Vitamin B6 performs many functions within the body, not just related to the brain, and is involved in more that 100 chemical reactions. It benefits the brain and nervous system and aids a wide variety of conditions and diseases. Notably vitamin B6 benefits affects ADD, Autism and Schizophrenia.
For the bulk majority of the population however it helps stabilise emotions and erratic mood swings, alleviate depression and reduce headaches and migraines. For women its also useful in curbing the symptoms of PMS including reducing the retention of fluid.
Vitamin B6 should always be taking with the other B vitamins as they require each other to work synergistically.
Technically vitamin b6 comprises of 3 primary forms pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine.
Brain and nervous system related benefits
- Vitamin B6 is required for maintaining nerve and brain function. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that provide the bond between one nerve to the next, closing the gap for effecting “nerve communiction”. The production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and GABA require vitamin B6. These four neurotransmitters are the only chemicals in the brain responsible for happiness. Studies suggest that pyridoxin helps to treat mental depression. If you are feeling down, stressed and/or anxious it is strongly suggested to supplement your diet with a B complex vitamin or vitamin B rich foods. Myelin sheaths, the outer layer of nerves, also require vitamin B6.
- Vitamin B6 has also been shown to aid epilepsy and multiple sclerosis patients, especially baby’s under 12 months that are experiencing the first signs of epilipsy seizures.
- Alzheimer’s: along with Folic Acid and the other B vitamins, vitamin B6 is important in curbing cognitive decline in the elderly, which is a precursor Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies show that there is a relationship[ between vitamin B deficiency and Alzheimers Disease in the elderly.
- Autism (when B6 is taken in conjunction with magnesium)
- Attention deficit disorder
- Learning and developmental disorders
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition related to overuse of your hands. Symptoms include pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the hands, especially through the thumb, index and middle finger. Large doses of Vitamin B6 can help Carpal Tunnel syndrome… under medical supervision.
- Peripheral neuropathy: is a condition defined by the damage to the peripheral nervous system (the nerves that extend to all reaches of the human body).
Energy production benefits
Vitamin B helps the body produce energy by aiding in the process to break down fats and carbohydrates. It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
Cardiovascular and tissue related benefits
Relieving edema: edema is a condition that can affect the entire body and is related to many factors not limited to but including, pressure within blood vessels, tissue oncotic pressure and blood vessel wall permeability. This creates swelling caused by accumulation of excess fluid in body tissues.
reducing water retention: water retention may be a frequent occurrence for women that experience PMS. Vitamin B6 may assist the liver to metabolize excess amounts of estrogen and progesterone which may be present during the premenstrual period.
Rheumatism: Rheumatism is an all encompassing term used to describe medical problems affecting the joints and connective tissue. This includes tendonitis.
Vitamin B6 helps cardiovascular disease including Myocardial infarcts (heart attacks) by the regulation of homocysteine levels: homocysteine is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. homocysteine is needed in the body for the creation of methionine, a precursor to proteins. For this process vitamin B6 is needed. Sufficient vitamin B6 ensures that homocystene is converted and not left to accumulate within the body. Folic acid and vitamin B12 also play a major role in the regulation and conversion of homocysteine to methionine. A study conducted by the American Medical Association claim that people with the highest levels of vitamin B6 had one third the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin b6 is needed for the synthesis of amino acids. Amino acids are used to build proteins, a requirement for cell formation and growth and repair of all structures within the body. More specifically vitamin B6 helps convert the amino acid tryptophan to vitamin B3 (niacin).
Vitamin B complex (including B6) is needed for the proper function of the adrenal glands and regulated production of some hormones. This is how edema and water retention related issues, stated above, are controlled. Women who experience severe PMS symptoms generally have a deficiency in vitamin B6 and have a surplus of hormones. Providing enough B6 ensures that hormones are metabolised at the body desired rate. Symptoms include moods swings, loss of sex drive, breast tenderness or pain and depression
Strengthen the immune system
The immune system produces antibodies which ward of diseases and viruses (antigens) within our bodies. Vitamin B6 helps produce Lymphocytes (white blood cells) which secrete antibodies. Lymphocytes are called to help the body when antigens are detected. A study by the Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims that elderly that are low in vitamin B6 also possess low levels of Lymphocytes, hence antibodies, hence have poor immune systems.
Vitamin B6 has a vast range of affects on skin conditions including acne and skin cancer.
Due to Vitamin B6’s role in the creation of new cells, it is important to tissues that regenerate quickly like skin and mucous membranes. Mucus membranes are tissues that excrete fluid, like your mouth and lips or anus.
These are a few other conditions that vitamin B6 may benefit that have not been explored in this article
- Kidney stones
- Muscle pains
- Neuritis (related to Peripheral neuropathy)
- Reducing magnesium deficiency