Eating your A,B,C’s – Vitamin B-6
by Lisa Metzgar, PhD
We are still talking about the Vitamin B complex. I broke down the different components of the B complex because it has so many functions in the body. If you are supplementing with B vitamins it is important to take the whole complex unless you are supervised by a doctor for therapeutic reasons.
This month I will talk about Vitamin B-6 which comes in 3 forms pyridoxal, pyridoxine, and pyridoxamine. These forms were isolated in the 1930’s. Vitamin B-6 must be obtained from your diet as the body can’t make this essential nutrient. B-6 plays roles in over 100 essential chemical reactions in the body. It catalyzes the synthesis of serotonin from tryptophan (keeps our mood elevated), the production of glucose from glycogen (keeps blood sugars level), the synthesis of heme the iron component of hemoglobin (red blood cell metabolism), the formation of niacin, hormone function, protein metabolism, and immune function. As you can see, it aids in the proper function of almost all areas of the body.
Severe deficiency is uncommon although alcoholics, people on certain medications, and older individuals with low-quality nutrition are at risk for deficiency. Deficiency symptoms can include irritability, depression, confusion, ulcers, anemia, dermatitis, and nerve damage in the arms and legs (neuropathy).
Vitamin B-6 therapy has been shown to help with certain conditions including Carpel tunnel syndrome, PMS, heart conditions (low B-6 can lead to increased amino acid homocysteine in the blood which can cause damage to coronary arteries and increased blood clots), cognitive function in Alzheimer’s. Again don’t take B-6 therapeutically unless supervised by a doctor. Too much B-6 can lead to nerve damage. No more than 100mg is recommended per day.
Vitamin B-6 is readily available in a variety of foods. Make sure to eat a large array of foods to get a good balance and depend less on fortified foods and supplements.
Vitamin B-6 is found in…
Potatoes with skin on
And a variety of vegetables which should be included in EVERYONE’S diet!
Be creative with your diet and it will be easy to stay on track. The more variety you eat the better your odds of getting a balance of all the nutrients you need to stay healthy!
Until next month the last of the B-vitamins.
More About Nutrition:
LisaMetzgar, PhD,she received her BA in Biology from UCSD, is a certified Holistic Health Practitioner, and received her Ph.D. in Holistic Nutrition.
Lisa has taught body mind retreats in San Diego, Seattle, and Australia and currently has a practice in Reno, NV where she does nutrition counseling.Lisa's passion is to educate families about a healthy lifestyle.
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