Vitamin B6—pyridoxine

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is part of the B group vitamins and is water-soluble and is required for both mental and physical health.

Pyridoxine is required for the balancing of hormonal changes in women as well as assisting the immune system and the growth of new cells. It is also used in the processing and metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, while assisting with controlling your mood as well as your behavior. Pyridoxine might also be of benefit for children with learning difficulties, as well as assisting in the prevention of dandruff, eczema and psoriasis.

It assists in the balancing of sodium and potassium as well as promotes red blood cell production. It is further involved in the nucleic acids RNA as well as DNA. It is further linked to cancer immunity and fights the formation of the toxic chemical homocysteine, which is detrimental to the heart muscle.

Women in particular may suffer from pre-menstrual fluid retention, severe period pains, emotional PMS symptoms, premenstrual acne and nausea in early pregnancy. Mood swings, depression as well as loss of sexual drive is sometimes noted when pyridoxine is in short supply and the person is on hormone replacement therapy or on birth control pills.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is a very important B vitamin, especially for women. It seems to be connected somehow to hormone balance and water shifts in women. Vitamin B6 is actually three related compounds, all of which are found in food—pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine. Pyridoxal is the predominant biologically active form; however, in vitamin supplements, pyridoxine is the form used because it is the least expensive to produce commercially. Vitamin B6 is stable in acid, somewhat less stable in alkali, and is fairly easily destroyed with ultraviolet light, such as sunlight, and during the processing of food. It is also lost in cooking or with improper food storage.

The major metabolic function of vitamin B6 is as a coenzyme. It plays an important role in protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism. It must be present for the production of antibodies and red blood cells. Its major functions are the production of epinephrine, serotonin, and the conversion of tryptophan (essential amino acid) to niacin which is necessary for the synthesis and functions of DNA and RNA, the breakdown of glycogen for energy from the liver and muscles, and the formation of the vitamin nicotinic acid. Vitamin B6 is usually excreted in the urine 8 hours after digestion, and fasting and reducing diets can deplete the bodies B6 supply. Pyridoxine helps reduce prolactin levels (prolactin is linked to production of DHT) thus helping reduce BPH. It reduces levels of homocysteine (amino acid that encourages arterial plaque buildup). B6 is required to make serotonin from l-tryptophan, and increases serotonin functioning. Vitamin B6 helps maintain the balance of sodium and potassium, and regulate the body fluids and promote normal functions of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. It is required for the proper absorption of vitamin B12, and production of HCl. B6 is required to metabolize magnesium and zinc.

Vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms will be very much like those of B2 and B3. Vitamin B6 is needed by the body to manufacture its own B3 vitamin. Irritability, nervousness and insomnia as well as general weakness, skin changes such as dermatitis and acne as well asthma and allergies might develop when pyridoxine is in short supply. Symptoms may include nails that are ridged, an inflamed tongue as well as changes to your bones, which can include osteoporosis and arthritis. Kidney stones may also appear.

Should you be taking antidepressants, contraceptive pills or be on hormone replacement therapy you may need more of this vitamin. As this vitamin is readily lost in the urine, it must be taken regularly to ensure an adequate amount in the body. Anybody on a very high protein diet, using alcohol, or allergic to MSG (mono sodium glutamate) and/or tartrazine may also consider increasing their vitamin B6 intake.

Good sources to obtain pyridoxine from are brewer's yeast, eggs, chicken, carrots, fish, liver, kidneys, peas, wheat germ, walnuts,

Exercising may aid the production of the active form of vitamin B6.