Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxa, pyridoxamine) works with other B vitamins to change carbohydrates into glucose, to help form hemoglobin, to create neurotransmitters, maintain normal nerve function, to break down protein, to maintain normal blood sugar levels, and to make antibodies.
B6 is not stored in the body. Therefore, it is important to eat a healthy diet that supplies the daily need for this essential nutrient.
Foods Rich in Vitamin B6
Natural food sources high in vitamin B6 include the following: sweet potatoes, potatoes, spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, garlic, winter squash, bok choy, bell peppers, avocado, green peas, tuna, chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans, banana, and sunflower seeds.
Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Deficiency causes depression and cognitive problems, skin inflammation, burning feet, sore tongue, anemia, and chronic inflammation of the body. Severe deficiency can lead to convulsions. B6 is important for liver detoxification and immune system function. Severe deficiencies are rare, however, mild deficiencies are common.
How Vitamin B6 Is Used Therapeutically
B6 has been proven to be a successful treatment for morning sickness, to lower homocysteine levels, and to treat tardive dyskinesia. The best known use of B6 is to treat PMS, however, double blind studies have not confirmed its efficacy. (But try telling this to any woman who has received immediate relief from raging hormones by taking B6, and any man who knows to give them to her ). Studies have proven its aid in treating children with asthma in reduction of medications, but studies on adults with asthma have not shown the same result.
Evidence is incomplete or contradictory in regards to benefits in treating depression, vertigo, dermatitis, schizophrenia, prevention of kidney stones, HIV, photosensitivity, and diabetes during pregnancy.
In reading the literature it appears that many studies have been conducted with small groups and many of the studies have not been set up properly. It is also suspect that none of the studies have been conducted with B-complex vitamins since B vitamins always work together.
Remember, if supplementing B6, it is best to take B6 along with the other B vitamins in a B complex, because any long-term use of a singular B vitamin will cause an imbalance in the others. B-complex formulas are available with higher B6 that maintains a working balance of these precious vitamins.
Managing PMS with B6
With a healthy diet, good whole food multivitamin/mineral supplementation and balanced fats (these are necessary for proper B vitamin assimilation), and a complex B vitamin that’s heavy on the B6, many people have been able to manage their PMS symptoms down to almost nonexistent. Your gut also needs to be balanced in order to properly assimilate b vitamins, and consider Shillington’s Female Balance Formula.
- Vitamin B6 (therapeutic uses), by: EBSCO CAM Review Board, Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health, January, 2014
- University of Maryland Medical Center
- World’s Healthiest Foods