Vitamin B6 is made up of six active forms. Playing an essential role in the proper functioning of the immune system, it is also involved in the manufacture of red blood cells and the synthesis of several hormones. What are their functions within the organization? How to ensure vitamin B6 intake? How are vitamin B6 deficiencies and overdoses manifested?
Description of vitamin B6
Discovered in 1935, vitamin B6 was synthesized in a laboratory in 1939. Its various functions were discovered by scientists in the years that followed.
Although it is not synthesized by the body, vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is essential for the functioning of the human body. This water-soluble vitamin, which belongs to group B, is broken down into six active forms.
These include: pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, pyridoxine 5-phosphate, pyridoxamine 5-phosphate, pyridoxal and pyridoxal-5-phosphate or PLP. It is in the latter form that vitamin B6 compounds are transformed after digestion and assimilation.
To be properly assimilated, vitamin B6 needs the presence of all the other vitamins of the group in sufficient and adequate quantities.
The body cannot build up stores of vitamin B6 in any form. Its contribution is therefore essentially food. Fruits and vegetables provide vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxine, while animal products provide the following forms: pyridoxamine 5-phosphate and pyridoxal 5-phosphate.
This information is essential to adapt food intake and ensure sufficient intakes of this nutrient.
Role and benefits of vitamin B6:
Vitamin B6 plays several essential functions in the body. The roles of vitamin B6 are:
- Participates in the assimilation of vitamin B12, magnesium and the synthesis of hydrochloric acid.
- Intervenes in the metabolism of amino acids and therefore in the production of proteins.
- Forms a precursor for the synthesis of hemoglobins, red blood cells, immune cells (antibodies) and neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline). As such, vitamin B6 contributes to the balance of the immune system, as well as to the maintenance of the psychic and nervous balance of the individual.
- Ensures the transformation of tryptophan into vitamin B3.
- Also involved in the production of energy necessary for the body, from carbohydrate compounds stored in the muscles (glycogen).
The therapeutic virtues attributed to vitamin B6 are:
- Decreased premenstrual symptoms (irritability, anxiety, abdominal pain and bloating).
- Decrease in nausea and vomiting, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy.
- Prevention of cardiovascular diseases (in combination with the intake of vitamin B9 and B12).
Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency
Vitamin B6 deficiencies have an impact on the metabolism of amino acids and proteins, as well as on the various functions mentioned above.
Vitamin B6 deficiencies are usually seen in people who are undernourished or have kidney failure.
Alcoholism, hyperthyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis can also be the causes of vitamin B6 underdosage. The characteristic symptoms of deficiencies are:
- Megaloblastic anemia: this pathology affects stem cells, precursors of red blood cells
- State of confusion
- In alcoholics: glossitis, an inflammation of the tongue
- Muscle loss
- Alteration of skin cells
- Peripheral neuropathy: this pathology causes pain in the extremities (hands, feet, etc.), difficulty in walking
Recommended Nutritional Intakes:
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin B6 is easily provided by food. As with each nutrient, they vary depending on the age, period of growth and sex of the individual.
- Babies 0 to 1 year: 0.3 mg / day
- Child aged 1 to 3 years: 0.5 to 0.6 mg / day
- Child aged 4 to 8 years: 0.6 to 0.8 mg / day
- Child aged 9 to 13: 1 to 1.3 mg / day
- Adolescent aged 13 to 15 years: 1.2 to 1.5 mg / day
- From 16 years old: 1.5 to 1.8 mg / day
- Pregnant or breastfeeding woman: 2 mg / day
- Seniors (> 75 years old): 2.2 mg / day
Top 5 Foods Containing Vitamin B6:
Vitamin B6 is present in most foods, which makes it easy to absorb as part of a balanced diet.
Many special breakfast cereals, sold in supermarkets, are fortified with vitamin B6. However, they are very rich in sugars, so consume in moderation. Here are our five favorite foods that contain vitamin B6.
- Fatty fish
Rich in good fatty acids, oily fish such as mackerel, salmon or tuna contain vitamin B6. The vitamin content is between 0.5 and 0.7 mg per 100 g of fish.
To be consumed at least twice a week, these fish are delicious grilled, steamed or en papillote. They are the basis of balanced menus accompanied by vegetables or starchy foods. A simple squeeze of lemon can enhance the taste of your fish dishes without added fat.
Rich in iron and vitamin B9, organ meats, such as calf, lamb, chicken or heifer liver, also contain vitamin B6.
With a content of up to 0.7 to 1.2 mg per 100 g, adding this food to your menu helps ensure the recommended daily requirement for vitamin B6, depending on your age.
To cook grilled, in a pan or in the oven, for a dish that is both tasty and light. If you are pregnant, it is best to avoid eating organ meats.
Turkey and chicken are low calorie meats, belonging to the poultry category. They are rich in vitamin B6 (about 0.6 g per 100 g of turkey or chicken cutlet).
Consuming oven-roasted, skinless chicken or turkey breasts is the basis of a healthy, low-fat diet. Think about it to prepare light dishes, while enjoying the savory taste of these meats.
You can eat them with a variety of vegetables, to which you will add an essential portion of starchy foods, to avoid snacking in the afternoon or at night.
Baked potatoes contain 0.3 mg of pyridoxine, per 100 g. Excellent news, there are a thousand ways to cook them!
The potato is the basis of delicious dishes, such as mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes, gratins or soups. It’s up to you to choose how to consume it. Added to a meal, a serving of mashed or mashed potatoes is a good starch intake.
Pistachios are usually eaten roasted as an aperitif. In this form, they provide an intake of approximately 1.4 g per 100 g.
However, they remain very high in calories. It is therefore better to consume a small amount to benefit from their benefits in vitamin B6. An alternative is to garnish it with dishes and salads!
A final reminder: vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin. To limit the loss of this element during cooking, favor cooking with steam, in foil or in the oven.
Dangers, Side Effects and Overdoses of vitamin B6:
In high doses, vitamin B6 is neurotoxic, that is to say, it affects brain cells, especially those of the nervous system. The undesirable effects observed in this case are:
- Memory impairment
- Neurological disturbances, even neuropathy
In order to prevent the occurrence of these conditions, specialists have established a daily dosage not to be exceeded. This corresponds to 5 mg in addition to the recommended daily intake for an age group. For a 13-year-old child, for example, it will therefore be between 6.2 mg and 6.5 mg / day.
To limit vitamin B6 overdoses, it is preferable not to consume food supplements enriched with pyridoxine. If a deficiency is suspected, the reflex to adopt is to consult a doctor in order to avoid the appearance of possible complications.
Symptoms of overdose usually resolve a few months after stopping supplementation.