Health Benefits of Vitamin B6

Health Benefits of Vitamin B6

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  1. Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that’s part of the B-complex vitamin group. As a B-complex vitamin, B6 assists your body in converting carbohydrates into glucose for energy. In addition to its B-complex benefits, vitamin B6 has its own unique health benefits as well.

    How Vitamin B6 Works

    Like other B-complex vitamins, B6 supports your body’s nervous system and liver, as well as the health of your hair, skin and eyes, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). Specifically, vitamin B6 assists your nervous system in manufacturing neurotransmitters that carry signals between nerve cells. Pyridoxine also plays an important role in healthy brain development and function, as well as in creating the mood-influencing hormones called norepinephrine and serotonin.

    Other key functions of vitamin B6 include supporting your body’s absorption of vitamin B12, metabolizing fats and protein, and producing immune-system and red blood cells. When combined with vitamins B9 and B12, vitamin B6 helps to control your blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that’s linked to heart disease risks.

    B6 Benefits

    Because vitamin B6 helps to reduce homocysteine levels in your blood, it may play a role in lowering your heart-disease risks. People who don’t get enough vitamin B6 in their diets tend to have higher heart-disease risks, the UMMC says. Similarly, vitamin B6 may offer other benefits for your circulatory system, including helping to treat or prevent cardiovascular disease, circulatory disorders, hypertension and homocystinuria.

    Vitamin B6 could also have the potential to help in treating asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, premenstrual syndrome, diabetes, and pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Vitamin B6’s function in producing immune-system cells may help in stimulating your immune system as well.

    Additionally, vitamin B6’s role in producing key mood-affecting hormones like serotonin could help reduce depression symptoms, the UMMC notes. Researchers have also linked low vitamin B6 levels to chronic inflammation, lending some promise for the vitamin’s possible support in treating rheumatoid arthritis.

    Dietary Sources of Vitamin B6

    Vitamin B6 is found in many common foods, such as meats, fish, shellfish and poultry. You can also get B6 from eating fruits, whole grains, legumes and leafy green vegetables. The best dietary sources of vitamin B6 are turkey, chicken, tuna, shrimp, beef liver, salmon, cheese and milk, as well as spinach, carrots, lentils, brown rice, beans, wheat germ, bran, whole grain flour and sunflower seeds.

    Vitamin B6 is also available in supplement form, both in solitary form and in multivitamins or B-complex vitamins. Most people get enough vitamin B6 from their daily diets. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin B6 is typically 1.3 to 1.7 milligrams for most adults. Pregnant women require 1.9 mg and breastfeeding women need 2.0 mg of vitamin B6 per day, the UMMC says.

    Therapeutic dosages of vitamin B6 are sometimes much higher. For example, B6 prescribed for preventing heart disease or reducing homocysteine levels is usually 3.0 mg per day. Don’t take any dosage of vitamin B6 — especially a dosage that exceeds the RDA for your gender and age — without consulting with your healthcare provider first.

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