Health, Nutrition & Fitness

Vitamin B6 – Foods with Vitamin B 6 and Deficiency of Vitamin B6

Information about Vitamin B6, its source, foods containing Vitamin B6 and symptoms of Vitamin B6 deficiency.

Vitamin B6 also known as pyridoxine primarily has importance in amino acid metabolism. From dietary sources Vitamin B6 converted in the body to its active form of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (PLP)

Functions of Vitamin B6

Protein synthesis

PLP plays a central role in the metabolism and interconversion of amino acids and the synthesis of new proteins. For example, collagen synthesis is dependent on vitamin B6.

Maintenance of normal blood sugar levels

Vitamin B6 is vital for conversion of protein and carbohydrates stores into glucose to support blood sugar between meals.

Lipid metabolism

Vitamin B6 plays a central role in fat metabolism. It is important for synthesis of lipids that form the myelin sheath surrounding and protecting nerves.

Niacin formation

Vitamin B6 is essential for conversion of tryptofan to niacin.

Red blood cells function

Vitamin B6 is important in hemoglobin synthesis and oxygen transport by red blood cells.

Neurotransmitters synthesis

Vitamin B6 is essential for the formation of several neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, and nor epinephrine.

Foods with Vitamin B6

Bananas, red meat, organ meats, poultry, fish, whole grain, cereals, legumes,

Enteric bacteria can make vitamin B6 in healthy persons.

About 96% of dietary vitamin B6 is absorbed. Infants need three times as much vitamin B6 as adults. Needs increase with increased protein intake, decrease with fatty acids, or decrease with other B-complex vitamins. High protein intake may deplete vitamin B6 levels.

Signs of vitamin B6 deficiency

  • Convulsions in infants
  • Muscular twitching
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Painful fissures and cracks on the angle of mouth and on the lips
  • Sore throat
  • Burning, tingling in hands and feet
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Reddened, greasy, Painful itchy patches on the skin
  • Weakness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Peripheral neuropathies
  • Cheilosis
  • Stomatitis
  • Impaired immunity

The vitamin is widely distributed throughout the diet; deficiency is rare, except in alcoholics, individuals taken isoniazid without B6 supplementation, women taking oral contraceptives, and persons who have schizophrenia.

Increased risk of vitamin B6 deficiency

Alcoholism, use of certain medication (hydralazine, isoniazid, oral contraceptives, and penicillamine) elderly status, pregnancy, schizophrenia, and tuberculosis with isoniazid treatment and no vitamin replacement

Signs of excess

Sensory neuropathy with gait changes and peripheral sensation and muscle incoordination

Use of Vitamin B6 in prevention and therapy

Skin disorders – vitamin B6 may be of benefit in skin eruptions and rashes, including acne and seborrheic dermatitis.

Food allergy – vitamin B6 can reduce sensitivity and allergy to food additives and preservatives.

Atherosclerosis – vitamin B6 has multiple beneficial actions in the preservation and treatment of coronary heart disease and peripheral vascular disease.

Bronchial asthma – treatment with vitamin B6 can reduce severity and frequency of asthmatic episodes in children and adults.

Anaemia – vitamin B6 can be beneficial in certain forms of anaemia.

Pregnancy associated nausea and vomiting – vitamin B6 may reduce symptoms

Immunity – supplemental vitamin B6, particularly in people with marginal intakes, helps boost immunity and increase resistance to infection.

About the author

Dr. Manisha Bhatia

M.D. (Hom), CICH (Greece)
Dr. (Mrs) Manisha Bhatia is a leading homeopathy doctor working in Jaipur, India. She has studied with Prof. George Vithoulkas at the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy. She is the Director of Asha Homeopathy Medical Center, Jaipur's leading clinic for homeopathy treatment and has been practicing since 2004.

She writes for about homeopathic medicines and their therapeutic indications and homeopathy treatment in various diseases. She is also Associate Professor, HoD and PG Guide at S.K. Homeopathy Medical College. To consult her online, - visit Dr. Bhatia's website.

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