Vitamin B6 Deficiency Symptoms
The deficiency symptoms of vitamin B6 are seen in the form of fatigue, loss of appetite, an emergence of dry skin, hair loss, the appearance of cracks around the lips, insomnia, and swelling of the mouth and tongue. Apart from all these, one may also experience a reduction in walking coordination, anemia, irritability, mental confusion, and weakness in different body parts.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Too Much Vitamin B6
The current recommended maximum daily intake is 100 mg. High doses of the B6 vitamin can, over time, be toxic, and may result in nerve damage or numbness and tingling in the extremities that may eventually be irreversible. You should discontinue use of supplemental B6 if any unusual numbness develops in the body. Too much B6 can also cause oversensitivity to sunlight, which can lead to skin rashes and numbness, as well as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and increased liver function test results.
Uses In Traditional Medicine
Many vitamin B6-rich foods have long been used in traditional medicine for their powerful effects on health and wellness. While these foods contain a wealth of other micronutrients and health-promoting properties that makes them especially beneficial for use in holistic medicine, their vitamin B6 content undoubtedly contributes to many of their favorable effects on health.
Grass-fed beef, for example, is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin B6 and is believed to strengthen the blood and enhance red blood cell production according to Ayurveda. Its also thought to relax the mind, satisfy the stomach and improve liver function.
Similarly, pistachios are another vitamin B6-rich food that are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote spleen health. They also help support the liver, heart and gallbladder and are thought to treat conditions like jaundice, which is caused by excess levels of a yellow pigment called bilirubin.
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Foods That Contain Vitamin B6
Its possible to get a lot of the vitamin B6 we need from our diet. While vitamin B6 is found in the largest quantities in animal products, there are plant-based foods that contain it too. Some of the best dietary sources are:
If you’re finding it hard to get enough B6 in your diet alone or would like to boost the vitamin B6 benefits, you might wish to try a supplement. A B6 supplement benefits you as it ensures you’re getting a high enough dosage to feel the effects and can be taken as part of the whole vitamin B complex.
May Treat Inflammation Associated With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Vitamin B6 may help reduce symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
The high levels of inflammation in the body that result from rheumatoid arthritis may lead to low levels of vitamin B6 .
However, its unclear if supplementing with B6 in people with this condition.
A 30-day study in 36 adults with rheumatoid arthritis found that 50 mg of vitamin B6 daily corrected low blood levels of B6 but did not decrease the production of inflammatory molecules in the body .
On the other hand, a study in 43 adults with rheumatoid arthritis that took 5 mg of folic acid alone or 100 mg of vitamin B6 with 5 mg of folic acid daily showed that those who received B6 had significantly lower levels of pro-inflammatory molecules after 12 weeks .
The contradictory results of these studies may be due to the difference in vitamin B6 dose and study length.
While it appears that high doses of vitamin B6 supplements may provide anti-inflammatory benefits for people with rheumatoid arthritis over time, more research is needed.
Summary Inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis may lower blood levels of vitamin B6. Supplementing with high doses of B6 may help correct deficiencies and reduce inflammation, but more research is needed to confirm these effects.
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Can B6 Help People With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Those with rheumatoid arthritis have shown to have low levels of B6 and high levels of homocysteine.
A 2010 study showed that B6 supplementation could improve the pro-inflammatory response in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Study participants were given 100mg of B6 per day for 12 weeks.
Its a hopeful indication that B6 can be used to improve the lives of those with the condition.
Important Sources Of Vitamin B6
The availability of vitamin B6 is highest in foods like whole grains, cereals, green beans, walnuts, and wheat germ. Also, one can include fish, eggs, meat, liver, and other types of meat to ensure a fair quantity of this vitamin. Other good sources of pyridoxamine are bananas, cauliflower, cabbage, soya beans, carrots, and spinach.
Vitamin B6 rich food include raw potatoes, nuts, cereals etc,. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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Help Prevent The Risk Of Cancer
Vitamin B6 plays a major function in more than 100 coenzyme reactions and reduces risk factors like oxidative stress, inflammation and colorectal cancer.
Vitamin B6 through the diet may help lower the risk of some malignancies and prevent cancer without the aid of chemotherapy. Numerous physiological functions in the human body require vitamin B6.
If You’re Pregnant Or Could Get Pregnant
If you’re pregnant, trying for a baby, or could get pregnant, it’s recommended that you take a 400 microgram folic acid supplement daily until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.
Folic acid supplements need to be taken before you get pregnant, so start taking them before you stop using contraception or if there’s a chance you might get pregnant.
This is to help prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in your baby.
Some women have an increased risk of having a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect and are advised to take a higher dose of 5mg of folic acid each day until they’re 12 weeks pregnant.
This is important and unlikely to cause harm, as it’s taken on a short-term basis, but speak to your doctor first.
Get more advice about vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, including who should take a higher dose of folic acid.
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What Is Vitamin B6 Good For
Vitamin B6 is one of the essential nutrients that we all need and is vital to all sorts of processes in both the body and brain.
It comes from various forms of the chemical pyridoxine and is essential for more than 100 different enzyme reactions in the metabolism and the healthy functioning of red blood cells.
So, what are the benefits of vitamin B6?
What Happens If I Take Too Much Vitamin B6
When taking a supplement, it’s important not to take too much.
Taking 200mg or more a day of vitamin B6 can lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs known as peripheral neuropathy.
This will usually improve once you stop taking the supplements.
But in a few cases when people have taken large amounts of vitamin B6, particularly for more than a few months, the effect can be permanent.
The effect of taking vitamin B6 at doses between 10 and 200 mg is unclear. So there’s not enough evidence to say how long these doses could be taken for safely.
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Vegetarians Vegans And B Vitamins
While serious Vitamin B6 deficiencies are rare, many people experience a subclinical B vitamin deficiency.
Its a problem thats often missed by practitioners because the signs and symptoms can be mild for years before they progress into a full-blown deficiency.
And while it is possible to ingest B6 from plant-based sources, vegetarians and vegans are at risk of having lower levels of B vitamins. Usually, a high-quality B-complex vitamin is enough to keep levels optimal.
May Be Useful In Treating Symptoms Of Pms
Vitamin B6 has been used to treat symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, including anxiety, depression and irritability.
Researchers suspect that B6 helps with emotional symptoms related to PMS due to its role in creating neurotransmitters that regulate mood.
A three-month study in over 60 premenopausal women found that taking 50 mg of vitamin B6 daily improved PMS symptoms of depression, irritability and tiredness by 69% .
However, women who received a placebo also reported improved PMS symptoms, which suggests that the effectiveness of the vitamin B6 supplement may have been due in part to a placebo effect .
Another small study found that 50 mg of vitamin B6 along with 200 mg of magnesium per day significantly reduced PMS symptoms, including mood swings, irritability and anxiety, over the course of one menstrual cycle .
While these results are promising, theyre limited by small sample size and short duration. More research on the safety and effectiveness of vitamin B6 in improving PMS symptoms is needed before recommendations can be made .
Summary Some research has indicated that high doses of vitamin B6 may be effective at decreasing anxiety and other mood issues associated with PMS due to its role in creating neurotransmitters.
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B6 Vs B12 And Other B Vitamins
B vitamins like vitamin B6 and B12 are essential for many aspects of health, including the conversion of food into usable energy by the body. They are also involved with the production of red blood cells, nerve function and hormone synthesis. Additionally, B vitamins are found in many of the same sources and are especially high in animal products like meat, poultry and seafood.
However, there are also important differences that set these key vitamins apart, and one of the biggest differences is in the way that low levels affect health. While a deficiency in vitamin B6 can cause symptoms like fatigue, irritability and muscle pains, low levels of vitamin B12 can cause issues like anemia and cognitive impairment. Conversely, consuming very high doses of vitamin B6 through supplementation is also more likely to result in adverse symptoms like nerve damage while high doses of vitamin B12 can generally be consumed with minimal risk of side effects.
Good Sources Of Vitamin B6
Excellent food sources that serve up the vitamin B6 you need include chickpeas, beef, poultry, and fish. Other foods that are high in B6 are whole grains, fortified cereals, nuts, beans, bananas, and potatoes.
Vitamin B6 is usually included in multivitamins and sold as an individual supplement it may be listed as pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, pyridoxine hydrochloride, or pyridoxal-5-phosphate. Check with your doctor before taking a supplement and note that NIH recommendations suggest limiting B6 to 100 mg or less for adults.
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Nausea And Vomiting In Pregnancy
Nausea and vomiting commonly occur in early pregnancy and can sometimes last until birth. There are many ingredients that can help manage this, including vitamin B6. A 2016 systematic review demonstrated that vitamin B6 can reduce mild symptoms of nausea and vomiting to a greater degree than placebo. In fact, vitamin B6 is considered a first-line treatment for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. However, if vitamin B6 alone is not sufficient, it is combined with doxylamine , which together may reduce nausea and vomiting by 70%.
The effectiveness of vitamin B6 for nausea and vomiting has also been compared to other natural ingredients, such as ginger. One study demonstrated that while both ginger and vitamin B6 significantly reduced nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy, ginger was more effective than vitamin B6. Both groups, however, reported minor side effects such as heartburn. On the other hand, other trials report that vitamin B6 and ginger are both equally effective in reducing nausea and the number of vomiting episodes during pregnancy.
This Supplement Has Been Used In Connection With The Following Health Conditions:
Used for 3 StarsAnemia2.5 to 25 mg daily for three weeks, then 1.5 to 2.5 mg per day as maintenance therapy Vitamin B6 deficiency can contribute to anemia, supplementing with this vitamin may restore levels and improve symptoms.
Deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid are the most common nutritional causes of anemia. Although rare, severe deficiencies of several other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A,vitamin B2,vitamin B6,vitamin C, and copper, can also cause anemia by various mechanisms. Rare genetic disorders can cause anemias that may improve with large amounts of supplements such as vitamin B1.
3 StarsAnemia and Genetic Vitamin B6-Responsive Anemia50 to 200 mg per day Taking vitamin B6 may partially correct sideroblastic anemia, although they must be taken for life.
Sideroblastic anemia refers to a category of anemia featuring a buildup of iron-containing immature red blood cells . One type of sideroblastic anemia is due to a genetic defect in an enzyme that uses vitamin B6 as a cofactor. Vitamin B6 supplements of 50 to 200 mg per day partially correct the anemia, but must be taken for life.
3 Stars10 to 25 mg three times daily In two double-blind trials, supplementation with vitamin B6 significantly reduced the severity of morning sickness.
In two double-blind trials, supplementation with vitamin B6 significantly reduced the severity of morning sickness.
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How Much Is Too Much Vitamin B6
The research has shown that toxicity symptoms can develop in some individuals who use very high dose for a very long time. Toxicity can occur at doses of 1,000 mg or more daily. The most common symptom is numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, also known as neuropathy.
There have been a few case studies of people developing neuropathy at doses of 500 mg daily. Whats important here is to evaluate what is true for you.
There havent been studies which include objective neurological examination that have demonstrated nerve damage in supplement doses under 100 mg a day. If youre concerned, keep the dose until 100 mg and of course, talk with your doctor before starting supplementation.
While its nearly impossible to get too much B6 from food, over-supplementation can result in:
Its been shown that animal sources of B6 are more bioavailable than forms of it in some plant foods. Just a few ounces of turkey, pork or beef can get you 30-40% of the RDA.
A cup of chickpeas contains about 50% of your daily needs.
Recommended Amount Of Vitamin B6
The recommended amount of vitamin B6 that should be consumed each day varies by age and gender. According to the National Institutes of Health , both males and females between the ages of 19 and 50 should consume 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B6 a day. The recommended daily amount increases for a woman who is pregnant or nursing to 1.9 and 2.0 milligrams a day, respectively.
Not getting enough vitamin B6 can cause a wide range of symptoms. Physically, you may feel weak and tired, develop itchy rashes, scaly skin and get sick more often. Besides physical symptoms, depression and confusion may also develop.
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Food Sources Of Vitamin B12
Natural food sources of vitamin B12 are animals, such as fish, meat and poultry, and animal products, such as eggs and milk. Three ounces each of cooked wild rainbow trout, broiled top sirloin beef and roasted chicken breast has 5.4, 1.4 and 0.3 micrograms of vitamin B12, respectively. One large hard-boiled egg provides 0.6 micrograms of vitamin B12, while one cup of low-fat milk has 1.2 micrograms. Vitamin B12 can also be found in milk products like yogurt and cheese. Eight ounces of low-fat fruit yogurt provides 1.1 micrograms, while an ounce of Swiss cheese provides 0.9 micrograms.
Vegetarians and vegans can get B12 from fortified cereals, supplements and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast, which look like yellow flakes that taste a bit like cheese, can be found in health food stores.
Risks And Side Effects
Like other B vitamins, such as riboflavin and thiamine, vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that if you consume too much vitamin B it will simply be excreted through the urine. For this reason, there is minimal risk of vitamin B6 toxicity from vitamin B6 foods.
However, a vitamin B overdose is possible if high doses are consumed from supplements. Some of the most common signs of toxicity can include nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, increased urination and flushing of the skin. High amounts of B6 can even contribute to more serious side effects like nerve damage.
Vitamin B6 can interact with other medications when taken in high amounts. If youre being treated for any of the following conditions with medications, its always a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, including B6.
Some medications that interact with vitamin B6 include:
- Drugs used for treating Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease, anemia, seizures, or heart disease
- Any drugs used in chemotherapy
- Cycloserine or Isoniazid for treating tuberculosis
- Hydralazine for treating high blood pressure
- Penicillamine used to treat rheumatoid arthritis
- Theophylline used to treat asthma
- Antibiotics including Tetracycline
- Antidepressant medications, including Pamelor, Elavil, desipramine, Norpramin and Tofranil
- Some antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors may also be able to reduce blood levels of vitamin B6
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How Much Vitamin B12 Do I Need
Adults need about 1.5 micrograms a day of vitamin B12.
If you eat meat, fish or dairy foods, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet.
But as vitamin B12 is not found naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and grains, vegans may not get enough of it.
Read about the vegan diet for nutrition information and advice.
Bolsters Your Immune System
Vitamin B6 also helps the immune system work be its best. B6 is involved with the production of lymphocytes, also called white blood cells, which help the body fight infection and injury. Studies have found that B6 deficiency is linked to reduced white blood cell count and diminished immune system response. Some evidence suggests it may, but studies need to determine whether increasing B6 intake can improve immune system function.
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