B6 because it is formed with a clan of six chemical compounds which are very much alike. Various forms of vitamin B6 are pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine. The active form of Vitamin B6 is called Pyridoxal 5’ Phosphate (PLP) which acts as a coenzyme in the metabolism of lipids, glucose, proteins and fats. In its coenzyme form, Vitamin B6 executes many functions in the body. It assists the functions of sugars, fats and proteins in the body. It takes part in the process of cognitive development through the production of neurotransmitters and also in the process of the metabolism of amino acids. Besides that Vitamin B6 plays a vital role in haemoglobin formation.
Vitamin B6 is present in 6 different forms called ‘vitamers’ so basically vitamin B6 is a collective name for vitamers. Plants can produce Vitamin B6 during their process of synthesis of chlorophyll in the presence of sunlight. Along with plants even bacteria and fungi can produce or synthesise vitamin B6. Only animals are unable to produce Vitamin B6 so they have to obtain it from plants or by consuming other animals. The deficiency of vitamin B6 can cause many serious diseases in your body.
Let us know about vitamin B6, its functions in maintaining good health, the food items its present in and its benefits.
The role of vitamin B6 in your body
Vitamin B6 is responsible for a better immune system
In order to fight diseases, it is a must to have a good immune system. A good immune system is like a strong army of your body which fights various diseases and keeps you healthy. There are many processes and chemical reactions that take place when your immune system is at work, vitamin B6 helps your immune system in carrying out these processes thus making your immunity stronger. It also safeguards and protects your body against various infections.
Regulates Homocysteine and blood circulation
Vitamin B6 plays a part in the metabolism of amino acids in your body. Homocysteine is a type of amino acid which helps in the breakdown and formation of protein. Excess amounts of homocysteine may cause it to accumulate in your veins and arteries causing blood clots and blockages which in turn would raise the risk of heart attack or other issues. Vitamin B6 breakdowns homocysteine and converts it into the elements your body requires thus maintaining a proper quantity of it in the bloodstream.
Reduces morning sickness
Amino acids are very important for your bodily functions. They can help reduce nausea caused due to various factors. Vitamin B6 assists your body in the formation and metabolism of these amino acids and hence indirectly vitamin B6 is responsible for decreasing nausea, especially in pregnant ladies.
Relationship with Haemoglobin
Haemoglobin is a very important protein for your body. It performs the function of rendering oxygen to blood cells and if your blood cells receive less amount of oxygen than required you may suffer from anaemia or may feel very weak due to a lack of energy. Vitamin B6 assists your body in the formation of haemoglobin.
Vitamin B6 assists in handling PMS
Premenstrual Syndrome has many symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, irritability, pain and many others. B6 generates neurotransmitters that can regulate mood and hence high levels of this vitamin can help ease out the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Vitamin B6 and Mood swings!
As we discussed in the previous point that vitamin B6 controls the production and release of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters regulate hormones such as serotonin and dopamine which are responsible for your mood swings. Various case studies show that among people who had depression, most of them had low levels of vitamin B6.
Decreases cancer risk
Vitamin B6 is responsible for building up your immune system and if you have the disease, B6 helps your body to fight the disease by reducing the rate of growth of the tumour. If you do not have cancer, maintaining healthy levels of B6 in your body may help you to prevent the disease because according to some research done by scientists, B6 helps in combating inflammation.
How to obtain Vitamin B6
It is one of the fish which is a very good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin B complex . In case you have a B6 deficiency doctors and dieticians recommend it alike. It contains approximately 0.6 mg of Vitamin B6 per 100 grams. Salmon also contains many other nutrients apart from B6 and is widely and easily available and also super tasty!
Spices and Veggies
Surprisingly many vegetables and spices also contain good quantities of Vitamin B6. Some of them are as follows – garlic, leeks, carrots, radishes and some types of peppers.
Cow and goat milk are rich sources of Vitamin B6. You can consume milk daily to fulfil your daily value intake of vitamin B6. Cow and goat milk is readily available in many stores. Not only kids but even adults should have a glass of milk daily and if you do not like milk you can add your favourite fruits to it and make a milkshake or smoothie or you can also add your sugar-free cereals to it. Milk is a big source of Vitamin B6 for vegetarians.
Full of protein and full of taste, Chicken is also another rich source of vitamin B6. Chicken is easily available and you can cook and make numerous chicken dishes using various interesting methods of your choice. It is definitely one of the delicious ways to obtain Vitamin B6
Many people are vegans and vegetarians, for such people the number of natural food items through which they get vitamin B6 is limited. They can obtain B6 through various vitamin B6 tablets and supplements.
Deficiency of Vitamin B6
As we have established, Vitamin B6 is very vital for the human body. Low levels of vitamin B6 can be very harmful. Following are the effects
What happens if you have high levels of Vitamin B6
Having higher levels of Vitamin B6 in your body is called Vitamin B6 toxicity.
If you are obtaining your Vitamin B6 through natural food items then there are very low chances of you having Vitamin B6 toxicity. In case you are obtaining B6 through supplements and if you consume those in a large quantity then you may suffer from the toxic effects of having high levels of B6. It might cause neurological disorders. You can also have difficulty in movement due to the pain and numbness the high levels will cause in your hands and legs. You may also lose sensation in your limbs and walking might become difficult as an after-effect.
Now you have a good idea about the importance of this very crucial vitamin.
So go check your vitamin B6 levels and make sure you eat healthy to maintain them.