Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is a natural component, essential for our body. It belongs to vitamin B complex, and it can be found in many foods, as meat, fish, vegetables, cereals, seeds and nuts. Vitamin B6 has many healthy properties. For example it is helpful to prevent and treat conditions as anemia, convulsions, nervous problems, depression, immune system weakening, osteoporosis. Deficiencies of this vitamin can lead to different conditions, that may be mild, but also severe. For this reason it is very important to assume a proper amount of vitamin B6 every day, and in particular cases it may be also necessary to take specific supplements.
What is Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine, and it is a vitamin belonging to the B complex. It is naturally found in many kinds of foods, as meat, eggs, vegetables or legumes, but it can also chemically synthesized, to realize specific supplements. It can be found in four main forms: pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyrodoxal phosphate and pyrodoxamine, but pyrodoxal phosphate is the active form.
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is absorbed by small intestine, exactly by jejunum and ileum, in which there are specific phosphatase, that dephosphorylate each form of vitamin B6. So it enters the bloodstream linked to albumin or into red blood cells, and it is transported to the liver, where it is phosphorylated again to be stored into hepatic cells. When tissues require vitamin, the liver remove the phosphate group, and sends it into bloodstream. So tissues convert pyrodoxine into its biological active forms, pyrodoxal or pyrodoxamine.
Vitamin B6 is excreted through urines, once oxidized to 4-pyrodoxic acid, and a small amount is also eliminated through feces.
Vitamin B6 properties
Vitamin B6 is very important for our body. In fact it promotes the health of nervous system, and also of the metabolism in general. It can help in case of:
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Stress-related problems
- Kidney stones
Deficiencies are common in subjects who suffer from kidney failure, cirrhosis, alcoholism, heart problems, celiac disease, thyroid problems.
Vitamin B6 and foods
Vitamin B6 is a water soluble vitamin. Its daily recommended intake is about two milligrams per day. For this reason it is very important to assume a proper amount of this vitamin, in particular through alimentation. Foods rich in vitamin B6 are:
- Dried herbs
- Raw garlic
- Bell peppers
Vitamin B6 properties
Pyrodoxal phosphate is the active form of vitamin B6. It means that it participates to the different functions in the body, for example:
Amino acids metabolism: in particular vitamin B6 is involved in transamination and decarboxylation of amino acids. It participates to the production of cysteine and the conversion of tryptophan to niacin.
Fats metabolism: it is particularly important because it enhances synthesis of sphingolipides, essential for the myelinic shrimps, and it stimulates the conversion of linoleic acid in arachidonic acid, that is metabolized by the body, obtaining prostaglandins.
Neurotransmitter: vitamin B6 participates to different neurotransmitters production, for example GABA, serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline
- It catalyzes some reactions of gluconeogenesis
- Red blood cells production: vitamin B6 is essential for hemoglobin production
- Histamine production
- Genetic functions: vitamin B6 promotes the production of cysteine, essential for the expression of different kinds of gene
Vitamin B6 side
Vitamin B6 is available in form of supplements in case of deficiencies. Some people seem to be more sensitive to vitamin B6, so the exact amount of supplement should not exceed the recommended dose. In pregnant women the assumption of vitamin B6 is considered to be safe, but higher doses may cause convulsions in the baby.