Vitamin B6 is the name given to pyridoxine in its various forms. It helps to build red blood cells, aids in the metabolism of food, works with your immune system, and is part of the process of sending messages in your nervous system.
In fact, many key neurotransmitters rely on pyridoxine in some form or another in order to function properly. It is an important factor in good emotional and mental health.
Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency include skin rashes, anemia, drowsiness, and confusion. Urine testing can detect markers that show if someone is deficient or not.
Because vitamin B6 is involved in carbohydrate metabolism, the production of energy from the grains and sugars in our diet, those deficient in vitamin B6 will have low energy and feel sleepy.
Sleepiness or weariness is also a symptom of anemia, or low levels of hemoglobin in the blood. Since vitamin B6 is necessary in the production of hemoglobin for our red blood cells, this is another way that lack of this essential vitamin manifests in tiredness and low energy.
Some people are more susceptible to Vitamin B6 deficiency. The elderly and women taking oral contraceptives should consider taking supplements of vitamin B6. Other medications, including certain antibiotics, can increase the risk of vitamin B6 deficiency.
Vitamin B6 is important in pregnancy, and is prescribed as a safe, effective treatment for morning sickness.
Alcoholics frequently show signs of vitamin deficiency. B6 is just one of the vitamins that is poorly metabolised when alcohol is present in the body.
Food Sources of Vitamin B6
Tuna, turkey, beef, and pork are all good animal sources of vitamin B6. Pistachios are another excellent source. When it comes to fruit, bananas, pineapples, dates, and avocados are all high in vitamin B6.
For vegetarians, chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are a vitamin B6 powerhouse. Cauliflower, potatoes, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and collard greens are very good sources.
Vegetables should be eaten raw or steamed to retain the most usable vitamin B6. Boiling tends to break down B6 and make it unavailable to the body.
For a meal that’s high in B6, have a chicken sandwich with avocado slices on whole wheat bread. A bowl of chili or soup containing beans, onions, and tomatoes would be a perfect cold weather meal with a healthy amount of vitamin B6.
Want a fast, easy serving of vitamin B6? Eat a banana. One medium sized banana provides about 25% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B6.