The family of B vitamins, which are also known as B complex vitamins, plays a vital role in converting food into energy and helping the body metabolize (process) fats and proteins. Vitamin B6 is involved in brain development and maintaining the immune system. Additionally, the vitamin is needed during pregnancy and infancy. It also helps in improving disposition and balancing mood swings.
Vitamin B6 requirement according to your age:
While the amount of vitamin B6 that we need varies with age, it isn’t much, ranging from 0.1 milligram for infants to 2.0 milligrams for breastfeeding women. Please be cautious as an overdose of 2,000 mg per day may lead to neurological damage.
Foods containing vitamin B6
You find vitamin B6 in organ meats, fish and poultry. Vegetarians can get their daily requirements from starchy vegetables such as potatoes. Chick peas (kabuli chana) are another great source of B6. It is present in large quantities in non-citrus fruits, such as bananas. Sunflower seeds and pistachio nuts are also very high in Vitamin B6. In addition, the nutrient is added to many foods and you can check the food labels to know whether a certain packaged food contains vitamin B6.
People with vitamin B6 deficiency
While this deficiency is uncommon, those who have kidney problems (including those who’ve had a kidney transplant or are on dialysis) can suffer from it. A vitamin B6 deficiency is also seen in those with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. And, as with other vitamin deficiencies, those who have alcohol dependence have low levels of vitamin B6.
Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency
If a person has vitamin B6 deficiency, he suffers from rashes, scaly skin on the lips, anaemia, cracks at the corners of the mouth, confusion and a weak immune system. On the other hand, sustained high levels of the vitamin can cause nerve damage, skin patches that can be painful, sensitivity to sunlight, nausea and heartburn.
Effects of vitamin B6 on health:
According to scientists, vitamin B6 may have positive effects on neurological conditions such as seizures, chronic pain, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. In a large-scale study in Japan, researchers established the fact that high consumption of dietary vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 lead to reducing risk of death from stroke, coronary heart disease and heart failure. Vitamin B6 may help in reducing the risk of macular degeneration (a cause of blindness) and stroke.
According to the U.S.A.’s National Institutes of Health, certain medication taken for epilepsy, asthma and tuberculosis can affect the levels of vitamin B6 you have in your body. You should talk to your doctor about whether you should look at vitamin B6 supplements and medication.
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