Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is essential for the proper functioning of the organism. Vitamin B6 is responsible for the proper activity of the nervous system, influences blood pressure, muscle contractions and heart work and it also increases the organism’s immunity. What are other functions of vitamin B6? How to recognize its deficiency and excess? In which products does it occur?
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is a vitamin soluble in water, which appears in the form of six compounds, undergoing mutual transformations – pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, pyridoxal and phosphate esters of these compounds. After the application, it is absorbed from the digestive system and stored mainly in muscles and liver as pyridoxal phosphate.
Vitamin B6 is a coenzyme of more than 100 enzymes (i.e. a substance essential for the proper functioning of these compounds), accelerating a range of transformations in the organism. Vitamin B6 takes part in the process of transformations of protein, vitamins soluble in fats and tryptophan (it helps in its conversion to vitamin B3, i.e. niacin). Moreover, pyridoxine:
– influences glycogenesis (transformation of glucose into glycogen) and glycogenolysis (the process of glycogen breakdown) in muscles
– it is essential for hemoglobin production (red blood pigment)
– influences blood pressure, muscle contractions and heart work
– is responsible for the proper functioning of the nervous system
– increases immunity of the organism – takes part in the creation of antibodies.
Vitamin B6 – symptoms and effects of deficiency
Deficiency of vitamin B6 leads to inflammatory lesions of skin and mucous membrane of oral cavity. The consequence of its lowe level may be changes in the nervous system (resulting in depression, lower mood, sleeplessness etc.), increased susceptibility to infections, macrocytic anemia (hypochromic) and kidney stone. Moreover, in case of vitamin B6 deficiency, the risk of cancer development is higher. However, deficiency of this vitamin is rarely diagnosed.
Vitamin B6 – when the need is higher?
The need for vitamin B6 is increased in case of eating foods rich in protein. The optimal proportion of vitamin B6 is 0.02 mg per one g of protein.
Its higher doses should be taken by pregnant women and elderly people.
Vitamin B6 – symptoms and effects of surplus
The excess of vitamin B6 may take place as a result of long-lasting application of tablets at the dose of 200 mg / day. In such a situation, this vitamin is toxic and leads to:
– lack of muscle coordination
– increased feeling of cold
– limb tingling
– nervous tissue degradation.
Vitamin B6 – in which products does it occur?
One of the richer sources of vitamin B6 is buckwheat groats (0.67 mg/100g). It also appears in meat and cooked meats – chicken (0.31–0.55 mg/100 g) an turkey (0.28–0.59 mg/100 g). However, it is worth knowing that during cooking, frying and pickling of meat, the losses of this vitamin reach 30-50%.
The assimilability of vitamin B6 is limited by alcohol and drugs.
A lot of vitamin B6 is also contained in vegetables, especially broccoli and potatoes. However, as a result of freezing vegetables and fruits, its content may be decreased by 15-70%.
The remaining sources of vitamin B6 are whole grain products, wheat grass, yeasts, soya, bananas, dairy products, fish and eggs.