Testing For B6 Status
To determine whether an individual has sufficient vitamin B6 stores, a urine test measuring xanthurenic acid excretion following an oral dose of tryptophan is commonly used.9 A blood test for plasma PLP is considered the single best indicator of tissue B6 stores levels of 20nmol/L are generally considered adequate .47 All tests must be interpreted by a qualified practitioner as other factors besides B6 deficiency can affect the results, including pregnancy and liver and bone disease.43, 44 Elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood may point to a B6 deficiency as well, but the status of vitamin B12 and folate must be considered when evaluating this laboratory test.
Excessive Folic Acid Intake
Although folic acid is generally considered non-toxic, excessive intakes above 1,000mcg per day over a period of time can lead to malaise, irritability and intestinal dysfunction. The main risk with excessive folate intake is that it can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency, so its best to consume these 2 vitamins within the recommended amounts.
Why You Need Vitamin B During Pregnancy
Vitamin B6 is crucial for the healthy function of the brain and nervous system and thus plays a critical role in the development of your baby. Specifically, its necessary for the healthy production of serotonin and norepinephrine, key neurotransmitters.
- Your baby requires a supply of Vitamin B6 for the healthy development of its brain and nervous system
- B6 can resolve some cases of morning sickness
- It helps you maintain healthy blood glucose levels
- It plays a role in preventing several issues in newborns, including eczema and low birth weight
Many women are first recommended B6 supplementation early in pregnancy, when nausea and vomiting are at their worst, as B6 can significantly alleviate the issue.
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Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
For women who follow conventional dietary advice, pregnancy is often accompanied by the risk of several vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including vitamin B6 and iron. Both are critical nutrients for the developing fetus vitamin B6 is essential for the proper development of the central nervous system.31 Most women will be counseled to increase their intake of iron-rich foods and/or given a prescription for an iron supplement to avoid or treat the anemia of pregnancy, but rarely is the same advice given concerning vitamin B6. This oversight is unfortunate since during the third trimester the mothers iron and B6 levels often fall sharply, creating a situation where iron-deficiency anemia can be exacerbated by a concurrent vitamin B6 deficiency anemia. Vitamin B6 deficiency anemia can also occur in the absence of an iron deficiency.
On a personal note, during my training with neonatal intensive care dietitians, they stated that they never counseled the mothers of premature infants on what to eat while pumping their breast milk for their precious babies. This is because, to paraphrase these dietitians, A mothers milk is not affected by her diet we just want to make sure they eat enough. They are under enough stress already. These poor babieswhose mothers arent told that the quality of their milk is directly related to the quality of their dietswill suffer because conventional health practitioners continue to ignore this scientifically supported fact.
Health Benefits Of Vitamin B6
- Regulation of Mood – Vitamin B6 is composed of pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxine which are involved in the regulation of mental function and mood. While short-term intake of B6 shows no benefit, adequate intake of B6 over the long-term is helpful.
- Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia – High homocysteine levels can lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Vitamin B6 demonstrably lowers homocysteine levels.
- Alleviation of Premenstrual Syndrome – Studies suggest that consuming vitamin B6 in conjunction with magnesium helps alleviated symptoms associated with PMS .
- Alleviation of mild morning sickness – Vitamin B6 along with ginger, antihistamines, and metoclopramide were shown to decrease symptoms of morning sickness.
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High Risk Groups For A Vitamin B6 Deficiency
- Alcoholics – Alcohol promotes the loss and destruction of vitamin B6 from the body.
- Impaired Renal Function – People with kidney disease who are on dialysis are at risk of being deficient in vitamin B6.
- Autoimmune Disorders – People with rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Crohnâs disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease , and other malabsorptive autoimmune disorders tend to have low levels 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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Oysters Clams And Mussels
Oysters, clams and mussels are a stellar source of B12 and an excellent source of riboflavin. They also supply smaller amounts of thiamine, niacin and folate.
A 3.5-ounce cooked serving of each provides :
Summary Oysters, clams and mussels each supply at least four times the RDI for vitamin B12 per serving. Theyre also high in riboflavin and provide smaller amounts of thiamine, niacin and folate.
Foods High In Vitamin B6
Such nutrients are known as essential vitamins.
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and it plays a vital role in protein metabolism, blood sugar regulation, immune function, and more .
Depending on the dietary source, vitamin B6 comes in several different forms. We can find the vitamin in plant foods as pyridoxine, and also in animal foods mainly as pyridoxal and pyridoxamine /7%3A_Vitamins/7.3%3A_Water_Soluble_Vitamins/Vitamin_B6_” rel=”nofollow”> 2).
The recommended daily value for vitamin B6 has been set at 1.7 mg per day .
This article presents 30 foods high in vitamin B6.
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Absorption And Utilization Of B6
Plant foods vary considerably in the proportion of pyridoxine present in the free versus the glycosylated form. A few plant foods, such as banana and avocado, are low in glucosides , and hence are better plant sources of B6.24, 25 Note that raw broccoli and cauliflower have very low levels of glycoside as compared to frozen it is thought that raw enzyme activity may release B6 from glucosides, activity that is destroyed during processing.25 All the more reason to eat your cruciferous vegetables lacto-fermented!
Vitamin B6 is absorbed in the small intestine, mostly in the free forms after the glycoside or phosphate groups are removed. As mentioned above, a portion of PNG is absorbed intact, and when consumed in high concentrations, the phosphorylated forms can also be absorbed intact. After absorption, some of the free forms are taken up by the red blood cells and bound to hemoglobin,9 but the majority of B6 goes to the liver for conversion into the active form, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, or PLP . PLP is then released into the bloodstream, traveling to the rest of the body largely bound to the protein albumin. A small amount of PLP is retained by the liver for storage.9 Finally, B6 enters the target tissues after removal of the phosphate group from the circulating PLP muscle tissues store the majority of the bodys B6.9 Because most vitamin B6 metabolism occurs in the liver, individuals with liver disease are at high risk for B6 deficiency.26
Nutritional And Brewers Yeast
Nutritional yeast and brewers yeast are inactive, meaning you cant use them to make bread. Rather, people use them to boost the flavor and nutrient profile of dishes.
These yeasts naturally contain B vitamins and are often fortified with them as well particularly nutritional yeast. If nutrients are added, youll see them listed in the ingredients on the label.
Heres how the two yeasts compare based on a 2-tablespoon serving, though these values vary by brand :
Vegetarians and vegans commonly use nutritional yeast, as its fortified with B12, which is challenging to obtain if you dont eat animal products .
The nutty-cheesy flavor of nutritional yeast also makes it popular as a seasoning. Brewers yeast, however, can taste bitter and may be better mixed into foods like smoothies, salad dressing or soup.
Summary Nutritional yeast and brewers yeast pack a high amount of B vitamins but a significant portion of the vitamins in nutritional yeast, including B12, are added. These products can be used to add flavor or nutrients to other foods.
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B6 Metabolism: Roles In The Body
Vitamin B6s chief function is to act on amino acids, the building blocks of protein, mostly to remove or transfer nitrogen, sulfur, or carbon-containing molecules. Overall, B6 is important for protein metabolism, growth, and the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. More than one hundred vitamin B6-dependent enzymes have been identified, mostly involved in amino acid metabolism: for oxygen transport via hemoglobin synthesis in blood sugar regulation via conversion of stored carbohydrate to energy in the development of the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells in the conversion of alphalinoleic acid to the essential long-chain fatty acid DHA 28 and in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, phospholipids and sphingolipids, the vitamin niacin from tryptophan, and other vital metabolites.5 In addition to its role in enzyme reactions, B6 appears to moderate the action of some steroid hormones such as the glucocorticoid hormones, which in turn influence the metabolism of protein, carbohydrate and lipids.5,9 B6 also is a potent antioxidant, rivaling carotenoids and vitamin E in its ability to quench reactive oxidants in the body.29
Is It Safe To Take While Pregnant
Since B6 is agreed to be safe, even necessary, a vitamin for pregnant women, but supplementing is unnecessary with a balanced diet and may even push you to unsafe intake values. While its fine to eat a balanced, healthy diet and take a prenatal vitamin with 100% of the recommended daily value, be cautious if you eat a large number of fortified foodsbreakfast cereals, various wheat products, etc.
Various health foods and energy drinks also include high amounts of Vitamin B6 for its energy-boosting properties be alert to exactly how much youre getting from these foods. You should also be alert to other intake excesses caused by such foods. While many vitamins are safe, even insignificant excess, you must be more cautious when pregnant as side effects can arise far easier.
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Top 10 Vitamin B6 Foods
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a role in over 100 different reactions in the body, which is why you want to get vitamin B6 foods in your diet. This vitamin is needed to help make amino acids, the building blocks of proteins and hundreds of cellular functions. It can also be used to make niacin from the amino acid tryptophan.
Other roles of vitamin B6 include the formation of hemoglobin and neurotransmitters, as well as regulation of blood glucose. So how can you get vitamin B6 in your diet? Try the following vitamin B6 foods.
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.
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How Much Vitamin B Do I Need
Most adult women under 50 should be taking between 2.5 to 25 mg of Vitamin B6 per day. It is commonly used to help manage nausea or morning sickness. In a health report from the University of Michigan, a pregnant woman may experience nausea relief by taking 10 to 25 mg of Vitamin B6 3 times a day.
Expectant mothers should be alert to the risks of excessive intake of Vitamin B6, as its frequently found in variously suggested multivitamins and prenatal vitamins as well as in various fortified foods. While a slight excess is harmless, extreme intake of Vitamin B6 can lead to nerve damage, numbness, and other conditions. Individuals should avoid taking over 100 mg of Vitamin B6 in a day. Research from the National Library of Medicine reports that there appears to be no association between excessive Vitamin B6 and birth defects or malformations.
Its important to note that, with a few exceptions, your doctor will not recommend that you add B6 beyond what is in your prenatal supplements.
Treatment Of Vitamin B6 Deficiency And Dependency
Elimination of risk factors when possible
For secondary vitamin B6 deficiency, causes should be corrected if possible.
Usually, pyridoxine 50 to 100 mg orally once a day corrects the deficiency in adults. Most people taking isoniazid should also be given pyridoxine 30 to 50 mg orally once a day. For deficiency due to increased metabolic demand, amounts larger than the daily recommended intake may be required. For most cases of inborn errors of metabolism, high doses of pyridoxine may be effective.
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How Much Vitamin B6 Does An Adult Need
According to the National Institutes of Health , the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance for adult males between 19 and 50 years of age is 1.3 mg, and those over the age of 50 need 1.7 mg. Women between 19 and 50 years of age should take 1.3 mg, and those over 50 should take 1.5 mg. Pregnant women should take 1.9 mg and lactating women, 2 mg. Dr. Weil recommends 50 mg as part of a daily B-complex supplement that contains a full spectrum of B vitamins, including thiamin, B12, riboflavin and niacin.
Symptoms And Signs Of Vitamin B6 Deficiency And Dependency
Vitamin B6 deficiency causes peripheral neuropathy and a pellagra-like syndrome, with seborrheic dermatitis, glossitis, and cheilosis, and, in adults, can cause depression, confusion, electroencephalogram abnormalities, and seizures.
Rarely, deficiency or dependency causes seizures in infants. Seizures, particularly in infants, may be refractory to treatment with antiseizure drugs.
Normocytic, microcytic, or sideroblastic anemia can also develop.
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What Happens If I Have Too Little Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 deficiency is rare in developed countries, since most people get the recommended amounts of this vitamin from their diet. Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause itchy rashes, scaly skin on the lips, and cracks at the corners of the mouth.
In the long-term, it often leads to microcytic anaemia, a disorder that causes our bodies to produce very small red blood cells that are unable to properly deliver oxygen to our bodies. It can also impair the normal function of our brain, causing confusion, depression, or more severe consequences. Children with a lack of this vitamin grow and develop slower, can become irritable or develop microcytic anaemia and seizures.
What Is Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that the body doesnt store it in large amounts. Any excess that the body doesnt need is excreted in the urine. Thats why it is of great importance to consume vitamin B6 foods every day.
The term vitamin B6 covers six different compounds. The body converts them into the active forms of this vitamin pyridoxal phosphate, which plays a vital role in the bodys functioning.
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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.
The Signs Of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Vitamin B6 deficiency can occur in many ways, the simplest, of course, being inadequate intake. Other causes include excessive consumption of alcohol, high-sugar foods, and various processed foods. Certain illnesses and ailments can also contribute to B6 deficiency.
Its fairly common for even a healthy person to have a mild B6 deficiency, in particular with the increased needs of pregnancy, but severe deficiencies are uncommon. The most basic, commonly seen symptoms of a deficiency of B6 are depression and various ailments of the mouth such as tongue inflammation, sores, and ulcers.I
f the B6 deficiency develops severely, anemia can result due to the impaired production of blood cells. Extreme cases of anemia can cause fatigue, and in extreme cases, one may experience neurological symptoms.
Vitamin B6 Deficiency Symptoms include:
- Inflammation of the skin, joints, and digestive system
- Depression and other mood symptoms
- Neurological degeneration
If you or anyone you know is pregnant and showing symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency, make an appointment with your OBGYN asap. The sooner you get help, the better it is for you and your developing baby.
Being pregnant is a real blessing and taking care of the health of mom and baby is the most important goal. Feel free to contact us if you wish to speak to someone about your pregnancy or need to find a provider/resources near you.
Call the APA Helpline to discuss your pregnancy questions: 1-800-672-2296
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