Vitamin B6 Benefits For You
Reviewed by John Stanley, MD
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxdine performs numerous crucial functions for the body. These vitamin B6 benefits include:
- Transforming food into blood sugar (glucose), the main source of fuel for bodily cells
- Helps keep levels of homocystine in the blood
- Helps produce neurotransmitters in nerve cells – crucial components that communicate messages through chemicals such as hormones
- Helps the body produce three hormones – serotonin, norepinephrine and melotonin.
The first two hormones regulate mood and the last one helps keep our circadian rhythm (or internal clock) going smoothly so that we can fall asleep and wake up at roughly the same times each day. Other Known Vitamin B6 BenefitsInstead of prescribing medications, some patients are getting prescribed vitamin B6. They are encouraged to get more natural sources of vitamin B6 but may also take a supplement at their doctor’s discretion. Getting more vitamin B6 has helped some people with rheumatoid arthritis, which causes chronic inflammation of the joints. The inflammation seems to eat up all of the body’s available vitamin B6.Women with age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease which often leads to blindness, have improved when given doses of vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 in studies done in 2009. Just why these vitamins help is not entirely known.
Theoretical Vitamin B6 BenefitsIt’s theorized that clinical depression is caused by low levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. But antidepressants can cause harmful side effects such as sudden weight gain. Studies have been done on depressed patients treated with increased levels of vitamin B6. Unfortunately, these studies have been inconclusive. Some suggest that vitamin B6 helped and other studies show no improvement. More studies need to be done on this promising depression treatment.Perhaps the most exciting of theoretical vitamin B6 benefits is to prevent heart disease. Those already with heart disease usually have low levels of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps keep stable quantities of am amino acid called homocystine. But just how this amino acid helps regulate heart health is still unknown. Vitamin 6 FoodsNutritionists and are split as to whether vitamin pills and other nutritional supplements can ever replace food sources of crucial vitamins. Manufacturers vary in quality, and pills can vary from batch to batch. Unlike prescription or over the counter medications, there is no government agency to check on quality or consistency of vitamin pills. It may take many round of trial and error with different brands of supplements in order to find any that gives you the vitamin B6 benefits that you need.Food is the best source of vitamin B6 your daily vitamin B6 benefits. Foods high in this crucial vitamin include:
- Wheat germ
- Baked potato with skin
- Oily fish such as tuna and salmon
- Wild caught or farmed shrimp
- Sunflower seeds
- Most beans
- Milk, yogurt and other dairy products
- Poultry meat
- Beef liver
- Whole-grain flour
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Fortified nutrition bars.