The B6 vitamin, also known as pyridoxine, is one of the most versatile of the B vitamins and yet the body only requires a relatively small amount.
The B6 vitamin works closely with all the other B vitamins, especially niacin, folic acid, and Cobalamin and contributes to numerous functions in the body. Amino acids are converted by the B6 vitamin into proteins and it is also required for transforming stored sugar within the body into essential energy.
Basically, the B6 vitamin is essential for converting the proteins that are consumed into proteins that the body needs and also for converting the carbohydrates from the form that they are stored in the body to a form that can be used for extra energy.
The body requires a number of different proteins and it is the B6 vitamin that ensures that the correct forms are available. For example, the B6 vitamin will create haemoglobin for carrying oxygen in the blood cells, hormones for regulating blood pressure, neurotransmitters and various enzymes.
The recommended daily allowance for the B6 vitamin is only around 2.0mg but this seemingly insignificant amount is used extremely efficiently within the body to produce over sixty different enzymes.
The best sources of the B6 vitamin are high-protein foods such as eggs, fish, poultry, and meat. Some of the common sources of B6 vitamin include tuna, roast beef, tomato juice, trout, pork loin and peanut butter. Naturally, cereals that are fortified with vitamins are excellent sources and many provide 100 percent of the body’s need for cereal.
Three raw bananas also provide a full day’s supply of the necessary B6 vitamin. A medium baked potato (including the potato skin) provides about one-third of the daily requirement. Evaluating the foods rich in this vitamin reveals that many people are already meeting the daily requirements for B6.
An additional amount of the B6 vitamin may be beneficial for the heart and immune system. B6 supplements are sometimes required by asthmatics and diabetics. However, it is important to be aware that large doses of the B6 vitamin can be toxic.
There are some groups that may need to take a B6 supplement to ensure that they obtain the recommended daily allowance.
For example, pregnant or breastfeeding women will need a slightly higher amount of the B6 vitamin to allow for the amount of the vitamin that is being absorbed by the baby although it is possible to obtain the extra B6 vitamin from an increased consumption of high-protein foods.
Strict vegetarians or vegans, however, and children who do not eat animal products may need a B6 vitamin supplement as vegetables and fruits are poor sources of the B6 vitamin.
So what are the dangers of having too little B6 vitamin in your daily diet?
Recent studies suggest that a lack of this vitamin is a factor for determining the risk of stroke and some types of heart disease. That means that people with deficiencies are more likely to suffer from these health issues than their counterparts who are getting sufficient amounts of B6 vitamin.
Depression is another problem potentially impacted by a B6 vitamin deficiency. Though there may be some difference of opinion as to the role and the importance of B6 and depression, there appears to be a link that can’t be denied. In fact, depression is listed by some as one of the symptoms of insufficient B6 vitamin in the diet.