Vitamin B6 is one of the vital B vitamins. It is important to the central nervous system as it promotes the production of neurotransmitters. Moreover, it is equally important for metabolism by playing an important role to turn food into energy. It is important for proper cell functioning. Although its deficiency is not a common issue among people in the world but its deficiency in the body can have some serious health consequences.
Sources Of Vitamin B6
There are two main dietary sources of Vitamin B6, one being protein, and the other one is Vegetables and Fruits. Let us review these food sources.
- Protein-rich food sources are a good source of Vitamin B6. Beef, chicken, and fish are all rich sources of Vitamin B6.
- Starchy vegetables, including potatoes, yams, and corn, are its rich source. Citrus fruits are also a great source of Vitamin B6.
- A person who is unable to get enough Vitamin B6 from food sources can opt to get it from supplements. Ask your physician to recommend suitable supplements and the right dosage to take
Causes Of Shortage
Normally the body does not have an acute deficiency of Vitamin B6, but some reasons can become a cause of serious deficiency.
With aging, bodies become unable to work as efficiently as before. Aging might be a reason for elderly people to have a deficiency of Vitamin B6. One reason could be they are not eating enough of it, and another reason could be that despite eating, the bodies are not absorbing enough of it.
Excessive alcohol intake has adverse effects on the liver and is also responsible for the low plasma level of coenzyme for vitamin B6, which leads to its deficiency. Undue alcohol intake can lead to life-threatening consequences.
Sometimes an overdose may even kill a person. If someone has a medical emergency due to an overdose, it is important to know how and when to respond. It is essential and can prove life-saving.
It is associated with the small intestine. The small intestine has small cilia on the inside wall. Lack of Vitamin B6 makes cilia unable to absorb enough nutrients, thus leading to a deficiency of many vital nutrients.
Signs Of Vitamin B6 Deficiency
Let us have a look at some important signs in the human body, which indicate a serious deficiency of Vitamin B6.
1. Downsized Energy Level
The deficiency of Vitamin B6 can cause a body to be low on the count of red blood cells. It occurs because of low hemoglobin production. This may also lead to a condition named Microcytic Anemia.
Its symptoms include feeling less energetic, tired, and weak. This may also refer to low levels of iron in the body and other deficiencies such as Vitamin B12 and folate, which promote red blood cell production.
2. Skin Rash& Dryness
These symptoms usually occur if your body runs too low on Vitamin B6. If there is a minor deficiency of this particular Vitamin, then it might not show up on the skin as early. Mostly these symptoms on the skin appear after prolonged deficiency. A skin condition known as seborrhea dermatitis, which is apparent on face skin, refers to a deficiency of Vitamin B6.
The skin problems are quite evident with deficiency of Vitamin B6; it is because Vitamin B6 produces collagen in the skin. Its deficiency causes the skin to have rashes and cracks. Dry and crack lips may also indicate its deficiency. It may also lead to a condition of swollen gums termed glossitis.
3. Weak Immune System
A weak immune system can also refer to a body deficient in Vitamin B6. Normally deficiency of B6 can make the body susceptible to more diseases and infections. Its deficiency results in decreased production of antibodies, white blood cells, and lymphocytes which are directly associated with the proper response to disease.
4. Numb Hands And Feet
Vitamin B6 is essential for healthy nerves. Its deficiency can cause a nerve disorder called peripheral neuropathy. It causes a tingling sensation in the hands and numbness in the feet. This is because of the imbalance in electric signals associated with nerves. Nerve damage associated with Vitamin B6 is reversible and can be overcome with proper intake.
5. Morning Sickness
Pregnant women suffering from morning sickness, accompanied by nausea and vomiting, have it due to deficiency of Vitamin B6. It can be overcome with the intake of some supplements.
It is very important to get your physician’s advice before beginning or giving up on supplements. Vitamin B6 is important to manage a healthy pregnancy. It is associated with brain development in the fetus.
6. Foggy Brain
Vitamin B6 is associated with the health of nerves. It is also associated with mood and memory. A foggy brain, i.e. a person feeling confused, sad, and depressed, may exhibit a deficiency of Vitamin B6. It can be more common in older people reason being the aging process.
Low levels of Vitamin B6 can hamper cognitive abilities. Older people with good levels of Vitamin B6 exhibit better cognitive abilities than those having their deficiency.
Research suggests a link between Vitamin B6 deficiency and cancer. People running low on this Vitamin are more likely to have cancer of the stomach and esophageal. The link is though least understood, it is certainly responsible for causing cancer.
Research has suggested more tumor growth in the deficiency of Vitamin B6. Researchers are making efforts to understand the link. However, it is sure that a diet rich in Vitamin B6 reduces the risk of cancer.
Vitamin B6 is responsible for more than 100 enzyme reactions in the body to assist metabolism. Deficiency in other B complex vitamins and folate can also cause Vitamin B6 deficiency. Though its deficiency can direct to serious health problems, with managing the proper intake of Vitamin B6, these problems can be overcome.